The Ravens have been keeping everyone hanging as they conduct what appears to be a thorough search for their next offensive coordinator, but if they were to get Gary Kubiak, the wait would be well worth it.
The team was expected to make an announcement regarding a new offensive coordinator late last week, but then a mystery candidate emerged Sunday. It turns out it was Kubiak, the former Houston Texans head coach who previously served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when the Denver Broncos won a pair of Super Bowls nearly two decades ago. He is now considered the favorite.
And he should be. The Ravens have considered qualified candidates such as Kyle Shanahan, Kirby Wilson, Scott Linehan and internal candidate Jim Hostler. But none of those guys are slam-dunk hires, the kind you would think the Ravens would be able to land given how desirable this job should have been. Kubiak, though, would be that kind of addition, the type of hire that will be praised around the league.
Kubiak, John Elway's former backup quarterback with the Broncos, had great success in his last stint as an offensive coordinator. With Kubiak teaming up with head coach Mike Shanahan in Denver, their offenses ranked in the top 10 in scoring in 10 of his 11 seasons with the Broncos and finished in the top two in points three times.
His offenses weren't as prolific in Houston -- then again, Matt Schaub is not Elway and probably not even Jake Plummer for that matter -- but the Texans did rank in the top 10 in scoring four years in a row before crashing to 31st in 2013. Kubiak was fired after what should have been a championship contender collapsed and went 2-14.
Still, Kubiak is widely respected for his play-calling ability and he would likely bring vision and a plan to a Ravens offense that seemed to lack both at times this past season.
Kubiak is a Shanahan disciple who brought zone-blocking schemes to the Texans and helped running back Arian Foster come out of nowhere to become one of the NFL's best at his position in that offense. He was pretty multiple with his personnel, going three-wide on one play, using two tight ends on the next and then dusting off the fullback for a run out of the I formation. He also used a move tight end to try to create mismatches, which could be good news for Kyle Juszczyk.
In theory, Kubiak would kick-start a slugging Ravens running game and should also be a major asset to quarterback Joe Flacco given all of his experiences with Elway.
The only real downside here would be that if Kubiak does what he is supposed to do with the Ravens offense, he might not be here for long. He interviewed for the head coaching job in Detroit, the one the Lions ultimately gave to Jim Caldwell. He obviously wants to be a head coach again and this just could be a springboard.
But the Ravens can't worry about that. When a top candidate like this comes along, you do what it takes to get him to wear your headset and worry about the rest later.