Tag Archive | "Ravens"

Ravens to terminate defensive tackle Cody’s contract after Super Bowl

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Ravens to terminate defensive tackle Cody’s contract after Super Bowl

Posted on 23 January 2015 by Luke Jones

The Ravens announced Friday their intentions to terminate the contract of veteran defensive tackle Terrence Cody after the Super Bowl.

The timing of the move was unusual with Cody scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March anyway, but news of him being investigated for animal cruelty brought context as the 2010 second-round pick was already unlikely to return in 2015. According to The Sun, no charges have been filed yet and the case involves a dog.

Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged at his season-ending press conference earlier this month that the organization’s tolerance level has changed following an embarrassing offseason a year ago that included the Ray Rice saga and four other player arrests.

“It’s a privilege to play in the National Football League. It’s a privilege to be a part of the Ravens,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a standard to uphold there, and we expect them to. We’ve always expected them to do that. But I would think that it will be a little bit shorter leeway maybe than it’s been in the past.”

Re-signed to a one-year, $730,000 contract in early April, Cody was a non-factor for the Ravens in 2014 as he began the season on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from offseason hip surgery. Activated in early November, Cody played in just one game as younger players passed him on the depth chart.

His termination brings a disappointing five-year run with the Ravens to an end as the Alabama standout never lived up to expectations. His best season came in 2011 when he started 16 games at nose tackle and made 34 tackles, but he was supplanted by veteran Ma’ake Kemoeatu the following year and saw his playing time steadily decrease over the last three seasons.

Though not nearly as disappointing as fellow 2010 second-round pick Sergio Kindle, Cody will forever be remembered as a member of one of the forgettable draft classes in franchise history as only fourth-round tight end Dennis Pitta and fifth-round defensive tackle Arthur Jones went on to become reliable starters. Pitta is the only member of that class remaining with the organization, but his future remains unclear after suffering two serious hip injuries in 14 months.

In 57 career games, Cody has collected 87 tackles and two pass breakups.

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Report: Ravens alerted Indianapolis about Patriots’ deflated footballs

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Report: Ravens alerted Indianapolis about Patriots’ deflated footballs

Posted on 22 January 2015 by Luke Jones

With the eyes of the sports world staring a hole through the New England Patriots as reports of “Deflategate” dominate the countdown to Super Bowl XLIX, the Ravens continue to come up in the conversation.

According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, the Ravens were the ones who tipped off Indianapolis about the possibility of the Patriots using footballs that weren’t properly inflated. ESPN reported Tuesday night that 11 of 12 balls used by New England were discovered at halftime of the AFC Championship to be underinflated by two pounds per square inch.

Given the Ravens’ strong relationship with former defensive coordinator and current Colts coach Chuck Pagano, it wouldn’t be surprising for someone to have tipped off Indianapolis if there were legitimate gripes.

Head coach John Harbaugh downplayed any concerns about the Patriots using illegal footballs during their 35-31 win that ended the Ravens’ season in the divisional round two weeks ago. A CBS Sports report earlier this week indicated some Ravens players believed kicking balls were underinflated during their playoff game in Foxborough.

“It’s really not something that’s in the forefront of our mind. I can tell you that,” Harbaugh said. “The NFL is doing an investigation. They did call some of our people about it, and as far as I know — I didn’t know exactly what the conversations were — they answered honestly.

“We did not notice anything. We never had a ball that they were using on offense, so we don’t know anything about that in our game. We didn’t have a chance to handle any of their offensive footballs. As far as the kicking balls, it was 20 degrees outside. The balls were softer. Our guys told us during the game, and I just chalked that up to the fact that it was cold. Both teams were kicking the same kicking balls, so I didn’t really think anything of it during the game. Other than that, it’s not something that I’ve really given any thought to at all.”

Harbaugh may have felt awkward commenting publicly about the investigation as he enjoys a solid relationship with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who endorsed the former Philadelphia Eagles special teams coach as an excellent candidate to coach the Ravens back in 2008. However, it’s possible that others in the organization expressed concerns and Harbaugh simply didn’t feel compelled to speak for anyone but himself on the matter.

