Ravens Offense is The Land of Confusion

Jim Hostler

The Ravens top brass and team owner Steve Bisciotti are set to meet in Florida to discuss where exactly the team is heading and the best way to get there.

In order to be successful every team in the National Football League must have an identity. Whether it is on offense or defense, having an identity is critical. And that’s hard to achieve when there are way to many hands in the cookie jar.

Between Juan Castillo, Andy Moeller and Todd Washington working with the offensive line to Jim Caldwell and wide receivers coach Jim Hostler making game plans and calling plays no wonder there was mass confusion on that side of the football last season.

In October John Harbaugh alluded to the fact that the play calling and game planning has been the responsibility of Caldwell and Hostler.

My question is why does Jim Hostler have that much input into the Ravens play calls and game planning. All one has to do is look at his time in San Francisco when he served as their offensive coordinator in 2007  until being fired, on January 2, 2008.

The results are strikingly familiar to those of the 2013 Ravens.

As offensive coordinator for the 49ers, Hostler was subject to much scrutiny and criticism regarding his play calling. Among his most common criticisms was his inability to effectively use Frank Gore, who led the NFC in rushing in 2006 with 1,695 yards yet under Hostlers’ play calling he dropped 35% in one season to 1,102 yards.

Gore publicly criticized Hostler, saying the team did not trust his play calling.

Midway through the 2007 season, the 49ers’ offense ranked last in the NFL, and the rushing offense, ranked sixth the previous year, was ranked near the bottom of the league after eight games under Hostler’s play calls.

Under Hostlers’ direction, the 49ers fell behind every team in the league in the categories of total offense, yards passing, and yards per play and concluded as the league’s worst offense and the team finished with a 5-11 record.

The transformation on Hostler’s watch was markedly in the wrong direction.

When Caldwell took over the reigns Flacco started calling more of his own plays but yet this season it was back to square one. Most franchise quarterbacks after signing a huge deal as Flacco did during the offseason, begin to have a bigger say in the offense. Not in Baltimore.

The blame can be shared by everyone for the failure of the 2013 offense. From the coaches to the players to the vanilla playbook that was used.

Let’s hope that if the Ravens do decide to part ways with Caldwell, Hostler is not their “Next Man Up”.

Otherwise the Ravens offense could once again be without an identity.


Follow me on Twitter @sportguyRSR



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About Brian Bower

Brian Bower
Brian Bower is avid football fan who was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Brian has covered the Baltimore Ravens and NFL player positives in the community for the past two years for FootballNewsNow.com. His work has been featured on NFL.com and ESPN blogs. He is also a regular guest...more

14 Raves on “Ravens Offense is The Land of Confusion

  1. Dan on said:

    LOL Brian, good article.What is it with Organizations picking up these losers. Washington did this with players and coaches. Is the Ravens going to follow suit with them? Is there a lack of Quality coaches out there that Teams keep picking up these coaches that no one else wants?

  2. BmoreB on said:

    My hope is that upon arrival back in Baltimore the Caldwell era ends. He’s obviously not getting a head coaching job in the NFL at this point and we need to move on.

    • Jrock on said:

      Shows what you know about the business of football. Stop leaving comments guy. If it weren’t for Caldwell there would be no Super Bowl. He was a part in the run. And he just got hired as the head coach for the lions. Think before you type.

  3. Boldin Raver on said:

    Ravens offense had a VERY strong identity in my mind: A dysfunctional failure.
    I really don’t understand why writers feel that it is necessary need to communicate with us wee little readers in overfed media trope; i.e., “the Ravens offense needs an identity.” I don’t know how that one gained so much traction. The offense didn’t need an identity, it needed to be effective. The Ravens intent was a strong running game with a passing attack that finds openings in a stretched field. Dysfunction in several areas that cut across coaches and players led to failure in both areas and an epic collapse. Nevertheless, Brian, with your stuff about Hostler’s history, the odd playcalling arrangement, and the aptly title “land of confusion,” this article adds new information that goes farther than anything I’ve read in a long time to help explain what the heck went wrong.

  4. SDOT on said:

    Why is it that we can never find a suitable offensive coordinator to match up with our D coordinators?? There are plenty of options out there why do we have to settle for these vanilla play callers without a strong track record? Chudzinsky, Kubiak, Norv and others are out there…imagine what Chud could do to our offense. It’s time for the front office to make a difference and quit with these BS no name hires that Harbaugh calls his friends.

  5. frank on said:

    if youre saying that CALDWELL needs to go … RIGHT THERE.. STOP TALKING… ur clueless and you need to go… CALDWELL is the best thing that happened to JOE… why would you blame JIM for the INNEFECTIVNESS or our O…. clearly the problem was GINO-SHIPLEY… they caused the run game to be a joke and flacco to get hit 3892732983 times a game. HOW DO U EXPECT US TO WIN? no boldin(stupid move of cutting him) no pitta… barely any stockely/clark… dickson cant catch a cold.. thompson/doss… ARE NOT NFL players… but we will be back… TRUST THE FRONT OFFICE to change our O like they did to our D last year.

    CALDWELL IS NOOOOT THE PROBLEM.. if he was why would other teams want him as a coach?

    • SeriousRave on said:

      Frank, there were other teams in the NFL with similar issues, in particular, early on in the season, difference was their coaches put the players they had, in the best position to make plays. San Fran and NE started the season with many important injuries, suddenly, they were making plays, in particular, NE, even after they lost Gronk again. A good coach/coordinator, adjusts his game planning/play calling to fit his personnel. Injuries happen every year, good teams still find ways to win.

