The Baltimore Ravens are seeking to bounce back from a disappointing season and have hired Gary Kubiak as their new offensive coordinator.
The team confirmed the deal on its Twitter account:
Baltimore also confirmed that Rick Dennison will be the quarterbacks coach:
Head coach John Harbaugh spoke about the hires in a press release from the team:
We left no stone unturned in this search. We are excited about the result and cannot wait to get to work.
After studying many different candidates, we believe our research and our evaluation process have been as thorough as we could make them.
Kubiak also spoke about his new position via Aaron Wilson and Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun:
Gary Kubiak: 'You build your offense around your quarterback. It starts with Joe.'— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) January 27, 2014
Kubiak says that it will all start with being able to run the football. "It's up to us as coaches to put it all together."— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) January 27, 2014
Wilson originally reported the news on Monday, Jan. 27:
Ravens hiring Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator; Rick Dennison expected to join staff, unclear if other staff announcements will be made— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) January 27, 2014
Kubiak was fired as the head coach of the Houston Texans this offseason and will succeed Jim Caldwell, who is now at the helm of the Detroit Lions. Caldwell's predecessor as Baltimore's play-caller was Cam Cameron—another former NFL head coach.
ESPN insider Adam Schefter had reported that Kubiak emerged as the favorite on Monday:
Former Texans HC Gary Kubiak has emerged as favorite for Ravens OC job. Kubiak and Rick Dennison met Sunday in Baltimore w/ Ravens officials— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 27, 2014
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com added:
It doesn’t sound like Kyle Shanahan will be on the #Ravens staff after all. So, Gary Kubiak as OC, Rick Dennison likely on it, too.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 27, 2014
Mike Preston of The Baltimore Sun implied that the front office was exclusively behind the decision to bring Kubiak in, and that the coach was keen on recruiting his own staff before he landed the job:
Finger prints of owner, Steve Bisciotti, and general manager Ozzie Newsome all over possible Kubiak hiring. Harbaugh was non-factor.— Mike Preston (@MikePrestonSun) January 27, 2014
Kubiak trying to put together offensive staff before he takes Ravens job. Members of old staff are in trouble.— Mike Preston (@MikePrestonSun) January 27, 2014
There is no question the Ravens have been able to attract big names to fill the void on John Harbaugh's staff. However, it remains to be seen how well Kubiak and his potential assistants will mesh with Harbaugh himself—if the head coach indeed had no input on the offensive coordinator hiring.
Is Gary Kubiak a good fit in Baltimore?
After winning Super Bowl XLVII, the Ravens had a lot of roster turnover. Several key veterans and other prominent contributors departed, leading to a failure to qualify for the playoffs in 2013.
Much of the struggles can be attributed to the offense. Reigning Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco had a down year in which he averaged a career-worst 6.37 yards per attempt and threw just 19 touchdowns to 22 interceptions, the latter of which is by far a career high.
The 52-year-old Kubiak has relied on zone-blocking runs as the driving force for his offenses, which worked well in Houston with Arian Foster in the backfield in recent years.
Baltimore could use a jolt in that department after Ray Rice (3.1 yards per carry) and Bernard Pierce (2.9 yards per carry) were the leading ball-carriers in the league's 30th-ranked rushing attack.
A better running game, enhanced pass protection and perhaps another viable receiver will go a long way in helping Flacco get over his underwhelming 2013 campaign and get the Ravens back into the playoffs.