Kubiak and Flacco’s Relationship a Do-Or-Die for Ravens

Texans Training Camp
(Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

When the Ravens announced the hiring of new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison, this should have caused Ravens fans to collectively breathe a sigh of relief, albeit a somewhat nervous one.

I want to start out by saying that the hire of Gary Kubiak is a brilliant one for the Ravens, proving that they, unlike the Cleveland Browns, don’t often self-destruct just as a gift horse arrives. (The Browns, by the way, have reportedly hired Kyle Shanahan to run their offense, which should also prove to be a good move, but a far better move for them than Baltimore.)

Yet the Kubiak/Dennison hire, should prove to be a brilliant move or unfortunate mistake only when Flacco has fully been given time to adjust to the West Coast-style system the two run. This is critical that there be a commonality in working style between the coaches and notoriously temperamental Flacco. Yet this West Coast style figures to have wrinkles that appeal to Flacco such as mixing in some play-action to take advantage of Flacco’s cannon arm that helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl trophy.

Flacco has never been known as a Phillip Rivers/Tom Brady yeller at his coaches, but when Flacco doesn’t like something he isn’t afraid to make that clear through either tuning out a coach (Cam Cameron) or subtly taking shots in the media (John Harbaugh and Jim Caldwell on the Wildcat Offense).

It is a smart move that the Ravens have already gotten Flacco and the new coaches together to talk things up because Flacco trusting in Kubiak and his system will be so critical, along with fixing the offensive line and running game, to the Ravens having success in 2014.

In my opinion, while the ultimate hiring of Gary Kubiak certainly involved John Harbaugh, it is clear from reports from ESPN’s Jamison Hensley and others that Harbaugh wanted Hostler and did not want to look outside the organization.However Hostler’s one opportunity to be a coordinator (for San Francisco) went horribly wrong with his offense being ranked last in the league in many key categories.

Hostler stepping in to fix a broken system he was a part of would have been a terrible idea, and unlike the “locker room lawyers” Harbaugh has subtly tossed aside, he couldn’t do the same to the advice of owner Steve Bisciotti who clearly, along with Ozzie Newsome and the mysterious team president Dick Cass, called the shots on hiring someone other than Hostler.

The likely scenario was that Bisciotti told Harbaugh that he wanted a variety of candidates to be considered, including from outside the organization. Harbaugh probably resisted that, but went along because Bisciotti has the final say.

When the first slew of candidates came in, it looked like Kyle Shanahan, Hostler, or Kirby Wilson (then-Steelers running backs coach) would get the job. But it was clear Bisciotti didn’t want the winner to be Hostler as the team needed an outside voice.

Kubiak appeared likely to go to Cleveland, but reports were that the Browns resisted him bringing on a number of assistants from a 2-14 Houston Texans team. So things fell through in classic Browns DE combustion manner. “Only in Cleveland” is what the writers there often put into their pieces, and this is another example.

So, the Ravens, like they came across a gift named Elvis Dumervil due to an agent’s faxing error, another gift horse was delivered to them in the form of Kubiak. Despite the Texans’ unfortunate year, Kubiak has made a career of turning subpar QB’s into superstars, at least for a time, and that’s something the Ravens must have liked.

Kubiak has been known to be an approachable coach, and one who can relate to being a QB, since that is the position he played, for years backing up Bronco legend John Elway.

Kubiak also has a very good offensive sense about him and has an imagination that allows a variety of plays to be called that take advantage of a personnel group, whether that involves having a great runner, or a QB with a deep or accurate arm.

Flacco has the former of those, but a better offensive system could take the pressure off him to help him improve accuracy.

Overall, the chemistry is the most important thing. Flacco and Kubiak need to be able to get along – that won’t be a problem with Dennison since he and Kubiak already are on the same page, and Dennison won’t do anything to confuse messages to Flacco, as had happened when Jim Zorn was his QB coach and Cameron his coordinator.

This was, in short a great hire by the Ravens. While Browns didn’t do badly at all with Shanahan, he has had a reputation as a prickly-at-times coach, who fell out of favor with Robert Griffin III this past season with the Redskins.

Flacco now just needs to pay attention, and listen, and then, get better.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured by Tom Moore. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tom Moore

Tom Moore
TOM MOORE is from Baltimore and writes on sports for Press Box, and he previously served as a columnist for The Baltimore Examiner on many topics related to Baltimore and Maryland. Described by many as a ‘Renaissance man,’ Mr. Moore has hosted the weekly radio program The Tom Moore Show...more

19 Raves on “Kubiak and Flacco’s Relationship a Do-Or-Die for Ravens

  1. bogeyroy on said:

    I am definitely confused here…TL writes an apology piece stating that Harbs had a say in Kubiak coming, and how it went down. Now you are stating tha Harbs didn’t have a say and was overruled by the 3 head honchos !!!

    Who are your sources ? I do not believe TL would stand up like he did and apologize unless he truly had the facts.

    I am glad Hostler did not get the OC job…also glad we have Kubiak and Dennison.

    • Wende on said:

      I just read an article maybe yesterday..written by a girl that works for the Texans news and it said Harbs was totally involved and that article included tweets from the people involved..which stated the fact that Harbs wanted Hostler if he didn’t get hired elsewhere…of course I can’t find it now to share the link…

      so I’m not sure I believe anyone saying Harbs was “tossed aside”.??

  2. john on said:

    Most of the people that write on this web site are mouth pieces for corporation Baltimore. Unlike Mike Preston, they don’t have the guts to write something an objective form or a form that could be critical of Corporation Ravens, I would say they are not real fans.

