As the Baltimore Ravens’ search for a new offensive coordinator would appear to be down to three candidates, there seems to be some very mixed feelings about the single inside possibility: Jim Hostler.
The other apparent remaining possibilities (who were given second interviews along with Hostler) are former Redskins coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson. Not getting a second look, and therefore apparently out of the running, is former Lions O.C. Scott Linehan.
The argument in favor of Hostler is the matter of familiarity with John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith and the wide receivers. As well, he has high grades and strong reviews for what he has particularly accomplished with Smith and rookie Marlon Brown. The case against him is a relative lack of experience in the coordinator position, with his single one-year job in that role with the 2007 49ers featuring the dead last offense in the NFL that season. They were 32nd in the league in both yardage and points. Ugh!
Some of the controversy (such as it is) surrounding this revolves around the age-old chicken-and-the-egg sort of question about coaches and players: Is the credit or blame for either good or poor performance to be ascribed to the players, the coaches, or what percentage of each? It can be argued that no coach would have made the 2007 49ers better than the NFL worst outfit, or for that matter, the 2013 Ravens better than 29th. Yet at the same time, a lack of imagination and effective game preparation and play-calling has to be laid at the feet of coaches.
Having said that, it would seem to me that Linehan would have been the best choice on paper – he is the proven and experienced entity (see my previous article on this subject).
Again, Hostler brings familiarity, but who wants the familiarity of a 29th-ranked offense, if that is what it would be?
Shanahan brings a novel sort of play-calling feature on his young and short resume, and if the decision and desire is to go with a zone blocking scheme to fix the woes of the offensive line, he would be the guy (just wish he had a different last name!).
What Kirby Wilson would offer is a probable expertise toward a revitalization of the running game, which would, in theory, open up the air attack for enhanced effectiveness.
(Update 2:00 Saturday – According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the Ravens have eliminated Kirby Wilson from consideration. Rapoport also contends that Scott Linehan is being considered for a play-calling capacity for the Dallas Cowboys.)
It seems to me that it will be difficult for the organization to not offer the position to an internal candidate who was given two interviews. It is a complicated decision however. But ultimately it will be up to the players to make success happen on the field.
Here is a summary of Hostler’s professional coaching record…
|Wide Receivers Coach||Baltimore Ravens||2008 – 2013|
|Offensive Coordinator||San Francisco 49ers||2007|
|Quarterbacks Coach||San Francisco 49ers||2005 – 2006|
|Quarterbacks Coach||New York Jets||2003 – 2004|
|Asst. Wide Receivers Coach||New Orleans Saints||2002|
|Offensive Assistant||New Orleans Saints||2001|
|Offensive Assistant||Kansas City Chiefs||2000|