Asked if the current allegations would cause the Ravens to wonder if similar shenanigans had taken place in the past, Harbaugh had no interest in discussing the hypothetical question.

“As far as in the past, I don’t really want to get into all that,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t have any comment on that.”

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon that he hadn’t spoken to anyone with the “NFL, NFL Security, or media” about the footballs not being properly inflated in the game against New England.

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New Ravens coordinator Trestman eases concerns with first impression

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New Ravens coordinator Trestman eases concerns with first impression

Posted on 21 January 2015 by Luke Jones

The most frustrating aspect of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s departure was a fear that the Ravens would be forced to fix something that wasn’t broken.

After a 2014 season in which Baltimore set franchise records in points scored and total yards, head coach John Harbaugh knew he wouldn’t have to start from scratch like he did a year ago in his search for a new offensive coordinator and system, but the Ravens needed someone to keep the offense moving in the same direction. Former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman has been entrusted with the job, and the 59-year-old made it clear Wednesday that he doesn’t intend to bring sweeping changes to Kubiak’s version of the West Coast offense.

“My idea would be, ‘Why would I have 40-some guys learn a new offense when I’m just one person?’” Trestman said. “Isn’t it easier for me to learn it than to start over with everybody else including coaches? I think the formula going in is certainly to learn the language and the nuances of the offense and what has been established there with the coaching staff and with the players, and then move forward from there.”

This isn’t the first time in Trestman’s career that he’s followed in the footsteps of a successful offense as he replaced Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak as defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco’s offensive coordinator and quarterback in 1995, making him familiar with their version of the West Coast offense. Perhaps the biggest question had been how a new coordinator would impact the zone-blocking schemes the Ravens finally appeared to master under Kubiak last season and whether that style would continue.

Harbaugh made it clear he was looking for a coordinator to fit the vision that will remain for the Ravens’ running game even as Kubiak, quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison and tight ends coach Brian Pariani join the Broncos.

“I thought that Gary and Rick and Brian along with [offensive line coach Juan Castillo] really took that to another level as far as the nuance, the scheme,” Harbaugh said. “Because that’s something they’ve been doing all those years in Houston and in Denver, and they’re probably the four most guys around the stretch-zone. We’ve learned from that, and that’s a part of us now going forward, and we’ll keep it.”

With two decades of NFL coaching experience, Trestman has a good reputation working with quarterbacks, but many have pointed to his pass-happy tendencies as a potential conflict with the Ravens’ offensive identity. The Bears ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing attempts (355) while Baltimore rushed 448 times to finish 11th in 2014. Chicago ranked 19th in the NFL in yards per carry (4.1).

After being asked about using the shotgun formation in Chicago, Trestman reminded everyone that he’s worked in a variety of fashions, pointing out that he rarely ever used the shotgun in his years with Rich Gannon in Oakland. It’s all about adaptation for the new offensive coordinator while adding some wrinkles along the way.

Harbaugh made it clear that the new-found commitment to the running game established last season will not change, and he feels comfortable with his new coordinator buying into the same philosophy.

“It’s never going to be my offense. It’s always going to be the Ravens’ offense,” Trestman said. “John has a vision of playing continuity football and complementary football, and I think that’s what has allowed the Ravens to be so successful. They’re not just an offense, defense and special teams, but they play complementary football. That’s something that I’ve paid attention to and will certainly have in mind each and every day as we work within the framework of the offense.”

Of course, saying the right things in a January conference call is a far cry from executing a successful offense on Sundays in the fall. More critical to the Ravens’ fate than Trestman will be what general manager Ozzie Newsome does to address the running back, wide receiver, and tight end positions that all feature key free agents this offseason.

The NFL is more about talent than it is coaching with few secrets among the 32 teams in how the game is played. Trestman has an exceptional foundation with a 30-year-old quarterback — who shares a similarly calm demeanor — and a strong offensive line on which to build, but the other skill positions are filled with question marks as the statuses of Justin Forsett, Torrey Smith, Owen Daniels, and even Dennis Pitta remain unclear for 2015.

