Does Ravens OC search hint at path for Geno Smith, future of Seahawks QB?
Dave Canales could be an interesting turning point: Seaside Joe 1429
The Baltimore Ravens promoted Greg Roman from assistant head coach/tight ends to offensive coordinator in 2019 because they wanted him to develop Lamar Jackson into an MVP quarterback (mission accomplished) and to keep him from leaving for other offers, such as from new Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. Roman suffered the same fate as many other offensive and defensive coordinators, which is that if you don’t land a head coaching job at your peak then you’re liable to be fired before you reach your fourth or fifth season in the role.
Roman made it through four seasons as the Ravens offensive coordinator, but neither Jackson nor his backups (who got 12 appearances since 2020) were particularly dangerous passers over the past three years and Baltimore recently opted to go in another direction. That change of course could lead directly to the Pete Carroll pipeline.
The Ravens have now spoken to Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales not once, but twice about their vacancy at offensive coordinator, indicating that head coach John Harbaugh is very serious about an assistant who has never held the job at the NFL level.
It is not unfair to think that Harbaugh wants Baltimore’s next offensive coordinator to revive the Lamar Jackson who we saw play in 2019 (NFL-best 36 touchdown passes, 33.2 points per game, and the Ravens were first in rushing yards/yards per carry per game) but the head coach and general manager Eric DeCosta are also well aware of the fact that they can’t guarantee their OC hire is for Lamar; Baltimore thought that they would have a long-term contract in place for Lamar Jackson a year ago and as Harbaugh has put it, “He goes to the beat of his own drum.”
Harbaugh also has said that he is “200-percent confident” that Jackson will be on the Ravens next season, but overall I’d say comments by him and DeCosta sound just as confident as the quotes by Pete Carroll and John Schneider about Frank Clark in 2019. Everyone has a plan until they get
punched in the mouth offered three first round picks and an easy out from a $250 million contract.
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As I wrote in Tuesday’s bonus article, I am leaning against Lamar Jackson returning to the Ravens. His situation doesn’t feel too dissimilar to me than that of Russell Wilson a year ago, in that he’s a star quarterback who sort of fell backwards into a franchise that isn’t necessarily as jazzed about the position as some others who are always willing to overpay for it. The Ravens were burned hard by the Joe Flacco extension after winning the Super Bowl in 2012-13 and they didn’t panic during negotiations last year even after Joe Burrow went to the Super Bowl and the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson.
My projection in that in-depth article by an incredibly talented writer: The Atlanta Falcons. A franchise owner desperate for a star quarterback with the right coaching and offensive pieces in place and Arthur Blank would surely think more highly of Lamar Jackson than anyone he could draft with the eighth overall pick. And plenty of cap space.
After trading their second round pick for Roquan Smith and extending him, it seems much more like Baltimore to acquire draft picks and to acquire an offensive coordinator who could get more out of 2021 first round pick Rashod Bateman and any other receiver who the Ravens acquire. Remember, Marquise Brown forced his way out of Baltimore because he trusted Kyler Murray to get him the ball moreso than Lamar Jackson.
Getting a second interview with Harbaugh is notable for Canales, making him one of the finalists out of at least 10 known first-wave candidates, including Bills highly-respected receivers coach Chad Hall, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken, Rams pass game coordinator Zac Robinson, and several others. All of them are passing coaches. None of them are offensive line or run game gurus.
If Canales gets the job, it could be that Harbaugh was blown away by his knowledge of offenses and is impressed to learn that he had more to do with Geno Smith’s 2022 season than the surface-level information would suggest. All we really know is that Canales was the quarterbacks coach in 2022. He was the pass game coordinator in 2020-2021, including the “Let Russ Cook” mini-era, but by all accounts that wasn’t Pete’s favorite time to be the Seahawks coach.
Interestingly, it seems like Canales, Hall, Chad O’Shea, Justin Outten, Brian Angelichio, and internal candidate George Godsey all have extensive experience working with wide receivers and tight ends. The Ravens have Mark Andrews, one of the best tight ends in the NFL, and I think there’s a lot of disappointment in Baltimore with how their stabs at the receiver position have turned out in the Lamar era.
It’s safe to assume that Harbaugh wants that to change in 2023.
So if the team does hire Dave Canales and does trade Lamar Jackson, what does that say about the Ravens and Seahawks respective futures at quarterback?
Well, you already know where I’m going on Baltimore’s end: Canales became the quarterbacks coach in 2018 after spending eight seasons as Carroll’s wide receivers coach, then Seattle signed Geno Smith in 2019. Canales should know Geno Smith as well as anybody. Geno should like Canales as much as any coach. In Tuesday’s bonus article (brilliant stuff), I concluded that for now, I see no strong connections for Geno Smith anywhere else in the league.
The Ravens hiring Canales would change that by about 4,000 yards.
If Baltimore trades Lamar Jackson, Geno going to the AFC and serving as an interim quarterback while they wait for whoever the Ravens draft would be a connection that’s instantly made.
There’s also the Seahawks side of it and what losing Dave Canales could mean for Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s thoughts on quarterback. It may not be up to them to keep Canales from leaving if he gets the offer, but keep in mind that Canales has only ever coached veteran quarterbacks. He coached Wilson when he was well established, he coached Geno after he had spent many years in the league already. He doesn’t have a track record for developing a quarterback from the ground up.
If the Seahawks are ready to part with Canales, it could suggest that the Seahawks are looking for a quarterbacks coach who does have a track record for developing rookie quarterbacks of note.
Carl Smith, the current associate head coach, was Russell Wilson’s quarterbacks coach from 2012-2017.
Canales could be a great candidate to develop a rookie franchise quarterback. It’s just that he does not have a track record for it. The possibility that Seattle will need to hire a new quarterbacks coach in 2023, all I can say is that it doesn’t happen very often and the timing is interesting.
Or the Ravens will hire Chad Hall.
Cool angle, KenJoe! How could Geno’s market accelerate?
Re: reclamation projects:
My Superb-Owl interest PLUNGED when Ossai extended his arm, drawing the flag which changed a 55 y attempt to a 45 y gimme … after all the other barf-worthy officiating. I hate seeing underdogs lose their moments.
Trained by Sensei KenJoe, I immediately thought, “…does Ossai need a one year ‘prove it’ with Pete to re-start his career? Would Bostic still be a TE in the NFL if he’d come to Seattle to heal?” The Fail Mary ref restarted his career, post-scab, post-controversy, as Ump at Richard Sherman’s softball game. I love 2nd chances!
Hey Joe, Previously your hypothetical had Carr connected to Saints and Moons not interested in Geno due to price. I envision a scenario where both may see Geno as option 1 or 2. Most current GMs play the salary cap and contracts with more window dressing than PCJS. I imagine a 4 year $160M contract that in truth is a 2 year $50-60M guarantee that is a <$20M cap hit in 2023 and the rest configured for max restructure and voidable years. Geno is a iron horse compared to most Moons n Saints recent QBs. Flip 2022 Geno for 2022 QB play in either place and Moons/Saints would be in the playoffs and maybe even get a win or 2. Would Geno have some comfort in DC given his WV ties?