OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR RACE HEATING UP
With Norv Turner having accepted a position as the offensive coordinator in Minnesota last week, it appears that the two lead horses in the race for the vacant offensive coordinator position in Baltimore are ex-Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and current Ravens wide receivers coach Jim Hostler. Other candidates include offensive line coach Juan Castillo and Ex-Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, although the top two candidates are widely considered to be Shanahan and Hostler.
It was documented that Shanahan had already interviewed for the position last week, and now sources have told Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun that in the interview Shanahan made a “positive impression.” Multiple NFL head coaches have also recommended Shanahan for the job.
Hostler has received support recently as well however, as former Ravens receiver Derrick Mason as offered his endorsement. Mason said in an interview that after watching Hostler work with quarterback Joe Flacco for the last few years, it would be a “great fit.” Mason also added that Hostler’s understanding of the offensive system in Baltimore would be an advantage.
In the past the Ravens have normally hired from within the organization, especially under head coach John Harbaugh, which would seem to give the edge to Hostler. However, with Shanahan receiving support from fellow head coaches in the league he may be the better hire in this situation.
SHERMAN INTERVIEW LEADS TO RAVENS TWEETS
By now most people have either seen or heard about the postgame interview with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman after the Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night in the NFC Championship game. His calling of Michael Crabtree a “sorry receiver” was the topic of over 1 million tweets Sunday night.
Some of those tweets came from Ravens players who voiced their opinions. Wide Receiver Torrey Smith started with “WOW” and then later tweeted that Sherman was disrespectful and told ex-Raven Qadry Ismail in a conversation that Crabtree must “have said something about his momma.”
Meanwhile, right tackle Michael Oher tweeted that ex-Raven and ex-New York Jet Bart Scott’s famous “Can’t Wait!” interview was still the best postgame interview (fullback Vonta Leach responded saying he thought Sherman’s was better.) The best of the tweets was kicker Justin Tucker though, who simply said what we all were thinking, “Haha how confused was Erin Andrews right there?”
As far as Sherman goes he is one of the top – if not the best – defensive backs in the game right now, and can talk as much smack as he wants if he can back it up on the field. Still, this interview was not very professional; nor was his interview with ESPN’s First Take before the season began.
Sherman redeemed himself at least somewhat, however, by taking the time Monday morning to write an article explaining the interview and game in more detail. He mentions that his feud with Crabtree has history to it as well, as Crabtree said something to him in the offseason in Arizona he did not like.
RAVENS VOW TO BE ACTIVE IN FREE AGENT MARKET
The Ravens will head into free agency this year with an estimated $14.5 million in cap space, and general manager Ozzie Newsome has said that the Ravens “will be active, but let me say something: All of those players that we signed last year were free agents and weren’t UFAs.” The Ravens rarely target any UFAs, (unrestricted free agents) because it benefits their compensatory pick prospects.
Basically compensatory picks are added after each round they are for, and are awarded based upon players a team loses to free agency and who the tem added. When teams lose more players than they add, and lose players who are perceived as a higher quality player, they receive more picks.
After making it clear that the Ravens do not aim to pursue UFAs, Newsome also admitted that the organization is keeping an open mind this offseason. “If it means we have to go out and get a UFA this time, which means we probably lose a compensatory pick, we won’t say ‘No’ to anything.”
After making it clear a receiver would be added this offseason, some wide receiver UFAs this offseason the Ravens may choose to go after include Anquan Boldin, Eric Decker, James Jones and Danario Alexander.
MORE THAN JUST THE TEAM HURT BY MISSING PLAYOFFS
When the Ravens played into January and even into February over the last five years, the result was that Ravens fans were more excited about the team for a longer amount of time. Fans were buying playoff tickets, hats, shirts, coats etc. to support their team in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy.
However, with a shorter season this year many fans have begun to move away from the Ravens, at least as far as buying Ravens apparel is concerned. Jessica Kartalija of CBS Baltimore News reported that with excitement lower, less fan gear has been sold in local Baltimore stores.
There has also been a slight decrease in reservations at hotels booked in the Baltimore Area, as the Hotel Monaco Downtown states that it is likely because there are less people visiting from other fan bases to watch games. However, reservations began to even out as other conventions were scheduled for weekends in Baltimore.
It makes sense to be less interested in Ravens gear with the team not playing a meaningful game again until September, but the early season finish has allowed more focus to be placed on the Orioles and with any luck their merchandise can help local vendors make up some of the difference. Hopefully, the Ravens can get back in the postseason next year – both for the fans, and for the benefit of local business.