Hard to say the plot thickens from this move since I was certain Andy Moeller (Ravens "official" offensive line coach last year) was going to be interviewing for another team ever since John Harbaugh backed his old compadre Juan Castillo to remain on the job. I mean, you can't have two OL bossmen at the same time…can you?
It's a unique move because it leaves Castillo solely on point as the "O-Line Guy" — but also has Castillo alone on an island of responsibility. Ravens fans are already taking pot-shots at Castillo, blaming him for the mess that the Ravens' O-Line and running game devolved into last season.
Pardon the pun, but for Castillo now, there's no room to run…
Meanwhile Moeller, the OL coach for the Ravens for the past 3 years, has taken the same position with the Cleveland Browns.
He was also the assistant offensive line coach in Baltimore from 2008-2010.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said previously this offseason that Juan Castillo will take over as the offensive line coach next season after working as the run game coordinator in 2013.
“Juan’s title is going to be the offensive line coach. That’s the way he worked last year,” Harbaugh said during the season-review press conference last month.
The departure of Moeller continues the overall shift this offseason after former Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell left to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions. The Ravens hired Gary Kubiak Monday to replace Caldwell, and he has brought in a new group of offensive coaches.
Moeller will be the fifth offensive assistant from last season who will no longer be part of Harbaugh’s staff. Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler, Tight Ends Coach Wade Harman and Running Backs Coach Wilbert Montgomery are also gone.
By going to Cleveland, Moeller will join new Browns Head Coach and former Ravens assistant Mike Pettine. Moeller and Pettine both worked under Harbaugh in 2008.
A lot of Ravens fans don't like the move because it sends Moeller over to a divisional foe.
Blake Drinkard had a good take on the meaning of it all:
"It doesnt really matter who is O-Line coach because Gary Kubiak (new OC) is taking charge of the offense as a whole and Castillo is going to be [under instructions from Kubiak]… I have faith in Kubiak and the guys he is bringing in, and have faith that Kubiak will put Harbaugh in his place when it comes down to evaluating Castillo…"
Blake is right about Kubiak. I don't know about "putting Harbaugh in his place", but the part where Kubiak will be challenging the existing offense and its assistant coaches is absolutely correct.
In an interesting turn of events, with Kyle Shanahan being hired as Browns OC, Moeller will be teaching zone blocking to the Cleveland OL…the very same zone blocking system that Ravens fans hated last season.
Now the question is whether Castillo will fit into Kubiak's scheme. Check out this audio from WNST's interview with Ross Tucker on Super Bowl Radio row this week:
http://bit.ly/1bdf040 Begin at 13:45
Hehe… According to Pro Football Focus, Gino Gradkowski had the worst cumulative grade of any center from the 2013 season. That was a key problem with last year's O-Line. Run-blocking-wise, A.Q. Shipley and Michael Oher had terrible seasons. And severe injuries to Osemele and Yanda were disastrous. Blame Castillo all you want.
But Mystico Dragon asks the key question: will Castillo do Kubiak's bidding and run the Houston stretch/zone block scheme, or will this "friend of Harbs" have carte blanche to do his own thing?
In a turn of events that may not be as far-fetched as you think, Castillo for all we know may already be looking for a new job— and not just in the NFL, but the college ranks as well.