As was the case when Kubiak agreed to become the offensive coordinator a year ago, the Ravens have much work ahead to keep the league’s 12th-ranked offense from a year ago moving in the right direction.

“I think Ozzie and John, the way they handle the personnel, it’s really in their hands,” Trestman said. “Certainly, I’ll be the one to be flexible enough that when we bring in good players that we’ll develop them and get them ready to play. Don’t go in there with any pre-existing ideas of who’s there, who’s not there, what we need to do. There’s a tremendous personnel department here. I’m sure we’ll talk about different types of players, but ultimately it’s our job to coach the guys that Ozzie and John and our personnel department bring in.”

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Flacco, wife welcome third son on Tuesday night

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Flacco, wife welcome third son on Tuesday night

Posted on 21 January 2015 by Luke Jones

After declining an invitation to play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl to remain with his expecting wife, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco welcomed his third son into the world Tuesday night.

Flacco’s wife, Dana, gave birth to Francis Michael, who weighs nine pounds, seven ounces. The Ravens announced the birth during a conference call for new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, who sent his congratulations to his new quarterback with a text message.

“Joe was fired up. He was fired up about it,” head coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. “He had to decide [between] Dana or the Pro Bowl. We can all agree he made the right choice, right?”

The timing of the birth had created some discussion about Flacco’s potential availability had the Ravens advanced deeper into the playoffs, but the 30-year-old missed the birth of his second son, Daniel, that took place hours before Baltimore’s home opener in 2013. The couple has a rapidly-growing family after welcoming first son Stephen in the summer of 2012.

 

 

 

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Ravens hire Mornhinweg as new quarterbacks coach

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Ravens hire Mornhinweg as new quarterbacks coach

Posted on 21 January 2015 by Luke Jones

A day after securing Marc Trestman as his new offensive coordinator, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh continued restocking his staff with the hiring of former New York Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg as the new quarterbacks coach on Wednesday.

The 52-year-old Mornhinweg is no stranger to Harbaugh after the two worked together for five years under Andy Reid in Philadelphia. Needless to say, Mornhinweg’s latest stop with the Jets did not go to plan, but the longtime NFL assistant has worked with Pro Bowl quarterbacks such as Brett Favre, Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, and Michael Vick in his career.

He’ll now be able to add Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuable Player Joe Flacco to the list.

“Marty’s got a great history and background with the offense that we were running last year and that Marc is going to build on this year,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a great quarterback teacher of fundamentals, footwork, reads, quarterback mechanics, and stuff like that in the passing game. I’m really excited about that. Marty’s a great coach and is going to be a great addition for us. I know he’ll work really well with Marc and work really well with Joe.”

Mornhinweg is the former head coach of the Detroit Lions where he collected a 5-27 record in two seasons and was infamously known for once winning a coin toss and electing to have the wind in his favor instead of taking the ball in an overtime loss to Chicago. However, he has extensive experience working in the West Coast offense going back to his days with Green Bay and San Francisco in the 1990s. He most recently worked with Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who has failed to develop in his first two NFL seasons.

Despite having not worked with his new quarterbacks coach before, Trestman acknowledged Mornhinweg’s familiarity with Harbaugh and offensive line coach Juan Castillo as a plus in trying to continue the momentum created by Kubiak last season.

“He had great success as a quarterbacks coach and play-caller [in Philadelphia],” Trestman said. “I’m really looking forward to working with Marty. We’ve never really crossed paths, but we have mutual friends in the business. This is all going to be part of a formula to continue to play at a high level offensively and continue to get better.”

Harbaugh announced current quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison will call plays at the Pro Bowl before officially joining Gary Kubiak’s new staff in Denver.

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Kubiak clears air on his departure from Baltimore

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Kubiak clears air on his departure from Baltimore

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Former Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak was introduced as the head coach of the Denver Broncos Tuesday, but took a few moments explaining his change of heart from a week ago.

