On Wednesday, the Ravens are interviewing their final candidate for the vacant offensive coordinator position — Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson.
Whichever of the four candidates (Wilson, former Redskins OC Kyle Shanahan, former Lions OC Scott Linehan, current Ravens WR coach Jim Hostler) wins the job, they'll become the third offensive coordinator the Ravens will have had in 13 months.
Aside from last year's playoff run, this offense has been a snooze-fest. Regardless of whom is at the helm of the offense, it appears to be the same strategy and mismanaged use of talent. Given the trend of predictability and boredom, many Ravens fans are clamoring for the newest coordinator to come from outside the organization.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like they'll get their wish.
As reported by the Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson, it appears the team is leaning toward selecting Hostler, their only internal candidate. Hostler has been with the Ravens for six seasons, and aside from developing Torrey Smith and what appears to be a promising career for Marlon Brown, he can't hang his hat on much.
The Ravens need a big change in offensive philosophy, with a need for the running game to return to the Pro Bowl form it once was. Sure, things can change in time, but given Hostler's only other experience as an offensive coordinator in 2007 with the San Francisco 49ers, he seems like someone who shouldn't even be considered.
Here are some major blunders during Hostler's only season as the 49ers offensive coordinator:
- Frank Gore - Led the NFC in rushing in 2006 (1,695 yards). Once Hostler took over, Gore accounted for 593 fewer yards, and wasn't shy to voice his displeasure with Hostler.
"We're not trusting each other," Gore said via the AP following a 33-15 defeat to the New York Giants. "We're not trusting the coordinator. I just know that when we had Norv Turner, he had been doing it for a while. Whenever he said something, we wanted to do it. And now I feel that a lot of people, when coach [Hostler] or somebody calls something, it gets in the back of their heads, 'Is he calling the right play?'"
- Ranked 32nd In Total Offense - It's widely believed that had Jim Caldwell not been hired by the Detroit Lions, he would have been fired by the Ravens. Last season, the offense finished 29th overall. During Hostler's only season as a coordinator for the 49ers, they were ranked dead last on offense. That doesn't seem like much of an upgrade, does it?
- League Worst In Points - The 49ers only managed to put up 219 points in 2007. In comparison, a Ravens offense that saw a mixture of starts from Kyle Boller (eight starts), Steve McNair (six starts) and Troy Smith (two starts) during head coach Brian Billick's last season in Baltimore ranked 24th, scoring an additional 56 points.
- League Worst In Yards Per Play - Hostler's 49ers averaged 4.1 yards per play in 2007. For comparison's sake, the Ravens were 27th (4.6 YPP) and the best that season was the New England Patriots (6.2 YPP).
- Lowest Scoring Percentage - In 2007, Hostler's 49ers offense only scored on 19.7% of their drives. For comparison, the Ravens were 24th (26.9%) and the Patriots led with 52.7%.
Time may change things, but hiring Hostler seems like a horrible idea. Would you appoint someone to the head of the I.R.S. who has a long history of tax evasion? It doesn't make sense, just like it doesn't make sense to consider Hostler for this job.
Timing is critical for the Ravens if they're going to try to capitalize on quarterback Joe Flacco in the prime of his career (and bank account). Also, how do you expect to fix a league-worst rushing attack with a guy who forgot that the conference's best running back was on his team?
This isn't the Cleveland Browns. This is the Baltimore Ravens. This is one of the most attractive coaching positions still available. Why fill it (or even consider someone to fill it) with Hostler's gigantic failure on his resume?
Offensively, last season's performance was an embarrassment. Hiring Hostler will likely set the Ravens up for an encore performance.