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Truth — Bisciotti wouldn’t have minded a college coordinator for O.C.

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Truth — Bisciotti wouldn’t have minded a college coordinator for O.C.

Posted on 06 February 2014 by Drew Forrester

An interesting after-story has surfaced in the Ravens’ search for a new offensive coordinator.

It turns out owner Steve Bisciotti did, in fact, have a specific suggestion for John Harbaugh, but as we all now know, it wasn’t Gary Kubiak.

Bisciotti wanted Harbaugh to look away from the NFL and at least consider bringing in the “new hot offensive commodity” from the college ranks. His only suggestion in the hiring process of the offensive coordinator was, according to a source, “don’t just assume you have to hire someone from within the NFL in order for this to work.  Look at the new guy.  Don’t be afraid to find someone with new, fresh ideas.”

Interestingly enough, the 2008 coaching search in Baltimore focused on several “fresh” names, including Harbaugh, Jason Garrett, Brian Schottenheimer, Jim Caldwell and Rob Chudzinski.  Folks who remmeber that search will recall the “retread” name everyone  immediately brought up was Marty Schottenheimer, but he was never even seriously considered by the search committee.

“Steve loved the process we used to uncover John (Harbaugh),” says a team source.  ”It delighted Steve that we went away from the tried-and-true and hired a guy with no head coaching experience and it turned out to be such a great hire for the organization.”

It’s assumed based on the term “new hot offensive commodity” that Bisciotti’s formula would have perhaps included Auburn’s offensive coordinator, Rhett Lashlee.  As it turned out, Harbaugh went in a different direction entirely and scooped up unemployed Gary Kubiak to run his team’s offense in 2014.

Harbaugh, in fact, confirmed this element of the coordinator search during last Friday’s live interview with WNST from Super Bowl 48.  You can hear that interview here, and hear the head coach acknowledge that Bisciotti pushed for the consideration of a college coordinator or coach to take over the Ravens offensive opening.

“Steve wouldn’t ever stand up in the room and say, ‘This is the guy you’re going to hire’, because it’s just not his style.  But, he’s a big believer in looking everywhere for new people.  That’s what his core business has always been about and it’s a great way for any company to go about hiring new employees.”

Bisciotti didn’t get his way this go-round, as the hiring of Kubiak and Rick Dennison (plus a handful of other Texans’ staffers) was simply too good to pass up for a Ravens organization desperate for a new offensive philosophy.

But the process is worth remembering, as it once again reminds everyone that the Ravens are always capable of doing something different.

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Harbaugh fires back at detractors over coodinator search

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Harbaugh fires back at detractors over coodinator search

Posted on 01 February 2014 by Luke Jones

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has heard the criticism in recent days about a perceived track record of hiring unqualified coaches and how he was allegedly overruled by owner Steve Bisciotti in the process of finding new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.

He fired back at his critics in an exclusive interview with WNST.net in New York on Friday afternoon where he was accepting the NFL’s Salute to Service award this weekend.

“It’s definitely insulting; it’s really stupid,” Harbaugh said. “It’s reflective of not knowing the facts. People who are putting it out there know darn well what they’re saying and they know it’s not true.”

Harbaugh didn’t shy away from the fact that he communicated regularly with Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome throughout the process as he does on a variety of matters related to the organization. Many have assumed that Bisciotti was enamored with hiring a big name such as Kubiak or longtime NFL offensive coodinator Norv Turner, but the owner wanted to be thorough enough to potentially “find the guy that nobody had ever heard of before,” according to Harbaugh.

This led the seventh-year head coach to consider a number of college names as he looked at upwards of 30 potential candidates for the job Kubiak ultimately won. After previously working under the assumption that Kubiak wouldn’t be interested in the position, Harbaugh reiterated that it was a conversation with new quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison — originally about former Washington Redskins offenive coordinator Kyle Shanahan — that prompted a call to Kubiak and set the wheels in motion for the former Houston Texans coach to be hired for the coordinator job.