    • Anonymous on said:

      I think that there a fine line between writing something critical of the Ravens that can be seen as fact and writing opinion pieces chock full of wild speculation. Furthermore, your description of Preston as having “guts” compromises the validity of your statement.

  3. Tom Moore on said:

    TL and I agree actually; Harbaugh liked Kubiak from knowing him as a head coach but had been resistant to the idea of hiring outside the organization. When Kubiak became available he became a candidate right away to the Ravens. Harbaugh had veto power over an OC he couldn’t work with. The group all agreed that Kubiak was the best option. Harbaugh had wanted to promote Hostler but was convinced by the brain trust to look at other options and it worked out.

    • Sharon on said:

      I’m not sure how you would know that Harbs was resistant to an outside hire. Biscotti didn’t push for Kubiak. From my understanding, he wanted an up and coming guy that no one had ever heard of. Again, I’m not sure I understand how people keep saying that John wanted to promote Hostler. Unless you are are proficient in mind reading it all seems like conjecture.

  4. Tom Moore on said:

    I agree with TL that Bisciotti initially wanted Shanahan but that is before Kubiak even became a candidate. Keep in mind it looked like the Browns would get Kubiak. They were in negotiations with him. He became available to the Ravens and they pulled the trigger.

  5. The Truth on said:

    I thought Biscuit made him get Kube but I heard Harbs explain everything on a radio interview and it made sense…..They were gonna hire Shanny and he called Dennison to get some last ditch info on him, and Dennison told him he should call Kube, that he would be interested in the job. Harbs thought he was looking for a HC position only….But gave him a call and it all fell into place..Thank God !!!!
    Harbs also said they had tried to get permission to talk to the guy in Dallas, Callahan but was denied…
    We were just very fortunate to get the Rubiks Kube, let’s not smite the hand that feeds us folks..
    Don’t worry, Be happy, and all that good stuff..

  6. CrabbyPatty on said:

    “It is clear the hire was not the doing of John Harbaugh…” Really? Cite some kind of source for this claim or stop talking about it. So tired of this stupid speculation bull crap. If you’re going to make such a ridiculous statement, give us some kind of proof. Also I’m sick of having to read this Harbaugh bashing garbage from all these “Raven fans.” The guy went to the playoffs five of the six years he’s been head coach, three AFC Championship games and won a Super Bowl, yet the first season Harbaugh doesn’t have a winning record, it’s “off with his head.” I’ll always be a Ravens fan, but some of us are quite spoiled, aren’t we? We as fans should be happy that we have Kubiak as an OC end of story. Quit trying to rain on our parade.

  7. QuotationSupport on said:

    This specualtion is offbase. From John Harbaugh himself, which falls right in line with Bisciotti’s record as a business owner and the timeline put forth by Kevin Byrne:

    “How did Steve Bisciotti build one of the biggest companies in the world? What’s his company? It’s human resources. It’s people, hiring people. It’s staffing. That’s what he does. So, of course he’s going to have a lot of insight into that and you’d be pretty dumb not to listen to it.”

    “Steve and I talked probably through that process more than we usually do; we probably talked every other night or so . . . So he knew what was going on, who we were interviewing, asking me questions . . . and he would give me advice. His biggest piece of advice was, if you weren’t going to hire right away out of the gates and you didn’t know who you had, then take a thorough process on . . .and he kind of laid out to me how that works. So that was really great; it was very helpful in terms of how to go about doing it. That was really it. He didn’t give me any interview questions or anything like that, and he certainly didn’t say who to hire.”

    If you listen to his interview on WNST, it’s also pretty clear that he didn’t lean toward Hostler. In fact, he didn’t have a clear cut favorite, and that’s why the process continued for as long as it did. If he wanted Hostler, he would have selected him immediately because it was his call.

  8. Tom Moore on said:

    We cited some sources within the updated version of the article since some of you were asking about it. Bottom line Mike Preston, ESPN and other sources reported much the same.

    • EdgarAllanPro on said:

      Mike Preston is not a source because Mike Preston is not a reporter. He has made clear, multiple times, that his job is as an opinion columnist that draws page hits and ad revenue not to report the truth.

      He bullS’s for money. That article was to drive click throughs and it worked. When asked by Steve Davis on the local morning radio show how much of the article was true and how much was just Preston’s feelings, the guy totally avoided answering.

      That column was, simply put, fabricated to drive ad revenue and NOT to report the truth. And any ESPN article I’ve seen linked TO that Preston article as the basis for that opinion.

      That’s not a valid source.

  9. ~ on said:

    contradictory stories on this site of the OC topic and it s getting annoying..anyway i hope that john’s initial thoughts werent hostler as o.c.

  10. Emjay on said:

    Now there needs to be focus on defense. We need some fierce guys and leadership on defense. If there is any truth to the rumors that Harbaugh does not like outspoken guys, Ozzie needs to help him get over it by getting some guys in the locker room that have fire. Jimmy Smith demonstrated that fire when he confronted Ihedibo about the bone head play he made in the end zone. It was a huge mistake to let Reed and Pollard go with Ray Lewis retiring. There did not seem to be a general on the field. It is a big transition for Suggs to go from sort of a playful guy to a leader. I also heard a rumor that he and Dumervill were at odds. I’m sure that did not help and there was not strong personality in the locker room to help deal with that. Although we got some turnovers, our defense did not swarm around the ball and they rarely ran with the ball to score once they got the turnover. We need to be sharp in all phases of the game. GO RAVENS!

    • jgc on said:

      Absolutely need the defense to bring it… Its the heritage of The Ravens, and wins more.titles than offense as we saw yesterday…just.my.oponion

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