They say that birds of a feather flock together, but I don't think this is the company that the Falcons and Ravens really want to be keeping these days. With the not-so-surprising news that Cowboys offensive coordinator
Finding the right man for the job is starting to take a backseat to finding someone who will take the job. Now spanning multiple weeks and several swings and misses each, the coaching searches being conducted by the Falcons and Ravens have officially become embarrassing.
Where are we at in Atlanta and Baltimore? Here's how it reads on my scorecard:
• Falcons -- They got used and abused by
And that's after their last head coach,
• Ravens -- First and foremost, Baltimore went sniffing in Cowher's direction without any luck, and despite owner
This week, Caldwell pulled his name out of running -- the Ravens liked him quite a bit but it's seen as a sign that he'll take over the Colts after
That leaves the Ravens facing the prospect of hiring either promising Eagles secondary coach
If it's as surprising to you that the Falcons and Ravens can't seem to give their head coaching jobs away, imagine what it must be like from their vantage points, now that the nays are throwing a shutout at the yeas. If the folks in Atlanta and Baltimore are still laboring under the impression that they've got one of the plum coaching jobs in the NFL to offer, they're either practicing self-deception or not paying attention.
After all, the Falcons went 4-12 in their nightmare of a 2007 season, and still haven't posted consecutive winning seasons in the 42-year history of the franchise. The Ravens plummeted to 5-11 this season after last year's heady 13-3 finish, but the fact remains that Baltimore hasn't won a playoff game since 2001, the year after its Super Bowl-winning season.
The picture that multiple league sources recently painted for me of the Falcons dual coaching/general manager search portrays a confusing and overly structured interview process that includes entirely too much input and participation from the corporate branches of team owner
The search process may be improving now that the Falcons have hired ex-Patriots college scouting director
It's a classic case of leadership by committee and consensus, and Blank is said to be unable to separate how he runs the Falcons with the corporate management style that worked for him in founding The Home Depot. "There's a reason why someone came up with the saying 'Too many cooks spoil the broth,' '' one league source said. "There are some real issues structural there.''
Another league source said: "It's mind-boggling how they're going about this search. They're not really sure what they want to do, and it's a recipe for disaster.''
Blank, of course, knows disaster. One reason he's involving so many different voices -- and don't forget, ex-Falcons general manager
Blank felt burned by ex-coach
No wonder he's taking input from ex-Giants general manager
The fact of the matter is, the Falcons are having a hard time finding a head coach who wants them because it's not a rosy picture in Atlanta these days. This isn't a team that's close to contention and just needs a little direction. This is a team that's headed for a rebuilding phase, and it starts, of course, with figuring out who will play quarterback after the
Which is a nice segue into Baltimore's troubles as well, since the Ravens also are desperate for a long-term answer at the game's most pivotal position. Quarterback
Whoever Baltimore hires as its next coach is going to be faced with a roster that could include such over-priced aging players as McNair,
There's some prevailing belief within the league that the Ravens are already an old team that may get worse before they get better, and the next Baltimore head coach is going to have to walk in there cracking the whip after the rather free rein approach that Billick favored. (That's where the Schottenheimer scenario makes the most sense). Then there's the whole ugly offense versus defense split that has been simmering in the Ravens locker room for years, and was pretty much out in the open in 2007. That needs fixing by the new head coach.
Upon firing Billick, Bisciotti made it clear he thinks he still has the roster of a playoff team, and just needs to find the coach to lead Baltimore back to the postseason. That sounds like unwarranted optimism to me, even if the Ravens are banking on getting all their injured players from this season back on the field and producing in 2008.
When I look a little closer at the Ravens and Falcons, I'm starting to understand why their coaching searches have been so futile to this point. They've got a tougher sell than I realized. By now, it's almost to the point where finding the right guy for the job in Atlanta and Baltimore might be too lofty a goal. Finding anyone who really wants either job seems to be the tricky part.