To the dismay of many, Jim Caldwell was most likely not going to be fired. Some placed the horrendous 8-8 season squarley on the shoulders of the offensive line, and exampted the man in charge often spewing excuses like "He won us the superbowl. So he's obviously good". Lucklily for the Ravens, the Detroit Lions saved them the awkward situation of having to fire one of their own.
To the outsider's eye, it came down to Gary Kubiak and Jim Hostler. Kubiak, on one hand, was an outsider himself; John Harbaugh was never the type of head coach to look outside of his organization for coordinator jobs. And so, on the other side of spectrum stood Jim Hostler, perceived as the favorite when considering harbaugh's tendencies.
Even before Kubiak was ever available, I thought his offense and his approach to football was tailor made for the Ravens. A year prior, the draft selection of fullback Kyle Juszczyk Iimmediately made me think of Gary Kubiak. Juszczyk was the classic Gary Kybiak fullback. Half James Casey and half Vonta Leach. In my mind, the image of Joe Flacco loading up his cannon after a seamlessly executed bootleg simply looked... Right. It looked like the offense Flacco was born to execute.
Jim Hostler's offense would've likely offered results closer to 2013. Having coached in San Fransisco, his scheme was already thought as bland.
Hostler's hire would have changed the course of the Ravens' history. I envisioned a repeat 8-8 season. If looking at the 2014 season, one can recgognize key games that were won thanks to Kubiak's offense, and most specifically, his ability - directly related to his scheme - of geting 90% production out of every key cog of his personnel The road games against Cleveland and Miami stand out. Hostler most likely would have lost both.
Back-to-back 8-8 seasons, with dissapointing offensive play likely land Harbaugh on the hotseat. The coming season is viewed as pivotal.
But Harnaugh nailed it. Even with Kubiak gone, the offensive philosophy remains the same. And now, when talking about acquiring offensive personnel, the front office, the coaching staff and Joe Flacco have never been more in sync. This is reflected through the draft picks of John Urschel and Robert Myers, along with the trade of Jeremy Zuttah. Smaller and late rounders, these linemen are tailor made for the zone scheme.
Bill Walsh once said that winning on offense was done with scheme. Gary Kubiak, and now Marc Trestman both come from his coaching tree. Maximizing talent is their rule of thumb. Sice Kubiak's hire, the Ravens have now been on their way to building a true philosophy, a singular approach. I, for one, hope it never changes