Bisciotti remained in the loop and offered insight along the way but never gave the directive of who to hire, according Harbaugh.

“Of course he’s going to have a lot of insight into that,” Harbaugh said. “You’d be pretty dumb not to listen to it. Steve and I talked probably through that process more than we usually do. He knew what was going on, who we were interviewing [and was] asking me questions. ‘Have you talked to this guy? Have you talked to that guy? Why haven’t you talked to him? Are you going to talk to him?’ He wanted to know all of that.

“His biggest piece of advice was if you weren’t going to hire right away out of the gates and you didn’t know who you had, then take a thorough process on very similar to the one that [the Ravens] used when they hired me in 2008. He kind of laid out to me how that works. That was really great and very helpful in terms of how to go about doing it. That was really it. He didn’t give me any interview questions or anything like that, and he certainly didn’t say who to hire.

“Steve Bisciotti would never do something like that, and not very many coaches in this league would stand for something like that. That’s not what it’s about.”

In addition to Kubiak and Dennison, new tight ends coach Brian Pariani is coming over from the former Texans staff, but Harbaugh refuted reports that other Texans assistants would be coming to Baltimore to fill the vacant running backs coach and wide receivers coach openings.

Harbaugh said Kubiak identified Dennison and Pariani as assistants he would need to help install and teach his offensive system, but the Ravens will look at “some younger guys” for the remaining two openings instead of hiring other former Houston assistants.

In addition to shooting down reports about Bisciotti and Newsome going over his head to hire Kubiak, Harbaugh took exception to the criticism of his track record hiring assistant coaches as many have used offensive line coach Juan Castillo as a damning example and predicted that he would tab wide receivers coach Jim Hostler as the new offensive coordinator despite his unsuccessful one-year stint with San Francisco in 2007.

The 51-year-old coach reminded that he’s hired a number of former or future NFL head coaches as assistants, ranging from Rex Ryan, Cam Cameron, and Chuck Pagano to Jim Caldwell, Jim Zorn, and Steve Spagnuolo. Kubiak became the Ravens’ first external hire for a coordinator position since Cameron was selected as Harbaugh’s first offensive coordinator in 2008.

“I want to have the best coaches we possibly can,” Harbaugh said. “If you go back over the last six years all told, it’d be hard to find a better six years of coaching staffs than the Ravens have had. Criticize me the other way –- say that I need great coaches around me to be successful. But don’t say that I’m hiring bad coaches or guys that won’t speak their opinion.”

To hear Ravens head coach John Harbaugh’s entire conversation with WNST.net on Radio Row in New York, click HERE.

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Kubiak, Dennison bringing Houston connection to Ravens offense

Posted on 27 January 2014 by WNST Staff

The Baltimore Ravens have hired Gary Kubiak as their offensive coordinator, head coach John Harbaugh announced Monday afternoon.

“We are excited to announce Gary Kubiak as the Ravens’ new offensive coordinator,” Harbaugh stated. “After studying many different candidates, we believe our research and our evaluation process have been as thorough as we could make them.

“The Ravens’ offense will work to be a physical, down-hill, attacking unit that is precise and aggressive. We will be rugged, balanced and hard-nosed. We will play Ravens football, and Gary will help us achieve the offense we aspire to be.

“We left no stone unturned in this search. We are excited about the result and cannot wait to get to work.”

Coach Harbaugh also announced that former Houston Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison will join the Ravens as their quarterbacks coach.

Kubiak, 52, is a 21-year NFL coaching veteran who spent the past eight seasons (2006-13) as head coach of the Houston Texans. Under his guidance, Houston earned back-to-back AFC South crowns from 2011-12 – the franchise’s first division titles – and two playoff berths. Kubiak owns a Texans’ franchise-record 63 total wins, posting a 63-66 overall mark (61-64 regular season, 2-2 postseason).

