The Ravens' PR associate Garrett Downing officially released the "short list" of candidates for the offensive coordinator job in Baltimore on Tuesday (1/21/14).
Maybe the biggest surprise to me was seeing the name of Kirby Wilson, who is currently the running backs coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It's an intriguing opportunity to hire away your biggest division rival's up-and-coming offensive coaching talent.
The list of candidates who have already interviewed includes Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler, former Redskins Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan and former Lions Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan. Harbaugh also has an interview scheduled later this week with the Steelers RB coach Kirby Wilson.
Hostler, Shanahan and Linehan all have previous experience as offensive coordinators, and Wilson is a well-respected coach with a strong track record in Pittsburgh.
Harbaugh has cast a wide net during the search, conducting one to two interviews each day last week and throughout the weekend after the Detroit Lions hired former Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell on Jan. 14. Harbaugh has been conducting the interviews.
During the process, Harbaugh has also spoken with coaches about the vacant quarterbacks coach job.
Previously, it was unknown if the Ravens would hire a new quarterbacks coach or leave the position open like last season. The final decision on hiring a quarterbacks coach will be made once the Ravens decide on an offensive coordinator and then build an offensive staff that best fits the group.
He elaborated on the type of coach he wants to hire, saying he is looking for a somebody that fits the offensive philosophy, which is an aggressive, physical, creative and downhill attacking offense.
There is not an exact timetable for making a decision, but Harbaugh said that he does not want this process to take much longer. He wants the process to be thorough, but decisive.
I thought one Ravens.com fan poster in particular —BMoreBirds22 — had the right take on Kirby Wilson:
"I say Kirby Wilson,as the Steelers are known for a physical attacking offense . Plus he has had success with undrafted running backs in Willie Parker and Isaac Redman…and good success with Mendenhall when he was healthy…. and did a good job with Leveon Bell this season. [All of that] and he's had poor O-lines to work with . Kirby wouldl bring back the power game with Vonta Leach and give [guard] Marshal Yanda some power-O plays to get some nasty pull blocks . Also, Kirby was going to be Pittsburgh's OC in the past but he got into an accident during the interview process, so they just sped it up and hired Todd Haley . I'd love to steal a successful up and coming coach from Pittsburgh…"
I couldn't say it better myself.
BMoreBirds22 also pointed out why Kirby Wilson could be the best fit in the Ravens organization:
"One reason I believe the Ravens are thinking outside of the box is for continuity. If they were to bring in Kubiak, for example, and they have a really good season, he probably would leave in 2015 for a Head Coaching gig. Then they will be going through this whole process again. This will be the Ravens' third OC in 2.5 seasons. That is not good for the development of Flacco, offensive players and overall team. So if they can bring some consistency to a critical coaching position by thinking out of the box, then that's fine by me."
"Exactly why the Ravens should to for a guy like Kirby Wilson— or a collegiate coach . Not Kyle Shanahan who is two successful seasons away from getting head coach consideration…"
Kirby Wilson makes sense for other reasons, too. He's current and relatively young, he's well-respected by players around the league, and he has a complete understanding of not only the run game but also pass protection.
That, and what better resource could you have on staff to game-plan against the Steelers?
It will be tempting indeed for John Harbaugh to "Steal This Coach"….