Ravens beat writer Jeff Zrebiec talks about the Ravens' new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and the possible reason the team chose him. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
One day after losing one of the NFL's best offensive coordinators in Gary Kubiak, the Ravens replaced him with another top one, Marc Trestman, former head coach of the Chicago Bears.
Is Trestman another Kubiak? Maybe not — few are. But there aren't too many Trestmans around, either.
It was a great move by the Ravens, especially since they entered the race late for landing a top offensive coordinator. Signing a coordinator of Trestman's stature gives the offense instant credibility again. The Ravens needed to make a big splash with this move after losing Kubiak, who helped the offense compile record numbers last season.
According to a league source, Trestman was the Cleveland Browns' and Jacksonville Jaguars' No. 1 choice as a coordinator, and was second on the New York Jets' list behind Chan Gailey.
"The Ravens are fortunate to land another coordinator who is just coming off of being a head coach," the source said. "Those opportunities don't happen often, so you have to give them credit. They pounced on him fast."
Almost as important is the offensive system Trestman brings with him. He runs the same West Coast offense as Kubiak. Of course, the verbiage might be a little different and Trestman will want to put his own finger prints on the offense, but the base will be the same. So, instead of the Ravens personnel learning an entire new offense from the ground level, they have a head start, even though they have a fourth offensive coordinator in four years.
In a way, it wasn't surprising the Ravens were able to sign Trestman to a reported three-year deal. A year ago when the Ravens were looking for a coordinator, there were still quite a few big names in the market such as Norv Turner, Scott Linehan and Kubiak. It was basically a two-horse race this year between Trestman and Adam Gase, the Denver Broncos former offensive coordinator. Gase, though, appeared to be more hype than substance.
As for Trestman agreeing to sign, if you were a coordinator, would you rather coach with a top team in the NFL like Baltimore — with a good quarterback in Joe Flacco — or head to perennial wastelands like Cleveland or Jacksonville?
Gase got a lot of recommendations from around the league, but Trestman had the proven track record, and according to a league source, he was extremely impressive in interviews with both general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh was extremely pleased with his organizational skills, according to the source.
Trestman will work well with Harbaugh. He is quiet, confident and content in just being an offensive coordinator, much like Kubiak. There isn't much rah-rah stuff. One of Harbaugh's biggest assets is that he allows his assistants and coordinators to coach. He'll meddle occasionally, like he did when he ordered former defensive coordinator Greg Mattison to blitz more at the end of the 2010 season, but Trestman has more NFL experience than Mattison. Harbaugh will be hands off.
Trestman's game plan, as far as personnel, will be similar to the one Kubiak was following. Kubiak, before he left, already asked Newsome for a bigger wide receiver and tight end. Those plans won't change. In Chicago, Trestman's top four receivers were Brandon Marshall (6-4, 230), Marquess Wilson (6-4, 184), Alshon Jeffery (6-3, 216) and tight end Martellus Bennett (6-6, 265). The Ravens will probably have a more wide open, downfield passing attack than Trestman had with the Bears in Chicago.
Kubiak made significant strides with Flacco during the 2014 season, especially on fundamentals and decision making. The next step for Trestman is to get Flacco to play as well in the regular season as he does in the playoffs.
Trestman has had success working with quarterbacks Scott Mitchell, Jake Plummer and Rich Gannon. He failed with Jay Cutler in Chicago, but that was more an indictment of Cutler than Trestman.
But there is a great foundation for Trestman to work with in Baltimore, especially with young offensive linemen such as Rick Wagner, James Hurst, John Urschel and Kelechi Osemele. It appears things are back in order for the Ravens to make a serious run at the Super Bowl.