Sulivan picks Dolphins over Ravens' receivers post

OWINGS MILLS – Former Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Jerry Sullivan opted to join his hometown Miami Dolphins as receivers coach instead of the Baltimore Ravens. Sullivan's agent, Danny More, said his client was tempted by the prospect of joining Brian Billick's coaching staff after interviewing in Baltimore last Friday. Ultimately, though, Sullivan chose the Dolphins. Billick was informed of the decision Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Billick said he had a couple of coaches in mind as possible additions in a hiring process he described as "fluid."

Former Cardinals linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald interviewed in Baltimore last Friday.

The Ravens already have two linebacker coaches in Mike Singletary and Phil Zacharias, so how the defensive staff would be realigned if FitzGerald is hired remains unclear.

FitzGerald's background includes time as a quality control coach in Arizona. He worked with special teams and the secondary during stints with the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If a receivers coach was added to the AFC North champions, Billick said it would allow him to isolate preparation time for quarterbacks and receivers coach David Shaw and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh.

Under that setup, Shaw would coach the quarterbacks rather than split the duties as he currently does with Cavanaugh. And Cavanaugh, who oversaw the top-ranked rushing game behind Pro Bowl running back Jamal Lewis along with the last-ranked passing game, would concentrate more on the overall direction of an offense that ranked 21st in the league.

"If we add coaches, I'm doing so only to augment what we already have," Billick said. "If I can't get the right guys, then I'll stay with the status quo. I'm not looking to change just for change's sake."

Looking at coaches outside the organization could also be a proactive move in case Baltimore loses coaches to other teams. Secondary coach Donnie Henderson remains a candidate for the New York Jets' defensive coordinator job along with Titans linebackers coach Gunther Cunningham and former Giants defensive coordinator Johnnie Lynn. Cunningham is being pursued by the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs, too.

"Donnie had an excellent interview," said Billick, who added that he has candidates in mind in case Henderson leaves in addition to assistant secondary coach Dennis Thurman. "I talked to Herm Edwards and he did a very good job. It would be great if that happens for Donnie and we're hoping that happens for him. "Obviously, if it doesn't we would be thrilled to have a guy of his caliber still on the staff."

Meanwhile, the Ravens are set to have personnel meetings today and Friday to rate their players' strengths and weaknesses.

The list of Ravens set to become unrestricted free agents includes quarterback Anthony Wright, kicker Matt Stover, cornerback Chris McAlister, center Mike Flynn, linebacker Adalius Thomas, defensive end Marques Douglas and receiver Marcus Robinson.

One potentially thorny issue for Baltimore is determining how to approach its quarterback position. Rookie Kyle Boller declared himself next season's starter one day after the Ravens' 20-17 playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The Ravens were 5-4 in games Boller started. Wright went 5-2 as a starter after Boller tore his quadriceps.

"We'll bring some definition to that," Billick said. "Because Anthony is a free agent, we need to communicate to Anthony what our intentions are. "That's part of what this personnel review is about. Next season has actually begun right now."

Boller was drafted with the 19th overall pick of the first round last year after Baltimore traded this year's first-round pick and last year's second-round pick to the New England Patriots. He signed a five-year, $ 8 million contract last summer.

"We have one quarterback under contract," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "When we play our first game, we'll have two more. We would like for Anthony Wright to be one of the other two."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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