Thursday, January 10, 2008

Finding Waldo, finding Ravens new head coach...which is easier?

As the Ravens search for Brian Billick’s replacement continues, speculation abounds as to who the next sheriff in town will be. Here are a few meandering thoughts to add to the speculation…

What if the Ravens' guy is Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones lets the infatuation with Garrett play out just long enough to help Jones gauge the cost to keep Garrett? Then Jones antes up a little less to have Garrett stay in Dallas with the promise that he’ll be Jones’ guy when Wade Phillips steps down or is removed. You have to believe that all things being equal, Garrett would prefer to stay in Dallas over a move to Baltimore, right?

But back to Phillips, do you think that all his gushing over Tony Sparano and Garrett is totally sincere? Don’t you think that at the end of the day there’s a little self-interest influencing those statements of wonder about Phillips' assistants? Eliminating the natural successors certainly aids one’s job security.

Jon Gruden has only one year left on a contract that pays him $4.5 million annually. Usually head coaches who are standing on solid footing are offered extensions when only one year remains on their contract. Could Gruden become available and if he did, might he be a fit? Or might the lack of an extension for Gruden simply be a case of the Glazers learning from the mistake made by Steve Bisciotti when he extended Brian Billick two years too long?

Perhaps even Wayne Weaver in Jacksonville is paying attention as well. After the 2005 season Jack Del Rio was given a three year extension for $10 million that terminates after the 2008 season. Jacksonville is one of the least wealthy teams in the NFL. You with me?

Del Rio has hardly been a favored son in Jacksonville's front office. GM Shack Harris who lost a power struggle with Del Rio over Byron Leftwich would not be crying in his beer if Del Rio left and chances are Weaver (who publicly voiced his displeasure over Del Rio’s open consideration of high profile collegiate jobs like the one at LSU) might not be broken hearted if the former Ravens’ linebackers coach hightailed it out of town – particularly if they get smoked in New England on Saturday night.

No one asked me but if in the unlikely event the Ravens would even consider coughing up draft picks for a head coach, Del Rio is a better choice than Marvin Lewis.

Like many of you, I was left scratching my head over the Ravens consideration of Brian Schottenheimer and John Harbaugh as head coaching candidates. I mentioned that in my blog earlier this week.

Since that writing I’ve learned from a well-placed source that Harbaugh is highly regarded and has been compared favorably to a young Bill Cowher or even Bill Belichick. If true, Harbaugh’s success might require some patience. During Belichick’s first six seasons as a head coach (5 with the Browns, 1 with New England), the cheating future Hall of Famer was 41-55. Then Drew Bledsoe went down and Belichick was forced to go with Tom Brady. Since Brady took over as the starter in Game 3 of the 2001 season (and he’s yet to miss a game since) Belichick is 86-24.

Funny how he got so smart after Brady arrived on the scene.


Anonymous said...

Interviewing Brian Schottenheimer was a total joke. Interviewing John Harbaugh was not. Of all the candidates not named Sparano, Garrett or Caldwell, Harbaugh has become my dark horse favorite.

Just say no to Marty, Rex, Marvin, Sylvester Croom, Jim Schwartz, and Mike Singletary.