All that awaits is the official announcement as Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has agreed to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos.
A week after stating his commitment to remaining with Baltimore for the 2015 season, the 53-year-old now returns to the organization where he spent 20 years as a player and coach. Kubiak appeared content with the Ravens until Broncos general manager John Elway parted ways with head coach John Fox on Monday, which led to a change of heart from where he stood less than 24 hours earlier.
The Ravens were preparing for the strong possibility of Kubiak leaving from the point that he accepted an interview with the Broncos on Friday morning. Elway and Broncos president Joe Ellis traveled to Houston to close the deal with Kubiak on Sunday.
“Kubs did a great job with us and gets another shot at a dream job for him,” wide receiver Torrey Smith wrote on his official Twitter account Sunday night. “How can you be mad at a guy who did his job and was rewarded with a dream opportunity that wasn’t available when he said he was staying?”
The Denver Post reported Kubiak was finalizing a four-year contract with Denver on Sunday night.
Under Kubiak, the Ravens set franchise records in points score and total yards and finished 12th in the NFL in total offense and eighth in points scored. A disastrous running game that averaged a league-worst 3.1 yards per carry in 2013 rebounded to finish eighth in yards per game behind a revamped offensive line.
The Ravens will now have their fourth offensive coordinator in the last four seasons after Cam Cameron held the job for nearly five seasons at the start of head coach John Harbaugh’s tenure. Kubiak’s departure is particularly disappointing after quarterback Joe Flacco had arguably the finest regular season of his career, setting single-season highs in passing yards (3,986) and touchdown passes (27).
Quarterback coach Rick Dennison and tight ends coach Brian Pariani will be joining Kubiak on his staff in Denver, according to The Sun. To make matters worse, another potential candidate, Kyle Shanahan, is set to become the new offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, per an ESPN report.
Since Dennison and Shanahan are no longer potential replacements, the Ravens could look at others such as former Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase and former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman. In his last search for a new offensive coordinator, Harbaugh wasn’t afraid to explore the collegiate ranks when he took a look at names such as Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and former Oregon State and current Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf.
With Steve Spagnuolo departing to become the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants last week, Harbaugh will now be faced with the task of replacing his offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, tight ends coach, and secondary coach this offseason. Offensive assistant Jay Harbaugh also left the Ravens last week to become the new tight ends coach at the University of Michigan under his father and new head coach Jim Harbaugh.