    • TRUTH on said:

      New England game 3rd quarter, 3rd & 1 inside the Patriots 5 yard linem score 20-0:
      - Jim Caldwell calls for an ineffective pass play resulting in an incomplete pass,
      -4th & 1 and Jim Caldwell calls for ANOTHER that was later audibled into a run.


      because the QB couldn’t sneak the ball twice to move the ball 36 inches?? Two power dives up the middle couldn’t generate 1 yard? If you’re going to call pass you can dial up a quick and effective combo route??

      Jim Caldwell called 2 ineffective plays back-to-back at such a critical point in the game which resulted in a turnover on downs. The inability to gain 3 feet in two plays, is a prime example of why Caldwell is not creative enough or intuitive enough to manufacture success for this offense. He is not the one we need at the helm making decisions in crunch time. He’s a good coach to have on your team. Great quarterbacks coach. NOT A COORDINATOR. NOT A PLAYCALLER. To know exactly how to attack every situation on the fly, make a call and have it down to the field within 20 seconds or less takes a true offensive mind that’s experienced enough to think on his feet, dial up the right call and put his players in the absolute best position possible. Our offense felt like a 1 play at a time, maybe it will work, maybe it wont type of offense. No momentum, no creativity, no context, no consistency, no tempo, no sustained know-how. It was like each play was called in hopes that “it might” work. The play calling highlighted how inept our offensive line was and how unoriginal our offensive minds were at trying to scheme around it. We didn’t have a “Mighty Offense” we had a “it might work” offense. Im sorry but the playoff run wasn’t the result of Jim Caldwells takeover and playcalling but rather Cam Cameron’s departure.

      Too many people associate Jim Caldwell’s play calling as why our offense exploded out of nowhere. Let me give you a better analogy of what actually happened.

      We had a Ferrari. There was nothing wrong with this Ferrari. But we had a driver that drove the Ferrari in all the wrong ways. He never took care of the Ferrari. The driver would leave the parking break engaged as he accelerated. He would swerve into oncoming traffic and crash into things that often damaged the Ferrari. He would drive with flat tires and would break too hard. He never shifted into the right gears and often road the clutch. He never changed the oil and would put sugar into the fuel tank in hopes of sweetening it up. The Ferrari became slow and sluggish, broke down a lot and never seemed to like ayou’d expect a Ferraro to properly run. So we replaced the driver, cleared the gunk from the tank and gave it a tune up *walla* the Ferrari was back to looking like a Ferraro should look, ready to be driven. But we had a problem… what good was the Ferrari if we had no one to drive it?. So we looked around, found a guy with a drivers license and asked him to do a couple laps around the track and give it a test run. ZOOOOM the Ferrari took off, crusing like we all thought it would, looking faster than ever. Turns out the Ferrari did exactly what a Ferrari was suppose to do: GO FAST.

      See, all the guy did was steer the Ferrari. The Ferrari did all the work for him. The Ferrari was the athelete, the super star. Not the new driver. iThis new guy behind the wheel wasn’t the reason the Ferrari was fast again, he was just some guy driving it the way it was meant to be driven. The Ferrari was fast again because it didn’t have that inept joke of a driver driving it into the ground.

      Later Turns out the new guy behind the wheel isnt all that cracked up as you’d expect guy driving a Ferrari to be. He isn’t a professional driver by a stretch. Thing is we kinda want to race our Ferrari now. See if we can win something with. And zctually it turns out this new guy driving isntt even that good at driving in the first place.

      Now the Ferrari is still fast and still very much capable of going really really fast but against other equally as fast Ferraris and Corvetts? Well, inorder to know your limits you have to have a driver that knows how to get there. But this guy we hired to temporarily replace our old inept driver, well he’s just not experienced enough to compete against the worlds best. Don’t get me wrong he was able to make it go really fast around the track a couple times but all he did is was open the throttle a little bit. When the course became more challenging and the difficulty level increased, this is where his lack of driving skills showed, and he fizzled off and fell to the back of the pack.

      The point im making is this, If we want to win the race we’re going to have to supe up the Ferrari a lot more, give it a real tune up and bring in a real professional driver that’s going to give us a chance to really compete.

      Jim Caldwell is good enough to change the tires but he’s not good enough to win the race. Plain and simple.

      • Jrock on said:

        Coaches call the plays and players make them. We had inconsistent play from the qb position. The Oline could not run block. Our offensive trouble cannot all be blamed on Caldwell. 2 coordinators in 2 yrs. I’m think Joe needs to live up to that massive contract. The rest is stupid. 120 mil+. He needs to lead us to wins. All the same excuses from years past. It’s getting old. 30+ tds and under 10 ints is what he is paid to do. THIS IS A QUATERBACK DRIVEN LEAGUE. Drive us Joe

  6. Robert H on said:

    Your kidding right Caldwells only getting brought in due to Rooney rule no one is actually beating the door down for his services.

    • Jrock on said:

      Lol another misguided football fool. Caldwell has won 2 superbowls as a OC and been to one as a head coach. Fired after 1 bad season. He was a part in the Ravens run to the Super Bowl. I don’t see why people hate on him. Congrats and good luck with the new job. Thanks for helping us get a ring.

      • Derek ArnoldDerek Arnold on said:

        Caldwell was an OC for the first time with the Ravens. I guess you’re referring to when he was with the Colts – he wasn’t OC for them. He was QB Coach only before becoming Head Coach.

        Otherwise – Yes, good luck and thanks.

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