Ravens fans have heard the buzz of a coaching search practically shouted from the tops of the Charm City buildings. Sports talk radio in Baltimore consistently chatters about the potential candidates for the Ravens' open job, while newspapers and Web sites have devoted countless pages covering the news.
Then why nothing from the team, itself?
There are a few reasons for the tight-lipped policy adopted by the Ravens' staff these days, and they come directly from owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome, who are leading the eight-man search committee in their quest for a new coach.
With all the speculation that goes on in the media, what benefit would it serve the Ravens to officially announce each candidate that is interviewing for their head coaching job? There are constantly names thrown around that have absolutely no place on Baltimore's list of candidates, and in turn, there are some names that are dead-on.
But, that information is disseminated by agents, or the potential coaches themselves, not by the team.
We won't contribute to that speculation.
"There's no competitive advantage to leaking names," said senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne, who has 29 years of NFL experience. "There are disadvantages. I know this: the research and interview process are thorough. Normally, we are a transparent organization that includes the fans. We can't do that now."
In a coaching race that is heating up with Joe Gibbs announcing his (second) retirement from the Washington Redskins, there are now four teams with hats in the ring - the 'Skins, Ravens, Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons.
And, there are only so many legitimate candidates.
With that being said, why tip your hand to another team as to exactly whom you're bringing in when the Falcons, Dolphins or Redskins could rush to snatch that coach from under the Ravens in a moment of panic? Or the team that currently employs the coach decides to lock him up to a lucrative extension?
That's not to say the Ravens believe they are in a race to fill their vacant position. When the time is right - or perhaps more importantly, when the candidate is right - the right coach will be hired.
"We don't have to pull the trigger right now," Byrne continued.
I personally have seen many candidates walking through team headquarters in Owings Mills, Md., but cannot comment on exactly who those men are.
When the candidates get to Baltimore, they are usually picked up by team president Dick Cass, who drives them to the facility. Newsome then takes them on a guided tour of the grounds, after which they sit with the committee (also consisting of Byrne, vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty, director of college scouting Eric DeCosta, director of pro personnel George Kokinis, and assistant director of pro personnel Vincent Newsome) for two to three hours before it's back to the airport with vice president of medical services/head trainer Bill Tessendorf.
But once in the board room, exactly who is meeting with the candidates and at what time is also a closely guarded secret.
"We don't want other teams to know what the interview process or schedule are," said Byrne.
Most of the work is done before the coach even gets here, however, as the panel spent the past week burning up the phone lines to speak with a variety of references, which can yield valuable background information and insight.
That personal data is put into a detailed report for each coach being seriously considered.
As Bisciotti said in his press conference last week announcing Brian Billick's dismissal, "There is a Hall of Fame coach out there, and it's our job to find him."
When that time comes, you can be sure that www.BaltimoreRavens.com will be the first to report the official news and not any speculation before then.
Various media outlets have reported that the Ravens interviewed Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and assistant head coach/offensive line Tony Sparano, Indianapolis Colts assistant Jim Caldwell, former Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, and Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach John Harbaugh. There have definitely been some guys roaming around the Ravens' facility that looked like a few of those names, if you ask me.