NFL Cavanaugh: Grbac is good fit
The Ravens' offensive coordinator from Chaney said nothing compares with the national championship he won in 1976.
By PHIL NOVAK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
POLAND -- Football season is just around the corner and that means it's time for Youngstown-native Matt Cavanaugh to go back to work.
The offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Baltimore Ravens can enjoy the team's Super Bowl victory in January for a little while longer, as the Ravens will get their rings on June 9.
But with a quarterback, Elvis Grbac, and the knowledge that everyone's hunting for the defending champs, Cavanaugh has his work cut out for him. However, he is confident that Grbac can lead the team back to the big game.
"I think he's going to fit in exceptionally well," Cavanaugh said. "Whenever somebody new steps in, especially at a big position like quarterback, you hope that the team will rally around him, and they have. He has everything we were looking for in a quarterback, so we're expecting big things from him."
Visited here: Cavanaugh, a Chaney High graduate, was in town last weekend to visit his mother and participate in a golf outing for Shepherd of the Valley, a retirement home. He talked about the decision not to bring back Trent Dilfer.
"It was a tough decision," he said. "He had a very successful won-loss record. We won eleven in a row, and he played very smart. But we felt we needed to score some more points, and we thought Elvis would give us the best chance to do that."
With the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Central along with the Ravens, Cavanaugh said competition for another championship begins right in their division.
"Tennessee is obviously going to be there," he said. "Jacksonville has been through so many changes, I think we're going to see early on where they're at, probably by week six or seven. But I also look at Pittsburgh to be improved, I think Cleveland is still a few years away, and we'll have to see with Cincinnati.
"Outside our division, I don't know. Who would have picked the Ravens and the Giants in the Super Bowl last year? Not many people."
Eyes fourth: Cavanaugh is seeking his fourth Super Bowl ring this season, after winning one last year with the Ravens and two as a back-up quarterback with San Francisco in 1984 and the Giants in 1991. He said that last year's championship was probably the most gratifying.
"The two that I won as a player, I was a back-up and didn't get in the game," he said. "Now I felt like I had much more of an impact as a coach then as a back-up player. With the impact you have as a coach and a play caller, it's very rewarding to see a championship come out of it."
But Cavanaugh said nothing beats the national championship he won in 1976 with the University of Pittsburgh, when he was MVP of the Sugar Bowl.
"I don't think anything will compare to that," he said. "I was at such an impressionable age, I think I was 19 or 20. At that age to have a championship and know you were the best in the country, it was unbelievable.
"And then to be back in school the next year and come back and enjoy it, it was just fantastic."
So why doesn't he have a bunch of big rings on his hands?
"Quite honestly, some of them get to be so big that it just feels like your fingers are spread apart," he said. "Every once in a while I'll put them on.
"Maybe I'll wear the Ravens one for a little bit."