After issuing a statement on Jan. 11 about his intentions to remain with the Ravens in 2015, Kubiak confirmed that the Broncos position becoming available was the only job for which he’d change his mind.

“This is a game changer. It’s as simple as that,” Kubiak said during his introductory press conference in Denver. “Those are the same words I used to coach [John] Harbaugh when we talked. This is where I got my start. This is home for me. This means so much to me.”

The overwhelming response from the Ravens to Kubiak leaving is one that lacks any animosity as the front office, staff, and players recognized his prior 20 years spent with the Broncos as a player and assistant coach. Harbaugh wasted little time finding Kubiak’s replacement by hiring former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman on Tuesday afternoon.

Kubiak began his press conference on Tuesday by thanking the Ravens for the chance to return to his roots as a coordinator after a disappointing end to his eight-year run as the head coach of the Houston Texans.

“First off, I want to thank the Baltimore Ravens,” Kubiak said. “That was extremely important to me. It’s been a heck of year for [me], and without that organization giving me an opportunity about this time last year, I probably wouldn’t be here today. I really want to thank Steve [Bisciotti], Ozzie [Newsome], John, the players, and the organization.”

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Ravens hire former Bears head coach Trestman as offensive coordinator

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Ravens hire former Bears head coach Trestman as offensive coordinator

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Luke Jones

On the same day Gary Kubiak was formally introduced as the new head coach in Denver, the Ravens officially hired his replacement at offensive coordinator.

Former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman has been hired to become Baltimore’s fourth offensive coordinator in four years and continues head coach John Harbaugh’s trend of appointing former NFL head coaches to the position. Despite two disappointing years in Chicago, Trestman carries nearly two decades of NFL coaching experience and has long been regarded as one of the bright offensive minds in the game.

The 59-year-old has a strong reputation in working with quarterbacks — despite the failures of Chicago’s Jay Cutler this past season — and has guided the likes of Bernie Kosar, Steve Young, Jake Plummer, Rich Gannon, and even journeyman Josh McCown to strong seasons. Harbaugh’s brother Jim said in 2013 that Trestman “taught me everything” when they worked as assistants for the Oakland Raiders in 2002 and 2003, something that undoubtedly came up in the Ravens’ rapid search for Kubiak’s replacement. Trestman also served as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 1989 near the end of Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome’s Hall of Fame career as a tight end.

In his first year in Chicago in 2013, the Bears ranked eighth in the NFL in total offense and second in points scored with McCown and Cutler splitting starting duties. Of course, 2014 was another story as Chicago plummeted to 21st in total yards and 23rd in scoring with Cutler starting all but one game. Trestman was fired at the end of the season following a disappointing 5-11 finish.

Trestman’s unconventional résumé includes a return to the collegiate ranks 10 years ago as the offensive coordinator at North Carolina State before accepting a head coaching position in the Canadian Football League with Montreal, where he spent five seasons and led the Alouettes to two Grey Cup titles. Of course, the Alouettes are the same franchise that was originally the Baltimore Stallions before relocating in 1996.

This will be Trestman’s fifth offensive coordinator job in the NFL after he previously held the same title in Cleveland (1989), San Francisco (1995-1996), Arizona (1998-2000), and Oakland (2002-2003). The Minnesota native has also spent time as an NFL assistant with Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Miami.

Trestman will inherit a Ravens offense that set franchise records in points scored and total yards under Kubiak in 2014. He has roots in the West Coast offense with more of an up-tempo style and a greater slant toward the passing game than what Kubiak employed in Baltimore.

Given Trestman’s age and how long his trek was to finally receiving an NFL head coaching opportunity that didn’t go well in Chicago, you have to wonder if stability could be a bonus for the Ravens as Trestman may not be viewed as a viable head coaching candidate after his ugly ending with the Bears. Of course, Harbaugh and the Ravens will be more focused on Trestman continuing the growth the offense experienced this past season after a difficult 2013 campaign.

He is the fourth offensive coordinator to be hired by Harbaugh and the fourth former NFL head coach to accept the position, joining Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell, and Gary Kubiak.