Under Kubiak, the Texans earned their Top 6 all-time offensive outputs in scoring, total offense and passing yards from 2007-12. During this time, the Texans also boasted the franchise’s Top 3 rushing outputs, including the NFL’s No. 2 ground attack in 2011 when they posted a franchise-record 153.0 yards per game. From 2008-12, Kubiak’s offense was one of only two teams (Denver) to have its total offense, passing offense and rushing offense each rank in the Top 5 at least once during that span.

After finishing a franchise-best 12-4 in 2012, Houston earned its second-straight AFC South title and reached the Divisional Playoffs for the second-consecutive season. The Texans were one of two teams (Denver) to finish in the Top 10 in both total offense and defense (seventh in both that season), while the offensive unit set a team record averaging 26.0 points per game. WR Andre Johnson led the AFC with 1,598 receiving yards, while DE J.J. Watt registered an NFL-best 20.5 sacks, becoming the first player in franchise history to be named Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year. Three starting offensive linemen – LT Duane Brown, LG Wade Smith and C Chris Meyers – earned Pro Bowl honors, while a conference-best nine total Texans were voted to the NFL’s All-Star game.

In 2011, Kubiak was named the KC 101 AFC Coach of the Year after leading the Texans to a 10-6 regular season finish and the franchise’s first division title, playoff berth and postseason victory. Despite losing QB Matt Schaub and QB Matt Leinart to season-ending injuries, Houston produced a franchise-record seven-game winning streak and ranked second in the league in rushing (153.0 ypg). Behind rookie QB T.J. Yates, the Texans earned their first-ever postseason win in the Wild Card round over Cincinnati and advanced to the Divisional Playoff against Baltimore.

In 2010, Houston set a team record in total offense for the fourth-consecutive season and ranked third in the NFL by averaging 386.6 total net yards per game. Impressively, the Texans were the only AFC team to finish in the Top 10 in both rushing (127.6 ypg – third) and passing (259.0 ypg – fourth). RB Arian Foster set new team standards after finishing with a league-high 1,616 rushing yards, 2,220 scrimmage yards and 18 overall touchdowns, while Schaub became the NFL’s 12th-ever quarterback to eclipse 4,000 passing yards in back-to-back seasons.

During the 2009 campaign, Houston’s offense ranked fourth-overall in the NFL (383.1 ypg) and averaged an NFL-high 290.9 passing yards per contest. Schaub ranked first in the league with 4,770 passing yards, also tallying a career-high 98.6 passer rating.

Prior to his time with the Texans, Kubiak spent 11 seasons (1995-2005) as the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator, also coaching the quarterbacks during his first seven seasons. Under his guidance, Denver’s offense reached new heights behind the likes of QB John Elway, TE Shannon Sharpe and RB Terrell Davis, with the team earning seven postseason trips and back-to-back Super Bowl titles (1997-98) during that span. As Denver’s offensive coordinator, the Broncos averaged NFL bests in yards per game (365.0) and points per game (25.2) from 1995-2005.

Kubiak’s NFL coaching career began in 1994 as quarterbacks coach of the San Francisco 49ers, where he helped guide Hall of Fame QB Steve Young to his best pro season. Young, who posted a career-high 70.3 completion percentage, 35 passing touchdowns, 3,969 passing yards and a then-NFL record 112.8 passer rating, earned NFL MVP honors for the second time in his career en route to a victory in Super Bowl XXIX.

Kubiak began his coaching career in 1992 as the running backs coach at his alma mater, Texas A&M, where under his guidance, RB Greg Hill was named a second-team All-American. Hill was a first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1994.

As an NFL player, Kubiak spent nine seasons (1983-91) with the Broncos, serving primarily as the backup to the Hall of Famer Elway. Kubiak appeared in 119 career games, completing 173 of 298 passes for 1,920 yards and 14 touchdowns. While at Texas A&M, he earned All-Southwest Conference honors as a senior in 1982. Kubiak also set the SWC single-game passing touchdown record (six) against Rice his junior year. After earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education from A&M, Kubiak was selected by Denver in the eighth round (197th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft.

