Former Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is not likely… (Bruce Kluckhohn / US PRESSWIRE )
Even as the Ravens' search for an offensive coordinator appears to be moving away from him, former Detroit Lions assistant Scott Linehan would be their best option.
On paper, Linehan has more experience than the three candidates who are reportedly in the running for the job: Ravens wide receivers coach Jim Hostler, Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson and former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
As of midday Thursday, Linehan had not been scheduled for a second interview, according to a league source. The longer the search drags out, the more it appears that Hostler might get the job, with Shanahan a close second at this point.
Linehan, a proven play caller, has impeccable credentials. He was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams from 2006 until he was fired four games into the 2008 season, and then he turned Detroit's once-poor offense into one that ranked in the top six in the NFL in each of the past three years.
The 50-year-old Linehan's offense is similar to the one used by both Cam Cameron and Norv Turner.
Wilson, who like Harbaugh is an emotional and "rah-rah" type of coach, is expected to meet with the Ravens for a second time Friday, according to reports. He's regarded highly in Pittsburgh.
Shanahan worked as the offensive coordinator for his father, Mike, with the Redskins for the past four years. Both were fired last month, not long after the 2013 season ended. Kyle turned the Redskins' offense into a top-five unit in 2012 with then-rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Hostler, though, has always been one of Harbaugh's favorites. His credentials aren't as impressive as those of the other three, but Harbaugh might want some continuity.
Big offseasons needed
According to the collective bargaining agreement, the first day of offseason workouts can't begin until April 21.
Several of the Ravens' young players, however, could have strong seasons in 2014 if they hit the weight room, including defensive tackle Brandon Williams, linebacker Arthur Brown, center Ryan Jensen, offensive tackle Rick Wagner and tight end Matt Furstenburg (Maryland).
Some other players who need strong offseasons are strong-side linebacker Courtney Upshaw and running backs Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice.
Rice played at almost 8 pounds over the 217 pounds that owner Steve Bisciotti, earlier this month, said he thought the six-year veteran weighed this season.
NFL officials will be distributing warm-up kits before Super Bowl XLVIII. The package will include items such as gloves, handwarmers and earmuffs.
Ahhhh, that's so nice …
It's just a little make-up gesture from the league for putting one of the world's most prestigious sporting events in a cold-weather city with an outdoor stadium.
There was no need for this. The Super Bowl has always been known for hot weather, shorts, T-shirts, bars, alcohol and a weeklong escape.
And now it's about snow, ice, contingency plans, warm-up kits and playing the game in a state where everyone talks really loudly.
No playoff changes, please
Speaking of more arrogance from the NFL, do we really need to add another playoff team? Instead of increasing the number to seven, the league should reduce it to four.
The league is already watered down, and it becomes embarrassing at the end of the season when some of the teams can't even win to get into the postseason.
The Ravens needed to win on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals in the final game of the 2013 season, and despite forcing four turnovers, they still lost by 17 points.
The Miami Dolphins could have gone to the playoffs, but they lost by 13 to the visiting New York Jets in the final game. If either the Ravens or the Dolphins had advanced to the playoffs, they probably would have been one and done.
League officials believe it would create more excitement by adding another team, but all it does is provide a false sense of security and put more money into the owners' pockets.
Mike Pettine reportedly agreed Thursday to become the next coach of the Cleveland Browns, but I thought the former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator was somewhat of a surprise candidate for the job.
When Pettine was a defensive assistant with the Ravens from 2002 to 2008, he was basically considered a "yes guy" for Rex Ryan, who took Pettine with him when he became head coach of the Jets.
Pettine never seemed to have the characteristics or personality of a head coach, but neither did former Ravens assistant Mike Smith, who has coached the Atlanta Falcons to a 60-36 record over the past six seasons.
Thoughts on Sherman
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was correct when he said some people use the word "thug" as a replacement for the N-word.
But it's not the majority of people, just the usual prejudiced goofballs we all have to deal with occasionally. Sherman isn't a thug, but he is arrogant, self-promoting, loud and obnoxious. And he also is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.