Late For Work 1/20: Ravens Interview Adam Gase. Maybe Bring WR Demaryius Thomas?

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Adam Gase Interviews With John Harbaugh

The interviewing is underway.

Broncos Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase met with Head Coach John Harbaugh Monday night in Baltimore to discuss the open coordinator vacated 24 hours ago by Gary Kubiak, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson and Jeff Zrebiec.

The young Gase, 36, has been the coordinator behind the league's highest scoring offense the last two seasons, but he's out now. Former Ravens Quarterbacks Coach Rick Dennison will take over that job, according to The Denver Post.

Harbaugh moved quickly to get Gase in the building before his staff leaves for Arizona to coach a Pro Bowl squad. And if Gase is to be the man, Harbs may have to make another quick decision.

Seven NFL teams have offensive coordinator vacancies, so the competition for the top candidates "could be fierce," says Zrebiec and Wilson.  The Jacksonville Jaguars have reportedly interviewed him, he received interview requests from the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders, and the St. Louis Rams have shown interest, too.  He is the most "sought after candidate available," says ESPN's Jamison Hensley.

"The fact that Harbaugh interviewed Gase the night before he's bound for Arizona seemingly indicates a sense of urgency with the process," wrote Wilson and Zrebiec.

The Broncos'* *offensive success under Gase is incredible, but the credit usually goes to Peyton Manning and his talented pass catchers. Still, Manning swears by Gase's intelligence, and has given glowing recommendations just like he did when the Ravens hired Jim Caldwell in 2012.

Gase doesn't necessarily run the same zone-blocking, play-action system that Kubiak implemented last season, which quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense thrived in, but his "greatest strengths are his ability to create matchup problems and a favorable scheme for whoever his quarterback is," wrote Zrebiec and Wilson.

With a reputation for being aggressive, Gase is also adaptable to his players' strengths.  He went from a pass-oriented attack early in the season, and transitioned to a run-first mentality by the end. Prior to that, he built a read-option offense for Tim Tebow in 2011 and then completely retooled it for Manning, per Hensley.

"It would be interesting if they go with him or stay true to what Gary ran," former Ravens head coach and NFL Network analyst Brian Billick told The Sun. "I'm sure they've already had those kinds of conversations. Whoever you hire, whether it's John Elway or John Harbaugh, you have to give them the latitude to do what you want to do."

Starting his career at Louisiana State, Gase worked under Nick Saban, who is the current Alabama head coach and has strong ties with General Manager Ozzie Newsome. That certainly won't hurt Gase's stock.

"Adam has gotten a lot of accolades and earned a lot of respect, and Peyton Manning speaks very highly of him," former Ravens and Browns executive Phil Savage told The Sun. "I would think he's going to be in high demand. I would say there would be a lot of interest there, especially with Ozzie Newsome's connections to Nick and the idea that Gase was trained somewhat under Nick."

Gase Could Help In Free Agency, Bring Along Thomas

The Ravens' wide receiver and tight end positions are cloudy at the moment.

Torrey Smith and Owen Daniels are both scheduled unrestricted free agents and it's unclear what will happen with Dennis Pitta, who suffered his second hip injury last season.

So the Ravens could be in the market for a couple of playmakers, and if Gase were on board, he could potentially help recruit the two Broncos that are scheduled* *to hit the market: wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas.

"The hiring of Gase could benefit the Ravens in free agency if they have their sights on a couple of Broncos playmakers," wrote Hensley.

A fan asked Hensley to predict what the most surprising offseason move will be for the Ravens.

"My prediction for the most surprising move is landing a bona fide No. 1 receiver like free agent Demaryius Thomas," he wrote. "It's going to take a lot of cap room, and the Ravens don't currently have it. And the Ravens aren't known for making a big splash in free agency.

"I just get the feeling that the Ravens want to capitalize on the momentum of this offensive upswing, and big targets are needed in this version of the West Coast offense, which the Ravens will continue to run with or without Kubiak. Every team in the division has a big playmaker at wide receiver: A.J. Green, Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon. Maybe that's why coach John Harbaugh hinted at Steve Smith coming back in a role where he wouldn't be an every-down receiver."