 

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Flacco turns down invitation to Pro Bowl

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Flacco turns down invitation to Pro Bowl

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has never made the Pro Bowl, but he’s choosing family over an invitation at the conclusion of his seventh year.

With many fans surprised to see Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton selected to replace the Super Bowl-bound Tom Brady and the injured Aaron Rodgers, it turns out Flacco was invited to participate in Sunday’s game in Arizona. However, the 30-year-old elected to remain with his wife, Dana, who is expecting the couple’s third child this month.

Ravens wide receiver and teammate Torrey Smith broke the news via his official Twitter account after initially questioning why Dalton was chosen for the game instead of Flacco.

 

In his only season under offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak — who has now become the head coach of the Denver Broncos — Flacco set career highs in passing yards (3,986) and touchdown passes (27). His 91.0 passer rating was his highest since the 2010 season, and Flacco completed 62.0 percent of his passes, the third-highest completion percentage of his career.

In addition to head coach John Harbaugh coaching one of the rosters, the Ravens are sending four players to this year’s Pro Bowl including linebackers Elvis Dumervil and C.J. Mosley and right guard Marshal Yanda. Initially a first alternate, running back Justin Forsett was added to the game last week after Houston’s Arian Foster bowed out with an injury.

Vinny Testaverde is the only quarterback in franchise history to be chosen for the Pro Bowl, and that selection came in the Ravens’ inaugural 1996 season.

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Gase interviews for Ravens offensive coordinator job

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Gase interviews for Ravens offensive coordinator job

Posted on 19 January 2015 by Luke Jones

The Ravens wasted little time in officially beginning the process to replace offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak by interviewing Denver assistant Adam Gase Monday night.

Serving as the Broncos offensive coordinator in each of the last two years, Gase traveled to Baltimore to meet with head coach John Harbaugh before the Ravens staff traveled to Arizona to coach the Pro Bowl this week. Though interest has been lukewarm for Gase in trying to become a head coach this offseason, Jacksonville and several other teams have courted the 36-year-old to become their offensive coordinator.

Gase has come highly recommended by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning as he helped orchestrate the NFL’s top-ranked offense in 2013 and No. 4 unit in 2014. However, some have questioned how much of Gase’s success should be attributed to working with a Hall of Fame quarterback who has essentially run his own offense in Denver.

After spending time as an offensive assistant with the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, Gase was hired by then-coach Josh McDaniels to join the Broncos staff in 2009 and was retained by John Fox when he was hired in 2011. As a quarterbacks coach, Gase was credited for getting enough production out of quarterback Tim Tebow to get the Broncos to the playoffs in 2011 before Manning arrived on the scene the following year.

The hiring of Gase would likely bring a shift in offensive philosophy as he is known for an up-tempo, pass-happy style that differs from Kubiak’s West Coast offense that worked so well in Baltimore this past season. However, Gase adapted to a more run-oriented attack in the second half of 2014 when Manning struggled through the final weeks of the season with a quadriceps injury, leading you to believe his system can be more balanced.

A certain amount of mystery remains over how successful Gase can be as an offensive coordinator without Manning — or his many offensive weapons in Denver — but his credentials are impressive for someone who didn’t even play college football, let alone compete in the NFL. He began his coaching career as an undergraduate at Michigan State helping out coach Nick Saban, who then took Gase with him to Louisiana State as a graduate and recruiting assistant. Given general manager Ozzie Newsome’s relationship with the current Alabama coach, you can assume the Ravens have done their homework on a man regarded as one of the finest young offensive minds in the NFL.

Should the Ravens decide Gase is the right choice to replace Kubiak, they may need to move quickly given the interest he’s drawn from other teams and the high number of offensive coordinator jobs that remain unfilled around the league.

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Sifting through potential candiates to replace Kubiak

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Sifting through potential candiates to replace Kubiak

Posted on 19 January 2015 by Luke Jones

With Gary Kubiak off to Denver and taking Rick Dennison and Brian Pariani with him, the Ravens are essentially back to where they started a year ago as it relates to their offensive coordinator position.

