Baltimore Ravens: Offensive Coordinator Possibility Scott Linehan

Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is very aggressively interviewing candidates for the critical coaching position of offensive coordinator. And after a feeble 29th-place offensive showing by the team, he needs to be aggressive and thorough – words used by Harbaugh himself to describe the process.

Tuesday, the coach revealed four names among those being interviewed. There were the previously-known names of Ravens Wide Receivers coach Jim Hostler, along with Kyle Shanahan – late OC for the Redskins. Also mentioned was Pittsburg Steelers Running Backs Coach Kirby Wilson. And another new name is recently-fired Detroit Lions Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan.

Linehan is an interesting possibility, as he has a reasonably strong record in this capacity and favors the aggressive downhill attacking offensive style. However, comment boards on varied newspaper and network sports sites were alive with Ravens fans rather negatively commenting on this possibility. But consider the record in this chart I put together – listing his nine years as an offensive coordinator and his team’s NFL total yardage ranking for those seasons (also, rushing and passing ranks). And in the final column there is a comparative ranking of the Ravens’ total offense in those same years …

Year

Team

Total Off.

Rush

Pass

Ravens Tot Off.

2002

Minn

2

1

9

26

2003

Minn

1

4

4

21

2004

Minn

4

18

2

31

2005

Miami

14

12

16

24

2009

Detroit

26

24

21

13

2010

Detroit

17

23

12

22

2011

Detroit

5

29

4

15

2012

Detroit

3

23

2

16

2013

Detroit

6

17

3

29

 

This would seem to me that he should be considered a viable candidate.

Lineham was also the head coach of the St. Louis Rams for all of 2006-2007, but was fired after the fourth game of 2008. The Rams were 8-8, 3-13, and 0-4 over that time. Though many reasons could be stated to explain this in terms of an aging team with unusual numbers of injuries particularly to linemen, it is probably a fact that Lineham is not best suited by personality and skills for a head coaching position. Offensive Coordinator is his niche.

Lineham is originally from Washington State and played as a quarterback at the University of Idaho. Injured several times in his career, he still posted strong numbers and was a rookie free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 1987. But another injury ended his playing days. His early coaching experience also includes 13 years in the college ranks in various capacities.

An interesting additional fact is that Lineham has actor Jim Caviezel for a brother-in-law, as the two are married to sisters.

Topics: Baltimore Ravens, Scott Linehan

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