Trestman, Marrone Connected To Ravens, Too

Two other coaches linked to the Ravens are former Chicago Bears Head Coach Marc Trestman and former Buffalo Bills Head Coach Doug Marrone.

In addition to Gase, Trestman is among Harbaugh's "targets," per The Sun.

CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora "would be shocked" if Marrone was not one of the first candidates the Ravens look at.

Here's the skinny on both men:

Trestman (59 years old)

  • Nicknamed the "quarterback whisperer"
  • Offensive coordinator for four different teams: Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders
  • Led Bears and quarterbacks Jay Cutler/Josh McCown  to the second-highest scoring team in 2013
  • Jim Harbaugh once said Trestman taught me "everything I know" from when they were in Oakland together
  • Runs wide-open offenses with lots of shotgun
  • "[H]e has extensive experience as a play-caller and a reputation for getting the best out of quarterbacks. He also has a calm and cerebral approach, similar to that of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco," wrote Zrebiec and Wilson.

Marrone (50)

  • Led the Bills to their first winning season in a decade this year, but opted out of contract, hoping to land another head-coaching gig
  • Offensive coordinator once during a three-year stint in New Orleans, leading the offense in total yards and passing yards per game in 2006 and 2008
  • "It was more of a struggle in his two seasons as the Bills' head coach, which could stem from the inconsistency at quarterback and the injuries at running back," wrote Hensley.

Other candidates out there: Marty Mornhinweg (former New York Jets offensive coordinator), Jim Hostler (former Buffalo Bills senior offensive assistant, former Ravens wide receivers coach), Nathaniel Hackett (ex-Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator), Greg Olson (ex-Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator), Brad Childress (former Minnesota Vikings head coach), Greg Knapp (Broncos quarterbacks coach) and Rob Chudzinski (Indianapolis Colts special assistant).

Will Flacco Have A Say In Hiring?

Poor Joe Flacco.

I don't know how the guy continues to guide his team to the playoffs despite so much offensive coaching turnover, but he keeps doing it. This will mark his fourth offensive coordinator in as many years.

Billick imagines the 30-year-old veteran will have some sort of say in the direction the Ravens ultimately go.

"Well, certainly the continuity at quarterback is critical. It would never be your preference to change offensive coordinators from year-to-year," Billick told The Sun. "Joe seems very suited to roll with it and keep going no matter what changes are made. That's one of his qualities. I know he and Gary created a good relationship. I would imagine John would make sure whoever comes in and sets things up will make sure that Joe is comfortable with it.

"It's one of those things where I could see Joe putting his foot down a bit and saying, 'John, I don't care who you bring in, but I don't want to start from scratch with a completely different set of verbiage.' So, that's something they'll work through, and I'm sure John will be mindful of Joe in this process."

Taxonomy Of NFL QBs … Flacco 'Mixed Bag' Elite

FiveThirtyEight.com used the distribution of NFL quarterback's Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) to find a "more thorough understanding of performance."

The website placed the quarterbacks in one of 10 groups based on the distribution of their game-by-game QBRs, represented by a density curve below.

"When we look at quarterbacks this way, we find some players who consistently minimize bad games and others who can be brilliant one week and horrible the next, regularly handicapping their teams," wrote Noah Davis.

Flacco fits into the "mixed bag" group:

Quick Hits

  • Despite all the coordinator vacancies around the league, the Ravens should be an organization where most candidates would like to join. "Certainly, Baltimore is last in line, but it's a very attractive job," said former Houston Texans and Washington Redskins General Manager Charley Casserly. "I think anybody who has not signed yet or hasn't made a commitment, I'm sure they are calling Baltimore. Baltimore can jump in and get going, but the question is how quickly can they sift through the candidates?" [The Baltimore Sun]
  • New England continued the Ravens' postseason streak of losing to the AFC teams that wind up in the Super Bowl. The Ravens have lost five times in the playoffs under Harbaugh, and they all moved on to the NFL's championship game: Pittsburgh Steelers (2008, 2010), Indianapolis Colts (2009), New England Patriots (2011, 2014). [ESPN]

Matt Ryan going to the Pro Bowl while Joe Flacco isn't is everything that's wrong with the Pro Bowl — lindsey ok (@lindseyyok) January 20, 2015

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