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Gary Kubiak hired as Ravens offensive coordinator

Gary Kubiak hired as Ravens offensive coordinator
MGN-Online
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POSTED: Monday, January 27, 2014 - 2:52pm

UPDATED: Monday, January 27, 2014 - 2:55pm

The Ravens landed the big fish.

Head Coach John Harbaugh announced Gary Kubiak as his new offensive coordinator Monday, capping an exhaustive search with a coach considered to be one of the best play callers and brightest offensive minds in the NFL.

“We left no stone unturned in this search,” Harbaugh said. “We are excited about the result and cannot wait to get to work.

“After studying many different candidates, we believe our research and our evaluation process have been as thorough as we could make them."

Harbaugh interviewed coaches from the professional and college ranks. The search lasted more than two weeks, with as many as two interviews a day.

The former Houston Texans head coach will be the Ravens’ third offensive coordinator in the last 13 months and third during the Harbaugh era, which started in 2008.

Kubiak will be in charge of dramatically boosting an offense that ranked 29th in the NFL in total yardage and last in average rushing yards (2.9) per carry last season.

Kubiak is bringing Rick Dennison with him to be quarterbacks coach. Dennison served as Kubiak’s offensive coordinator for the past four years in Houston. The Ravens still have an offensive vacancy at running backs coach.

The hiring of Kubiak is a late shift from what media reports suggested. Over the weekend, reports indicated that Harbaugh was deciding between in-house candidate Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler and former Houston Texans and Washington Redskins Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Kubiak visited Baltimore a couple weeks ago, early in the process. He was reportedly in the mix for the head coaching position in Detroit before former Ravens Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell was hired, then reportedly turned down an offensive coordinator position in Cleveland.

On Monday, Kubiak and Dennison arrived at the Under Armour Performance Center to meet with Harbaugh and the front office again.

Kubiak, 52, is a former NFL quarterback (1983-1991) who once backed up John Elway. After his playing career was over, he was coaching quarterbacks at the professional level.

In 2006, Kubiak was hired as the Houston Texans’ head coach, and he spent more than seven seasons there. He led the Texans to their first playoff performances in 2011 and 2012.

Known for his offensive mind and play-calling acumen, Kubiak’s Texans finished in the top 10 of NFL offenses in four of the past six years. It was just outside the top 10 the other two times. The Texans were third in the NFL in total offense in 2008, fourth in 2009 and third in 2010.

Kubiak last served as an offensive coordinator in Denver, working under Mike Shanahan from 1995 to 2005. During that time, the Broncos had the most total yards (66,501) in the NFL, as well as the most touchdowns (465).

Kubiak has long run a very effective scheme that was highly respected by Harbaugh and Baltimore. He relies on the zone running scheme and a lot of play-action passing to open up big plays down the field. The Ravens studied the Texans’ running approach before the 2012 season and assimilated some of their practices into their own scheme.

But Kubiak’s Texans fell on hard times last season. Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke during the first half of a November game against the Indianapolis Colts. He was fired by the Texans on Dec. 6 amid the worst losing streak in franchise history as they sat at 2-11. The Texans finished 2-14.

Dennison was on the staff fired by new Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien. He will now re-unite with Kubiak in Baltimore, giving the Ravens offense a distinct Houston flavor.

Dennison, 55, has never been a quarterbacks coach, but has a wide-range of coaching and playing experience. He is a former NFL Denver Broncos linebacker (1982-1990) who started coaching for the Broncos in 1995.

He worked his way up to special teams coach, then offensive line coach and offensive coordinator for three years. Dennison was hired by Kubiak in 2010, after Shanahan left to work with his dad in Washington as offensive coordinator.

Kubiak did the play calling in Houston, but Dennison engineered the team’s famed zone-running attack and helped set the team’s offensive schemes. Dennison is a protégé of Offensive Line Coach Alex Gibbs, who first developed the zone-blocking schemes in Denver.

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub twice threw for more than 4,000 yards during Dennison’s time as offensive coordinator. He had one of his best seasons in 2010 when he threw for 4,370 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Dennison will be Joe Flacco’s fourth quarterbacks coach. He’ll try to work with Flacco to turn around what was a poor statistical 2013 in which Flacco threw for a career-high 3,912 yards, but also tossed 22 interceptions to 19 touchdowns.
 

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