Bride…or bridesmaids in Owings Mills?

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The very tight-lipped Ravens front office search committee began their interviewing process Friday with an interrogation of Colts assistant head coach and QB coach Jim Caldwell.

I guess if you want to know about offense, starting with the guy who spends eight hours a day with Peyton Manning isn’t a bad place to start.

Today, they’ll hang with “F.O.T” — Friends of Tony — Romo, that is.

A pair of Dallas Cowboys assistants – offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and assistant head coach for their offensive line, Tony Sparano, are next up in Dallas as they prepare for their playoff game next weekend.

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Next week, Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski will take a turn and I’m hearing whispers about Philadelphia secondary coach John Harbaugh, brother of former Ravens QB and Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh. But just whispers…

Now that Bill Cowher, Josh McDaniels and Kirk Ferentz have essentially eliminated themselves from the search, I’d have to think that Steve Bisciotti might at least be having a momentary pause at just how popular the Ravens head coaching job is in coaching circles, especially when the general manager and head coach and entire football operations staff got overruled or fired on New Year’s Eve.

Hey it IS an NFL head coaching job, so why are so many people running away from it?

Believe it or not, for all we love the Ravens here in Baltimore, this is NOT a very coveted job right now.

Rex Ryan might wind up being the best choice, just because he’s enthusiastic about it and knows how to the push the buttons of the most highly-paid guys on the team. He probably gives them the best chance to win, if it’s all about motivating the stars on the defense over the next 16 games.

But I’m sure at this point, Bisciotti wants to quell all rumors that the inmates are running the asylum. If Ryan gets the job, it would have been more of a coup d’etat than a coaching change, really.

The clubhouse reputation is one of turmoil, and NOT brought on by Billick but more by the current personalities on the roster and the aging stars and big contracts.

Think a young coach wants to come in to tame Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Chris McAlister? Think a first-time coach wants to come to a place with no QB, no left tackle and a young offensive line? A bad cap situation? A lynch-mob fan base with unrealistic expectations? Not to mention an owner who promised his nine-year, Super Bowl-winning coach — face to face — for two months that he’d be staying only to eshew his football people’s views on an impetuous whim and laid down the axe in a fashion that Mr. Fugi would have blessed?

Again, I’ve always liked Steve Bisciotti, personally.

But I’m reporting the truth.

Some coaches, like McDaniels, who will have plenty of chances to become a head coach, are simply “passing” on the Baltimore job.

I’ve called around, and I know scouts and coaches in a dozen organizations around the league.

The word is out — you might want to skip Baltimore this go ’round. “Things aren’t good there,” one scout said to me. “Everybody knows what happened there with Ozzie. And even people who don’t like Brian didn’t think the way it happened was particularly attractive. And now the guys who were cut OUT of the decision to fire Brian are IN on the decision as to who will replace him. It’s just strange!”

Every person I spoke with said that taking a head coaching job is about more than just accepting the first offer. The coaches who have strategized their way up the coaching ranks don’t want their first head coaching job to be their ONLY chance, especially if they don’t feel like they’ll have the personnel and support from ownership to win.

No one wants to be where Mike Nolan is right now. Or where Jim Haslett wound up in New Orleans. Or, God forbid you’re Cam Cameron or Bobby Petrino!

You wait your whole life to get one shot, but you’re in too deep right away with not enough guns to do battle. And you fail. And you fail MISERABLY. And you never get your name called again after waiting years and working 80-hour weeks to get your chance.

Taking a head coaching job, moving a family, taking a chance is something these guys and their agents take VERY seriously. And they want to KNOW they’re gonna win, not wonder IF they can win.

I sincerely hope Steve Bisciotti was thinking about that on Sunday morning when he was privately plotting the Billick massacre.

I really hope we get a great coach for the Ravens — one who leads us to the playoffs year after year — but the early signs are that the potential “prospects” won’t provide the kind of initial excitement that the fan base here might want or expect…or demand!

At least as far as “big” names.

As long as the results are there in the coming years, it doesn’t matter how the job search goes or the current reputation or last name of the next head coach.

Like you and I, Steve Bisciotti just wants to win.

When the best candidates “withdraw” from consideration, it might tell you something.

So far, the fiasco from Monday morning has already had a significant fallout around the league.





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