Ravens, Cardinals fire coordinators

October 18th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Ravens, Cardinals fire coordinators


A tour of the top-10 NFL defenses reveals but three teams with losing records and includes a must-see stop at the unbeaten and second-ranked Chicago Bears, the land of Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and now Brian Urlacher.
Everyone knows defense wins championships.
Not so fast, say the Baltimore Ravens and the Arizona Cardinals, both of whom fired their respective second-year offensive coordinators on Tuesday.
Out are the Ravens' Jim Fassel, the former New York Giants head coach, and the Cardinals' Keith Rowen.
Said Baltimore head coach Brian Billick, "We have to have more offensive productivity."
From Arizona coach Dennis Green, "We are not scoring enough points."
Billick will take over the offensive chores, including play-calling, and the Cardinals turned to quarterbacks coach Mike Kruczek.
There are decidedly different circumstances behind the two changes.
The 4-2 Ravens are the league's third-ranked defensive team but also are 28th overall in total offense and are coming off their second consecutive loss.
Arizona is 1-5 and in the league's bottom tier in both categories: 25th in defense and 23rd in offense.
But the desire for both clubs is the same.
Particularly intriguing is Billick's decision, given Fassel is a good friend and Billick's offensively challenged but defensively dominant team won Super Bowl XXXV six years ago.
But the Ravens scored only one touchdown in a recent six-quarter stretch, and standout running back Jamal Lewis has wondered whether he's being underused.
The Ravens scored only 10 offensive touchdowns in their first six games and were held to 16 points or fewer three times. Even though Baltimore sits atop the AFC North, Billick felt a change in the team's offensive philosophy was imperative.
"Clearly, in order for us to expand on our 4-2 start, we have to have more offensive productivity," Billick said. "It was my opinion going forward, in order to bring about the level of production that we need offensively, to get where we want to go, that I needed to step back in on a day-to-day basis."
The Cardinals have been a bust on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Kurt Warner has been benched, and former Indianapolis Colts all-pro running back Edgerrin James hasn't been nearly as productive as Arizona had hoped.
Kruczek becomes Green's third offensive coordinator in the coach's 2 seasons in Arizona. Rowen took the job after Alex Wood was fired following the 2004 season.
"I don't hesitate to make changes. That's just who I am," Green said. "I like things to go a certain way, and if they don't, I normally do something about it."
Green said he was talking with Rowen about taking another position on the staff.
Kruczek also will remain as quarterbacks coach, a job he has held since Green arrived.
"I think his close working relationship with Matt Leinart will give us a better chance," Green said.
Contributing: Wire reports

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