Is Kyle Shanahan a good fit in Baltimore?
With secondary coach Teryl Austin's departure to Detroit -- where he joins former offensive coordinator and new Lions head coach Jim Caldwell --- the Ravens now have three job openings on their staff.
But in truth there should be four, because the Ravens should hire a quarterbacks coach who doesn't double as the offensive coordinator.
Caldwell joined the Ravens staff in 2012 as the quarterbacks coach, and when he was elevated to offensive coordinator, he retained the duties as the de facto quarterbacks coach. On the one hand, that made perfect sense given Caldwell's history working with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.
The problem is, once Caldwell became the coordinator, he was up in the booth on game days. When Flacco came off the field after a series, he never had his position coach to meet with on the sideline. Flacco often just went to the end of the bench and sat down. Sure, there are headsets and phones up to the booth, and other players to bounce suggestions off of, but there's something to be said for boots on the ground, eye-to-eye contact and sideline interaction during the game between players and their day-to-day coaches.
[RELATED: No quick fix for the offense]
Of course, that wasn't a problem during Flacco's amazing playoff run last season -- which came after Caldwell's in-season promotion to offensive coordinator -- but when things were not running well this season, Flacco would have benefited from having a quarterbacks coach on the sideline.
The Ravens have gone this route before. Hue Jackson and Jim Zorn both served as dedicated quarterbacks coaches with Flacco, as did Caldwell before his promotion. Flacco has worked well with quarterbacks coaches and publicly bristled when Zorn was let go after one season.
To be sure, a quarterbacks coach on the sideline wouldn't have solved all the Ravens offensive problems this season. The line didn't block well enough and the backs didn't run well enough. But Flacco didn't throw well enough either -- he threw a career-high 22 interceptions -- and maybe another set of eyes and ears on the sideline with him would help change that.