Born in Houston, Gary and his wife, Rhonda, have three sons and two daughters-in-law. Kubiak prepped at St. Pius (Houston) HS, where he was an All-State selection. He was inducted into the Texas High School Hall of Fame in 1999.

GARY KUBIAK COACHING BACKGROUND

Years                  College/Pro Team                 Position

1992-93             Texas A&M                             Running Backs

1994                   San Francisco 49ers              Quarterbacks

1995-2002        Denver Broncos                     Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

2003-05             Denver Broncos                     Offensive Coordinator

2006-13             Houston Texans                     Head Coach

2014                   Baltimore Ravens                  Offensive Coordinator

Dennison, 55, is a 20-year NFL coaching veteran who served the past four seasons (2010-13) on Gary Kubiak’s staff as the Texans’ offensive coordinator. Prior to joining Houston in 2010, Dennison spent his entire NFL career with the Denver Broncos – as a player from 1982-90 and as a coach from 1995-2009.

Dennison helped create a prolific offense with the Texans, which during his four-season tenure, ranked eighth in total net yards (369.5 ypg), sixth in rushing (130.6 ypg) and 13th in passing (239.0 ypg). Houston produced an NFL-best 29 individual 100-yard rushing performances, ranked fifth in the NFL with 64 rushing touchdowns and registered three of the best rushing seasons in franchise history during Dennison’s tenure.

In 2012, the Texans’ offense set a franchise record by scoring 26.0 points per game and ranked seventh in the NFL in total net yards (372.1 ypg). Seven offensive players earned Pro Bowl honors, including WR Andre Johnson, who led the AFC with 1,598 receiving yards. RB Arian Foster led the NFL in touchdowns (17) for the second time in three seasons and ranked second in the AFC with 1,424 rushing yards. For the third time in his career, and second under Dennison, QB Matt Schaub eclipsed the 4,000-yard passing mark.

In 2011, Dennison’s offense set franchise marks with 2,448 rushing yards (153.0 ypg), ranking second in the NFL. The Texans also led the NFL in time of possession (32:41) and set a franchise mark for fewest interceptions thrown in a season (nine). Late in the season, rookie QB T.J. Yates was called upon to lead the unit, which suffered season-ending losses to Schaub and QB Matt Leinart. Two different Texans rushed for more than 900 yards for the first time in club history (Foster – 1,224 and Ben Tate – 942).

In his first year with Houston in 2010, the Texans’ offense ranked third in total yards (386.6 ypg) and seventh in rushing (127.6), including a league-high 20 rushing touchdowns. Houston also had the NFL’s fourth-ranked passing attack (259.0 ypg). The total yards and rushing yards were franchise marks, as were points scored (390). Foster became the Texans’ first NFL rushing and scoring leader with a club record 1,616 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.

Dennison’s first stint as an NFL offensive coordinator came with the Denver Broncos (2006-08) after his predecessor, Kubiak, left for the head-coaching job with the Texans. His offenses averaged 350.5 net yards per game and rushed for 124.4 yards per contest and 4.6 yards per carry. In 2008, Denver was second in the NFL with 6,333 total yards and allowed a franchise-record-low 12 sacks.

Dennison coached the Broncos’ offensive line from 2001-05 and again in 2009. He led Denver’s special teams unit from 1997-2000 and helped the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1997-98. Dennison began his NFL coaching career as an offensive assistant with the Broncos from 1995-96. He broke into coaching at the high school level, spending three seasons (1992-94) with Suffield (Conn.) Academy.

From 1982-90, Dennison played linebacker for the Broncos, appearing in 128 games (52 starts) and three Super Bowls (XXI in 1986, XXII in 1987 and XXIV in 1989). He received the Ed Block Courage Award in 1989.

