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Ravens need to keep Gary Kubiak at all costs

"It's tough. I failed with that football team, so it's very difficult, and I understand the business and how it works," Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said of the Texans. "But it's funny how things work out, too." (BSMG)

"Black Monday" is the day after the NFL regular season ends and when head coaches get fired. It might also be the beginning of the end of Gary Kubiak's one-year tenure as the Ravens' offensive coordinator.

Kubiak downplayed questions on Thursday about him getting another opportunity to become a head coach, but there has to be some owner out there willing to give him a second chance.

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"I don't think about that one at all; I can tell you that," Kubiak said Thursday. "I'm consumed with what I'm doing. Every opportunity I've ever had in my life, hopefully it's because I'm doing a good job and working my tail off where I'm at.

"So, I think if you worry about those things, you don't enjoy what you're doing at the time, and boy, am I enjoying what I'm doing right now."

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His credentials are impeccable. Kubiak has appeared in six Super Bowls, winning three as an assistant coach, and has mentored Hall of Fame quarterbacks John Elway and Steve Young.

If he lost his fastball during the 2013 season, his last year after eight years as the head coach in Houston, then he regained it this season turning the Ravens' offense from one of the worst to one of the best in the NFL.

So, if I were Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, I'd give Kubiak just about anything he wanted to keep him in Baltimore. A new Mercedes? No problem. Keys to The Castle? Here you go. New contract extension? Done already.

The Ravens can't afford to lose Kubiak. Of all the team's free-agent acquisitions during the offseason, he has been the best. Without Kubiak, the Ravens allowed 48 sacks as quarterback Joe Flacco threw 22 interceptions last season. They averaged just 83 rushing yards per game.

With Kubiak, the Ravens are ranked 10th in total offense, averaging 239.4 passing and 136.8 rushing yards per game. When Kubiak was the offensive coordinator in Denver, he turned no-name running backs such as Olandis Gary and Reuben Droughns into 1,000-yard rushers.

He has worked the same magic again this season with Justin Forsett, a journeyman running back who has 1,128 yards after 14 games.

But maybe the most important reason to keep Kubiak is his relationship with Flacco. There seems to be a respect that Flacco has for Kubiak that he didn't have for predecessors Cam Cameron or Jim Caldwell.

Maybe it's because Kubiak played quarterback in the league and the others didn't, but the results are obvious. Flacco communicates better with teammates and coaches on the sideline. His decision-making is quicker. His technique is better as far as getting a quicker release and planting his back foot in the ground.

Flacco's game is more consistent now, no longer inconsistent from game to game and week to week. That's the least you'd want from a player in which $120.6 million has been invested.

Now, imagine if the Ravens lose Kubiak?

They would have to find Flacco a new coordinator, his fourth in eight seasons. If Kubiak leaves, he might take Ravens assistants Rick Dennison (quarterbacks coach) and Brian Pariani (tight ends coach) with him because they were part of the package when Kubiak came from Houston.

Both Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome are limited in what they can do. Kubiak likes it here in Baltimore. He likes drawing and dialing up plays on game day.

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With a calm demeanor and ego in check, Kubiak doesn't miss the daily grind of being a head coach, but he'll have to listen if the right opportunity comes along. There could be a long list of head coaching casualties on "Black Monday." The Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets and Chicago Bears seem certain to make a change.

The Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and Washington Redskins could also be on the list.

Losing Kubiak would be ironic. Since 2000, the Ravens have wanted to build a prolific offense and it never worked out. The Ravens have gone through eight coordinators and numerous quarterbacks since moving to Baltimore in 1995.

And now, they have a real offense. They have a dominant run game. They have a real passing offense, complete with slants, go routes, rubs, picks, bunch sets and screens.

Since the 2000 season, defense has carried this team and you have to think former All-World linebacker Ray Lewis must be sitting back in retirement these days wondering what it would have been like to have such a successful offense when he played.

Instead of two Super Bowl rings, he might have four.

But this one year might be over with Kubiak if the phone starts ringing on the day after the regular season. If Kubiak leaves, that would be a dark day for this organization.

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