Speculation & Gossip On Coaching Changes
With Jim Caldwell's interview itinerary set, speculation has begun on the Ravens' new potential offensive coordinator.
Caldwell is due to meet with the Detroit Lions today and the Washington Redskins Wednesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, to make his case to fill the franchises' head coaching vacancies.
There's a chance that Caldwell, who led the Ravens offense to a Super Bowl win last season and a No. 29 ranking this season, won't get hired.
If he does move on, the Ravens will be forced to find a new man to call their plays.
"[Y]ou can bet that like most coaches, [Head Coach John] Harbaugh already has an extensive list put together about potential assistants that he'd like to hire given an opening," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
Speculation as to who would be the right man for the job has already begun, and both Zrebiec and ESPN's Jamison Hensley pointed to the same potential candidate:
Cleveland Browns Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner.
"Turner would be a great fit," Zrebiec wrote. "The Ravens have long had a tremendous amount of respect for Turner, his offensive mind and his skills as a play caller."
Turner has a talented offensive mind as he served as the coordinator for five teams – the Browns, Chargers, Dolphins, 49ers and Cowboys. He's also served as the head coach of the Redskins, Raiders and Chargers.
In the first year of each of his jobs, he boosted his team's overall offensive ranking.
But some dominos would have to fall in place before Turner could even be seriously considered. Obviously, Caldwell would have to move on, plus, Turner is still under contract with the Browns. He would have to get out of it.
That could happen since Cleveland fired its head coach, Rob Chudzinski, and the new leader may want to bring in his own offensive coordinator. Also, Turner may not be on good terms with Browns brass after he reportedly questioned the decision to fire Chudzinski in a staff meeting.
"It still would be hard to imagine the Browns letting Turner go, though it can't be ruled out," Zrebiec wrote.
If the Ravens want to look for internal candidates, Hensley notes that wide receivers coach Jim Hostler is the only member of the staff with experience as an offensive coordinator (San Francisco, 2007).
Odds Against Castillo Staying
Zrebiec and Hensley are on the same page about another scrutinized Ravens assistant coach.
Both writers don't believe Run Game Coordinator Juan Castillo will be back next season.
"I'd still be surprised if run game coordinator Juan Castillo is back next year," Zrebiec wrote. "It sounds like both sides could be ready for a parting at this point and Castillo, who has a really good reputation around the league regardless of what happened this year, shouldn't have a huge problem finding another job."
Hensley says the odds are against Castillo's return in light of the "historic struggles" in the Ravens run game this season (franchise-worst marks in rushing yards per game and per carry) and Castillo's "reported friction" with players. Bryant McKinnie pointed the finger at Castillo after he was traded to the Dolphins, and players reportedly complained about blocking schemes in October.
"I'm not saying Castillo was the biggest problem in the Ravens' running game this season. But, as a coach, it was his job to fix it and he didn't," wrote Hensley.
Neither Zrebiec nor Hensley believe Harbaugh needs to fire Castillo because his chances of getting a job with another team are good.
"Despite the problems this season, Castillo should have no problem catching on with another team," Hensley wrote. "Before joining the Ravens prior to the Super Bowl, Castillo was offered a job as the Kansas City Chiefs' assistant head coach and running game coordinator.
"If Castillo was hired elsewhere, Harbaugh wouldn't have to fire a close friend, like he did with Cam Cameron a season ago."
One More Coaching Change
And to finish up the speculation on Ravens coaching changes, keep your eye on Senior Defensive Assistant Steve Spagnuolo.
Zrebiec wonders if Spagnuolo will get "some feelers" for a number of defensive coordinator jobs potentially opening up.
"The New York Giants would be one potential match if they decide to dump Perry Fewell or Fewell surprisingly gets the Redskins head coaching job," Zrebiec wrote. "Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator when the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007, and he's extremely well liked and respected by that organization."
Ravens To Make All AFC-North Team
ESPN has put together its all-division teams, including for the AFC North, and seven Ravens made the list.
Five defensive players made the cut and two special teams players, but no one from the offense.
Here's the list:
DT Arthur Jones
ILB Daryl Smith
OLB Terrell Suggs
CB Jimmy Smith
SS James Ihedigbo
K Justin Tucker
KR/PR Jacoby Jones
Joe Flacco Joins 20-Interception Club
Turns out, the 20-interception club is a "select" group.
And while he didn't strive for it, Joe Flacco is one of its newest members after throwing a franchise-high 23 interceptions.
"Believe it or not, Joe Flacco joined select company in 2013, doing something that all-time greats such as John Elway, Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning all did at least once in their career. Heck, even the great Johnny Unitas pulled it off, but Flacco will have to do it a few more times to match him," wrote The Sun's Matt Vensel.
"No word on whether he gets a snazzy membership jacket or anything like that."
Four others joined the club this season, including Cincinnati's Andy Dalton (20 interceptions), the New York Giant's Eli Manning (27), Arizona's Carson Palmer (22) and the New York Jets' Geno Smith (21).
- "I know I'm going to get ripped for this – but I'm still surprised how much vitriol the mere mention of [Michael Oher's] name stirs up among Ravens' fans," wrote Zrebiec. "He moved from right tackle to left, back to right, back to left and then back to right without complaint. And though he struggled this year, he played extremely well during the Super Bowl run last year against some really good pass rushers." [The Baltimore Sun]
- @jamisonhensley: Texas A&M WR Mike Evans, who has been linked to #Ravens in mock drafts, has declared for the NFL draft [Twitter]
- @RavensSalaryCap: Restructuring LWebb's contract -> a simple restructure would create over $5M in '14 Cap space, but would add $1.7M onto his 15,16&17 Cap #'s [Twitter]
- @RapSheet: #Bears QB Jay Cutler's contract: 7 years, $126 million with $54M guaranteed. [Twitter]
- @RichChapman7: My first book with @BirkMatt will be released later this month! Discover the 7 Choices That Lead to Greatness! [Twitter]
- @334Upshaw41: To make this clear I PLAYED at ALABAMA I am a FAN of ALABAMA the stuff you tweet me won't change that but you are funny!! #rolltidetothat [Twitter]