Late For Work 1/21: New Name Emerges In Offensive Coordinator Search

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Ravens Interview Scott Linehan For Offensive Coordinator

A reported second candidate for the Ravens' offensive coordinator opening has emerged.

The Ravens interviewed former Detroit Lions Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan for the vacancy, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.

"Several other candidates" have been interviewed, per Wilson, including former Washington Redskins Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

If the Ravens hire Linehan, the two organizations will have swapped last season's offensive coordinators with Jim Caldwell becoming Detroit's head coach. Linehan was one of two assistants immediately fired in the aftermath of Jim Schwartz's termination.

Under Linehan's leadership the past five seasons, the Lions became a perennial top-10 offense. They climbed the offensive rankings each year with him in charge until last season, when they still finished No. 6.

Offensive Ranking
2009: 26th
2010: 17th
2011: 5th
2012: 3rd
2013: 6th

The Lions had Calvin Johnson on their roster for two years prior to Linehan's arrival. They drafted quarterback Matthew Stafford the same year he came aboard in 2009.

He was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2006-08), notching a record of 11-25 before being fired. He was also previously the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins and the Minnesota Vikings.

Boldin Hints He'll Stay With 49ers

We've gotten the question repeatedly: Will the Ravens re-sign receiver Anquan Boldin when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in March?

Neither Boldin nor the Ravens have indicated there will be a reunion, and ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio believes Boldin hinted at a return to San Francisco.

After the 49ers were bounced from the playoffs Sunday night, Boldin tweeted: "Thank you @49ers fans for embracing my family and I during our first year in San Francisco. …Your support this year was amazing. … Your commitment to our team speaks volumes and I am very proud to call myself a 49er."

Florio says the key words in the tweet are "first year."

"Which implies there will be a second year," Florio wrote.

Boldin could return, but Florio may be reading too much into the tweet. Boldin told Florio last season that if he were cut by the Ravens, he would retire. Boldin later refused a reported $2 million reduction and accepted the trade to San Francisco.

"Depending on the money the Niners offer for 2014 and beyond, Boldin could decide to move yet again," Florio wrote. "Heck, maybe he'll even move back to Baltimore."

Daydreaming About Sherman As A Raven

After watching Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman make the game-winning play in the NFC championship game Sunday, it's hard to believe 21 cornerbacks were drafted ahead of him in 2011.

That includes cornerback Jimmy Smith, who the Ravens selected in the first round at No. 27. Meanwhile, Sherman had to wait until the fifth round at No. 154.

Smith is coming off his best season as a Raven, and is showing signs that he could become one of the best in the league. In case you missed it, Sherman declared himself the best at the position Sunday night. In his three NFL seasons, he has been named as a first-team All-Pro twice.

But guess who was taken exactly 10 picks after Sherman: Ravens cornerback Chykie Brown. 

While there is no indication that the Ravens would have selected Sherman that round had the Seahawks passed on him, The Sun's Matt Vensel is fantasizing about what it would be like to have a Smith-Sherman tandem in Baltimore.

"It's easy to daydream about how Sherman would fit in this Ravens defense, with Sherman playing tight press coverage on one sideline with Smith on the other," Vensel wrote. "But the Ravens passed on him four times and then took Brown in the fifth round, 10 picks after Sherman.

"Brown is no superstar, but he has become a useful player for the Ravens. While he is fourth on the depth chart at cornerback -- he could move up to third in 2014 if the Ravens lose Corey Graham -- he has developed into a pretty solid player on special teams and is contributing something, unlike some of the corners drafted before Sherman and him."

5 Young Ravens That Need To Step Up

With a limited amount of cap space as the Ravens prepare for free agency, WNST's Luke Jones pinpoints five young players the team needs more from in 2014:

1. LB Courtney Upshaw: "With Suggs' future with the organization up in the air and Dumervil recently turning 30, the Ravens need younger players such as Upshaw and 2013 fourth-round pick John Simon to become real factors if the defense is to continue to build on the progress it made this past season."

2. RB Bernard Pierce: "[Ray] Rice will receive more heat going into next season as he enters the third year of his five-year deal signed two summers ago, but Pierce's underwhelming sophomore campaign has led many to believe the Ravens should be looking for another running back in the middle-to-late rounds of the 2014 draft."

3. DT Brandon Williams: "With Arthur Jones and Terrence Cody good bets to depart via free agency, the Ravens will need Williams to live up to the high expectations they had when he impressed scouts so much at last year's Senior Bowl."

4. LB Arthur Brown: "With Daryl Smith an unrestricted free agent and Jameel McClain a potential salary cap casualty, Brown is expected to win the Ravens' weakside inside linebacker job."

5. OL Rick Wagner: "The Ravens want to re-sign left tackle Eugene Monroe and add more size to their interior offensive line, but Wagner might be needed to play either left guard or right tackle if they expend resources at center and left tackle."

Quick Hits

  • The shorter Ravens season is affecting business for local retailers and restaurants. [WJZ]
  • Former Ravens kicker Steven Hauschka is being praised for telling his coach that he didn't want to attempt a 53-yard field goal on a fourth-and-7 in the fourth quarter. So the Seahawks went for it instead, and wound up scoring a touchdown that would put Seattle ahead of San Francisco for good. Hauschka said he didn't feel comfortable with the kick because of wind conditions. It turned out well for the Seahawks, but I wonder what Justin Tucker would have said in that moment. He told John Harbaugh, "I got this" in Detroit and then booted a 61-yarder to win the game. Granted, there was no wind in the dome. [FoxSports.com]
  • @jtuck9: Heading out to Hawaii this morning w/ @AmandaBass to rep #RavensNation in the Pro Bowl! [Twitter]
  • One ex-Raven will get a Super Bowl ring. It will either be Hauschka with the Seahawks, or Michael Huff with the Denver Broncos as the third safety on the depth chart. [ESPN]
  • @RavensInsider: Ravens met with several players at Senior Bowl, including big Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson (6-4, 335), Alabama punter Cody Mandell [Twitter]
  • @JasonHButt: Ravens meet with punters at Senior Bowl [Twitter]
  • @RavensSalaryCap: Definitely at risk. Big salary for good, not great, P.  MT @BMoreBirdsNest: W/ that cap number, Koch's job should absolutely b in jeopardy. [Twitter]
  • NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is considering a proposal to eliminate the normally routine extra-point attempts. "There's one proposal in particular that I've heard about," Goodell said. "It's automatic that you get seven points when you score a touchdown, but you could potentially go for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball, so if you fail, you go back to six." [NFL.com]
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