Of course, having a 30-year-old franchise quarterback in Joe Flacco and an above-average offensive line with all five starters under contract for 2015 should make the job attractive to potential suitors. The most logical fit outside the organization appeared to be Kyle Shanahan — who was a finalist for the position a year ago — before reports surfaced Sunday night that he would be accepting the offensive coordinator position with the Atlanta Falcons as part of Dan Quinn’s staff when the Seattle defensive coordinator is officially hired.

It will be interesting to see if head coach John Harbaugh conducts a search as extensive as last year’s when the Ravens replaced Jim Caldwell. The Ravens would likely prefer maintaining the principles that Kubiak brought to the offense, but any new coordinator understandably would want to put his own fingerprints on the system.

Keep in mind that the Ravens will also need to fill their quarterbacks coach, tight ends coach, and secondary coach positions, so those jobs will also be discussed as Harbaugh reaches out to various candidates. If last year was any indication, the head coach will even explore the collegiate ranks as he did when hiring current running backs coach Thomas Hammock and wide receivers coach Bobby Engram.

Below are four candidates who could potentially draw interest with their most recent position in parentheses:

Adam Gase (Denver offensive coordinator)
Why he fits: The 36-year-old is a hot commodity and is “soon” expected to interview with the Ravens, according to NFL Network. Gase has received endorsements from 14-time Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning and has likely taken valuable lessons from the future Hall of Famer while overseeing the league’s top-ranked offense in 2013 and the No. 4 unit in 2014.
Why he doesn’t fit: The Manning factor could also be viewed as a negative as the veteran quarterback ran his own offense in Gase’s two years as the coordinator in Denver. Based on his limited body of work in Denver, Gase appears to have a higher propensity to throw the ball, which wouldn’t jive with Harbaugh’s mentality to be a physical, run-first offense.

Greg Knapp (Denver quarterbacks coach)
Why he fits: The 51-year-old carries two decades of NFL coaching experience and has served as an offensive coordinator in San Francisco, Atlanta, Oakland (twice), and Seattle. Part of the expansive coaching tree that started in San Francisco, he also served on Kubiak’s staff in Houston for two years and has experience with the West Coast offense the Ravens ran in 2014.
Why he doesn’t fit: Kubiak could entice him to remain on the Broncos staff, and Knapp could be viewed as too much of a retread after mixed results at different points in his career. Even if Kubiak recommends him to Harbaugh, his lack of any clear ties to the Baltimore head coach makes you wonder if it would be a fit.

Marc Trestman (Chicago head coach)
Why he fits: Even if his two-year tenure with the Bears ended in disappointment, the 59-year-old has an excellent offensive mind and has coached the likes of Bernie Kosar, Steve Young, Jake Plummer, Rich Gannon, and even journeymen Josh McCown to good seasons. He worked with Jim Harbaugh for two years in Oakland, so the Ravens coach can draw further insight from his brother.
Why he doesn’t fit: The Bears were so dysfunctional in Trestman’s final year that you wonder if there will be some lingering effects at his next job. With issues along the offensive line, the Bears faltered in the running game under Trestman in 2014, finishing 27th in the NFL. His wide-open approach may not jive with the Ravens’ philosophy unless they’re willing to shake things up.

Marty Mornhinweg (New York Jets offensive coordinator)
Why he fits: The 52-year-old spent five years coaching with Harbaugh in Philadelphia under Andy Reid and worked with some successful offenses with the Eagles. Familiarity is a powerful factor in hiring coaches, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens reach out to the former Detroit Lions head coach to join the staff in some capacity.
Why he doesn’t fit: Mornhinweg spent the last two years in New York as the Jets couldn’t find any success offensively. He didn’t have much to work with, but he also didn’t help Geno Smith’s development after the Jets invested a second-round pick in the quarterback. Mornhinweg is considered a more pass-happy play-caller, which conflicts with the Ravens’ mindset.

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