The good, the bad and the ugly: The Ravens' offensive coordinator candidates

Former Baltimore offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell accepted the Detroit Lions head coaching job on January 14, and the Ravens have been searching for his replacement ever since. Head coach John Harbaugh recently announced that he had narrowed the field of potential candidates down to a final four.

The good? Scott Linehan. While none of the four candidates named by Harbaugh really jump out and scream "Hire him!", Linehan is probably the closest. He has the most offensive coordinator experience of any candidate, and is the only one to have served as a head coach in the NFL.

Most recently, Linehan spent the previous five seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions. While dismissed following the firing of head coach Jim Schwartz, Linehan did a great job with the Lions offense over the past few years. The unit was very successful and explosive over his tenure, led by the formidable tandem of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Detroit ranked sixth in the NFL in total offense in 2013, and was third in passing offense. Also, with the addition of Reggie Bush last year, Detroit's offense was one of the best multi-faceted units in the NFL. And for the Ravens offense, one that struggled to find the proper balance between run and pass in 2013, Linehan seems to be the best fit of Harbaugh's four candidates.

The bad? Kirby Wilson. Never heard of him? Don't worry, nobody really has. He's been the running backs coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2007. And while Pittsburgh has considered him an offensive coordinator candidate in the past, he's never gotten the promotion. Sure, the Ravens struggled to run the ball in 2013; but that doesn't mean you bring in a running backs coach from another team with no coordinator experience to run your entire offense. Especially one that coached a rushing attack that ranked 27th in the NFL last season (just two spots ahead of Baltimore).

The ugly? Kyle Shanahan. This would be, by far, the most disappointing hire the Ravens could make out of the four candidates. Shanahan and his father were just driven out of Washington after the Redskins' horrific 3-13 season in 2014. As the offensive coordinator of the team the past four seasons, the younger Shanahan's squad impressed no one in 2013. His offense, based around Robert Griffin III, was a scheme that saw the Redskin quarterback constantly pressured, hit or turning the ball over. One negative thing, among many, that was revealed last season was Shanahan's inability to solve problems on the fly and correct mistakes in his scheme when necessary. It would be a mistake for the Ravens to let him anywhere near their playbook.

The fourth candidate named by Harbaugh doesn't really fit in the categories of "the good," "the bad" or "the ugly." If I was going to put Ravens' wide receivers coach Jim Hostler into a category, it would probably be "the acceptable." He's held that position on the Baltimore coaching staff since 2008, and is the in-house option for the offensive coordinator job. If the Ravens want to make a move that will involve the least adjustments on the players' part, Hostler will be the guy. Fans will hardly be overjoyed if the Ravens choose Hostler, but they won't be enraged either.

And while it would be surprising to see the Ravens go in another direction after Harbaugh came out and announced these four candidates, it's hard to imagine that a guy like former Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak isn't still floating around in a few minds in the front office. While highly unlikely, I wouldn't count him completely out until the Ravens officially offer someone the job.

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