John Harbaugh has to make the most of this opportunity

Gary Kubiak, John Harbaugh

Gary Kubiak and John Harbaugh are pictured at Monday's news conference announcing Kubiak's hiring as the Ravens' offensive coordinator. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun / January 27, 2014)

The Ravens already have a theme for the 2014 season. It's called "One Chance," produced by Steve Bisciotti, written by Ozzie Newsome and starring John Harbaugh.

In a one-on-one interview after the annual "State of the Ravens" news conference earlier this month, Bisciotti warned that he wouldn't stand for failure.

"I'll be more apt to get my way next year if their solutions don't change the problems," Bisciotti said. "That's fair, that's where I am as owner.

"They know they've failed, they know they need to change, and to make improvements. If it's not the way I think it should be and then it fails again, then obviously it comes down to owner-head coach relationship."

That could have come into play Monday when Harbaugh announced that Gary Kubiak was his offensive coordinator instead of wide receivers coach Jim Hostler.

Everyone at The Castle knew that Harbaugh wanted Hostler and the Ravens were within a breath and a news release of making that happen.

But the suspicion here is that Newsome probably whispered into Harbaugh's ear Saturday or Sunday night.

It probably went something like this:

"John, you have to aim higher. Hostler, huh? What exactly has he done? Remember, John, you've got one chance to get this right. If you don't, you could lose the right to name future coaches and eventually your job. I have strongly recommended Kubiak to the owner and he said, 'Go get him.' The owner is on board with Kubiak and we've got the green light. Now, would you prefer to go down with Hoss or Kubs?"

Game over.

It was Kubiak. Throughout his news conference Monday, Harbaugh denied having his arm twisted by the front office and even said Kubiak was involved during the two-week-long process, even though Kubiak admitted he became a candidate only in the past couple of days.

The spin was about as sloppy as the offensive communication on the field last season. Harbaugh also looked uncomfortable sitting on the stage like a young boy with an unwanted new daddy (Kubiak) and uncle (quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison).

It's been a big adjustment for Harbaugh. A year ago, he earned capital by winning a Super Bowl ,which allowed him to part ways with some veteran players like Anquan Boldin, Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard.

Now, some of his power has been taken away. If he'd had any juice, he wouldn't have let the front office dictate terms to him.

But they were. Very few coordinators come in with the demands of Kubiak, who is getting his own staff. Longtime Ravens assistants like tight end coach Wade Harman (15 years) were let go, and all Harman ever did was coach players like Shannon Sharpe, Todd Heap and Dennis Pitta and help design the running game that led the Ravens to the 2000-01 Super Bowl title.

Swoosh. Gone.

They had to go because Harbaugh is facing a critical moment. He came close to getting blind-sided by this hire. Newsome brought in most of Harbaugh's original staff, but Harbaugh brought in assistants like Jim Zorn and Juan Castillo.

They weren't successful. Hostler probably wouldn't have been either.

When you compared Hostler with the other candidates like Kubiak, Scott Linehan or even Kyle Shanahan, it shouldn't have been even close.

Linehan had been a head coach with the St. Louis Rams and had turned the Detroit Lions' offense into a Top 10 unit the past couple of years. Shanahan had reasonable recent success running the Washington Redskins' offense despite working with a young quarterback in Robert Griffin III.

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