Is there a quitter in John Harbaugh?

Lombardi's Way Is there a quitter in John Harbaugh?

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Expectations, now there’s a dangerous word.

Set them too high and disappointment is imminent.

Set them too low and you set the stage for underachievement.

Entering the 2010 season expectations soared for the Ravens offense and why not? The team brought in Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth to augment the dependable Derrick Mason. Just prior to the start of the season they added TJ Houshmandzadeh. Todd Heap proclaimed himself healthier than ever and judging from a productive camp, no one doubted him.

Ray Rice was coming off a stellar 2009 sophomore season and with the arsenal of receiving weapons most expected him to be even more dangerous because it was believed that defenses could not commit as many resources to stop him.

Then the Ravens added Jim Zorn, a new quarterback coach who they said could be more impactful having played the game at a high level and having coached many quarterbacks who all echoed his praises. Mix in the consultative contributions of an experienced offensive mind in the form Al Saunders and it all set up so well for the offensive trigger man, Joe Flacco.

With two years of starting experience and a severe leg contusion behind him, Flacco was expected to take a big step forward and show the world why the Ravens pegged him with the 18th pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

But it hasn’t worked out that way.

While supporters of Flacco will tell you that his passer rating improved by over 5% from 88.9 in ’09 to 93.6 in ’10, the offense produced over 8% fewer points on average. In fact, the team averaged more points during Flacco’s rookie season than it did in 2010 (24.1 v. 22.3) which can be explained by yet another fact that the Ravens’ red zone scoring percentage fell from last year’s mark of 51.56% to 49.02%.

Anquan Boldin has had 5 catches for 26 yards in TOTAL over the last 3 full games. Prior to becoming a Raven Boldin AVERAGED 6 catches for 79 yards per game over the course of his 7 non-Raven seasons!

It wasn’t supposed to work out like this.

If we are talking about a four game stretch of the season, that’s one thing. But this is an entire season of offensive ineptitude given the talent on the Ravens’ roster. This is a body of work and while no one really wants to take “credit” for it, the finger of blame points directly at Cam Cameron.

Can it be corrected in time to take a serious run at Dallas and Super Bowl XLV?

Well anything is possible but don’t count on it from Cameron unless there’s an intervention of some kind.

On the bright side for the Ravens, is that fact that there isn’t a team among the final 12 without flaws. Even the team that currently is a consensus No. 1 pick across the top of all the meaningless power rankings, the New England Patriots, isn’t without their own warts. They just do a better job of covering them than anyone else because they possess something that no Cam Cameron offense has ever had – a killer instinct.

But that said, let’s not forget that the Patriots have the 25th ranked overall defense and they are 30th against the pass. Before they allow you to take advantage of their shortcomings, they make the opposing offense one dimensional by going for kill shots early and often.

There’s something to be said for that Messrs. Harbaugh, Cameron and Mattison. But then again, you guys already are of the opinion that you are what you are and you just need to ride it out.

Look I’m not making this up. After yesterday’s win Harbaugh said, "We are who we are and we have to move forward with that.”

Am I the only one who thinks that is a cop out?

I can’t believe that the quintessential overachiever Steve Bisciotti, of all people, thinks this is acceptable.

Do you believe for even a nanosecond that Bill Belichick said or thought anything remotely similar to this after the Browns, the lowly stinking Browns pummeled his team in Cleveland 34-14?

“We are who we are”? Please!

Adjust! Work harder! Work smarter! Seek another opinion!

Do something!

Take off the gloves. Unlock the handcuffs that bind your quarterback. Your offensive coordinator said back in October that, "Audibling is overrated. It’s good to talk about and I could sit here and let you guys think that we do all of this audibling and how clever we are. It depends on the way teams are playing you.

“We could, if we choose to, audible with [Flacco] every down. But if it doesn’t fit who you’re playing, then why do it?"

Are you buying this garbage Coach Harbaugh! If so I have a really cool 8 Track System you might be interested in.

C’mon coach, think outside of that box. This thing is there for the taking provided you guys stop doing the same failing things over and over expecting different results.

And please stop pointing towards those 12 wins. You can’t keep expecting to give up 200 yards of offense more than your opponent and expect to be bailed out by 5 turnovers. Your 12 wins are a fraud! You nearly lost to a (4-12) team at home for crying out loud!

But…

You can fix this John. It isn’t too late. Demand more. Implore your assistants to give you the same 60 minutes per game that Ray Lewis asks of his teammates.

Maybe you could even learn something from the fans. Let your expectations rival theirs and be what you CAN be, not who you think you already are.
 
If not what you are, isn’t good enough and you will be home watching the Divisional Playoffs from your "uneasy" chair.

 

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts "The Fanimal" also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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