January 19, 2015

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Time for the Baltimore Ravens to start searching for a new offensive coordinator - again.

The Ravens thought they might be able to avoid this annual exercise when Gary Kubiak declared last week that he would return for a second season. That, however, was before the Denver Broncos' head coaching job became vacant.

The vacancy that was created when the Broncos and coach John Fox parted ways put in motion a chain of events that ultimately sent Kubiak to Denver (his hiring was announced Monday) and left the Ravens looking for an offensive coordinator for the fourth time in four seasons.

Potential replacements include former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and former Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman.

Experience at the position is helpful, but not necessarily a requirement. When Ravens coach John Harbaugh dismissed offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in December 2012, he gave the job to Jim Caldwell, who had never worked at the position before.

Two months later, the Ravens put up 34 points in a Super Bowl victory over San Francisco.

Caldwell stayed at the post in 2013 before accepting the job as coach of the Detroit Lions. That opened the door for Kubiak, who put together the most prolific offense in franchise history.

Baltimore set team marks in points (409) and yards (5,838) in 2014. In addition, quarterback Joe Flacco threw for a career-high 3,986 yards and 27 touchdowns while being sacked only 19 times compared to 48 in 2014.

After the Ravens fell to New England in the second round of the playoffs, there was hope the offense would be even better in its second season under Kubiak. He seemed to think that way, too, opting to return rather than interview for other coaching jobs.

One day after the 35-31 defeat in New England, Kubiak said in statement: ''This is a special organization and we, like Coach Harbaugh says, are building something great. I want to be a part of that and contribute in whatever ways I can.''

Now he's headed elsewhere. Although Kubiak's departure comes just one week after he said he would stay put, at least one of the Ravens expressed no hard feelings.

''How can you be mad at a guy did his job and was rewarded with dream opportunity that WASN'T available when he said he was staying?'' wide receiver Torrey Smith wrote on Twitter.

Kubiak probably won't be going alone. It appears likely that quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison and tight ends coach Brian Pariani will also end up in Denver, leaving Harbaugh to fill those voids along with finding a replacement for secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo, who left to become defensive coordinator of the New York Giants.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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