Dennison joined the Broncos in 1982 as an undrafted free agent from Colorado State, where he earned three varsity letters and was a second-team Academic All-American as a senior. In 1979, he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, followed by a master’s degree in the same field in 1982 from CSU.

Born June 22, 1958 in Kalispell, Mont., Dennison attended Rocky Mountain (Fort Collins, CO) HS, where he lettered in football, basketball and baseball. His father, George, was president of the University of Montana before retiring in July 2010. Rick and his wife, Shannon, have five children: sons Joseph, Steven, and Trey, and twin daughters, Abrynn and Allie.

RICK DENNISON COACHING BACKGROUND

Years              College/Pro Team                 Position

1992-94         Suffield (Conn.) Academy     Assistant

1995-96         Denver Broncos                     Offensive Assistant

1997-2000     Denver Broncos                     Special Teams

2001-05         Denver Broncos                     Offensive Line

2006-08         Denver Broncos                     Offensive Coordinator

2009               Denver Broncos                     Offensive Line

2010-13         Houston Texans                     Offensive Coordinator

2014               Baltimore Ravens                  Quarterbacks

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Ravens hire former Texans coach Kubiak as new offensive coordinator

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Ravens hire former Texans coach Kubiak as new offensive coordinator

Posted on 27 January 2014 by Luke Jones

After leading many to believe they had narrowed their choice to two other finalists for the vacated offensive coordinator job, the Ravens threw a major surprise into the equation to replace Jim Caldwell.

Former Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was awarded the job by head coach John Harbaugh, ending a search that lasted nearly two weeks. Kubiak spent the last eight years in Houston but served as the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos for 11 years prior to that and is regarded as one of the better offensive minds in the NFL.

“We left no stone unturned in this search,” Harbaugh said. “We are excited about the result and cannot wait to get to work. After studying many different candidates, we believe our research and our evaluation process have been as thorough as we could make them.”

Former Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison will become Baltimore’s new quarterbacks coach while former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will not be joining the Ravens’ coaching staff after receiving serious consideration for the coordinator job. Dennison served as Kubiak’s right-hand man in Houston for the last four years, and the pair worked together in Denver prior to that.

Despite 20 years of NFL coaching experience, Dennison has never served as a quarterbacks coach, which will make his working relationship with quarterback Joe Flacco an interesting one to follow.

Both Kubiak and Dennison had long playing careers in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, which carried over to their years coaching together in the same organization.

The Ravens also have openings at running backs coach and secondary coach and could also need a new tight ends coach as longtime assistant Wade Harman is not expected to return, according to The Sun. Harman has been with the Ravens since 1999 and was the only assistant on staff for both of the franchise’s Super Bowl championships.

Former Texans tight ends coach Brian Pariani is expected to take Harman’s place while former Texans running backs coach Chick Harris or former Washington Redskins running backs coach Bobby Turner is expected to be the running backs coach, according to Jason Cole of National Football Post.

With the 52-year-old Kubiak now joining the Ravens, it remains unclear where that would leave wide receivers Jim Hostler, who was considered a finalist for the job prior to Monday’s news.

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Ravens add new candidate to offensive coordinator search?

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Ravens add new candidate to offensive coordinator search?

Posted on 27 January 2014 by Luke Jones

Seemingly on the verge of making a decision on their next offensive coordinator, the Ravens have apparently added another name to the mix.

According to The Sun, head coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens spent Sunday interviewing an undisclosed candidate who remains in contention with wide receivers coach Jim Hostler and former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for the job. Harbaugh has spoken to former Houston Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison in recent days, but it remains uncertain whether the 55-year-old has formally interviewed for the position.

After eliminating Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson from consideration over the weekend, the Ravens appeared to be on the verge of announcing who would succeed Jim Caldwell after the former coordinator took the head coaching job with the Detroit Lions earlier this month. However, Dennison’s appearance on the radar screen could complicate the timetable for a decision.

The Ravens are also looking to hire a quarterbacks coach, a running backs coach, and a secondary coach.

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