Ravens launch coaching search

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens' fax machine began whirring into action Wednesday as the team formally requested permission to speak to four assistant coaches from NFL playoffs teams regarding their head coaching vacancy.

The Ravens plan to interview Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and Cowboys assistant head coach and offensive line coach Tony Sparano, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell this week.

The Ravens fired coach Brian Billick and his entire staff Monday.

The Cowboys, Patriots and Colts all declined to confirm or deny receiving requests to interview the assistants.

Coaches on playoff teams can only be interviewed during this bye week that ends Saturday, according to league rules. Because of the limited time period, the Ravens are expected to conduct their interviews on the road away from the team's training complex.

It's undetermined who would represent the Ravens in those meetings, but it's likely to include general manager Ozzie Newsome, who's heading the search for team owner Steve Bisciotti.

Baltimore is still expected to pursue former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, but no meeting has been set up. Cowher's McLean, Va. based agent, Phil de Picciotto, didn't return telephone calls seeking comment.

Garrett has been dubbed the frontrunner by some outlets, but this is expected to be an open, exhaustive search. Lauded for the development of quarterback Tony Romo and leading a productive offense headlined by wide receiver Terrell Owens and running back Marion Barber, Garrett's star is rising fast in coaching circles.

Garrett and Sparano are scheduled to meet with the Atlanta Falcons about their opening Friday in the wake of Bobby Petrino abruptly quitting during the season.

Sparano is in charge of Dallas' offensive line and is the running game coordinator. He held play-calling duties in 2006 under former coach Bill Parcells, but that responsibility was turned over to Garrett this season when Wade Phillips took over for Parcells.

Caldwell has coached Peyton Manning for the past six years and had a successful prior stint as the Wake Forest head coach that included an Aloha Bowl victory over Arizona State.

McDaniels, 31, would be the NFL's youngest head coach ever. He calls the plays for an undefeated Patriots offense that featured quarterback Tom Brady and wide receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker as they broke the NFL single-season scoring record once held by a Minnesota Vikings offense coordinated by Billick.

New England scored 589 points as Brady (50 touchdown passes) and Moss (23 touchdown catches) broke single-season marks previously held by Peyton Manning and Jerry Rice.

The Ravens also plan to interview defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and are expected to contact San Francisco 49ers assistant head coach Mike Singletary at some point.

NOTES: Ravens safety Gerome Sapp filed second-degree assault charges Wednesday against former Ravens long snapper Joe Maese following an altercation at Power Plant Live last week that led to Maese pressing identical misdemeanor charges first against his former teammate.

Maese faces a Feb. 13 court date in Baltimore City District Court, and Sapp was assigned a Feb. 8 court date in the same venue. Sapp is an unrestricted free agent who ended the season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Maese was cut by the Ravens prior to the 2005 season and played for the now-defunct Baltimore Blackbirds last year before leaving the team midway through the season after a dispute with the team's front office.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

Ravens Insider Top Stories