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Humbling Harbaugh

Lombardi's Way Humbling Harbaugh

Posted in Lombardi's Way
80+ Comments Rick S says I am very relieved now that Kubiak is our OC. I was totally freaking out before this rabbit got pulled out of the hat. Thank you Steve B.

Ed. Note: The opinion expressed below was later recanted. Please CLICK HERE for the subsequent apology and for more information. 

Just like it wasn’t John Harbaugh’s choice to part ways with former Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in 2012, it wasn’t his choice to hire Gary Kubiak to replace Jim Caldwell in 2014.

Harbaugh is fiercely loyal. He genuinely believes in the abilities of his staff individually and collectively and has an unwavering faith in their potential to persevere and work through problems.

Harbaugh’s choice was Jim Hostler. Word is that he made Ozzie Newsome and Steve Bisciotti aware of his intentions to promote the wide receivers coach and it got the “Not-in-my House” Dikembe Mutombo treatment.

Predictably Harbaugh has denied that the decision to hire Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison was anyone else’s choice but his. But even casual observers of the team know otherwise.

Earlier today Albert Breer offered this up on Twitter

Interesting, right?

Wonder if the inquiry about Callahan’s availability (he’s now the Cowboys OC and O-Line Coach) was for the Ravens offensive coordinator position or offensive line coach?

Scott Linehan is rumored to be destined for Dallas to be their play caller. Isn’t that what an offensive coordinator does? Seems a bit like bringing in a new coach and calling him the “Run Game Coordinator” when an offensive line coach is already in place.

You have to wonder who within the Ravens made the inquiry. If Callahan was targeted as an offensive line coach, you know the inquiry wasn’t Harbaugh’s. He made no bones about it during the State of the Ravens presser that Juan Castillo would be back to handle the offensive line.

Could Castillo suddenly become homesick and head back to Texas with his $1M+ contract in tow?

But back to yesterday’s hirings…

It goes completely against the grain for Harbaugh to make a move to get a guy like Kubiak who apparently has significant influence over the assistants on his offensive staff. Dennison comes along with him as QB coach – who by the way has experience coaching the offensive line, and then the very capable TE coach Wade Harman is replaced after 15 seasons by another from the Kubiak Texans’ staff, Brian Pariani.

More changes could be coming.

This kind of staff shake-up is very un-Harbaugh-like.

The deflated Hostler is probably next to go. It’s just simple human nature to want out after a desirable job is snatched away and then be asked to follow orders from a guy who was the beneficiary of the snatching.

As for Juan Castillo, Ozzie and Bisciotti almost had to allow him to stay. If Castillo was shown the door there is no conscionable way that Harbaugh could sit in front of that auditorium without a completely ashen face and not looking like a kid who just moved across the country leaving all his buddies behind.

Even worse, cutting Castillo loose would have put a serious dent in Harbaugh’s authority rendering him lame duck-like.

When all is said and done, none of this will really matter if these men can work together and develop a formidable offense led by Joe Flacco.

Yesterday was a very good day for the Ravens.

And it only cost them an order of humble pie for their head coach.

Thanks for taking one for the team Harbs!

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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. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin to being John Bonham. Follow Tony on Twitter @RussellStReport. More from Tony Lombardi
78 comments
Rick S
Rick S

I am very relieved now that Kubiak is our OC. I was totally freaking out before this rabbit got pulled out of the hat. Thank you Steve B.

John Humbled
John Humbled

Tony, Can you explain why you believe Harbaugh would need to be “humbled”? Part of the issue with the way this has been reported (by you and others like Preston) is the suggestion that the Organization believed it was necessary to essentially put Harbaugh in his place. Aside from the fact that much of the reporting on this issue seems to be speculation supported only by the proverbial “inside source”, what rubs fans the wrong way about this reporting is the notion that somehow the Organization was out to teach Harbaugh a lesson. Such reasoning completely ignores what everyone has seen firsthand with regard to how the Organization and coach Harbaugh operate. Sure the Organization and coach may have “worts”[sic], but this isn’t the dysfunctional Dallas Cowboys we are talking about. You point out that you have more access than the everyday fan. However, can you actually elaborate beyond indicating that you heard from some “inside source” or that “word is” that your version of events is accurate? Although fans may not have the access you do, it seems a bit unreasonable to believe that the Organization would cut the legs from under a coach who has done nothing but put a winning product on the field year in and year out and has brought the city a championship. With the exception of the 2013 season, from the Organization standpoint, Harbaugh has done nothing but delivered. So that begs the question of why the Organization would at this point want to “humble” Harbaugh.

B.S.
B.S.

A new all-time low for you, Tony. It's taken you a few years to gently slide away from the guy trying to be respected (the old Tony) to the guy trying to draw attention to himself (the new Tony). It's sad to see what you've done to your reputation and the site's reputation, but as you remind everyone often, it's your baby, so do with it what you may. This, though, is your darkest moment.

Teresa
Teresa

While I agree with part of what you're saying, I can't agree with all of it. I have noticed that all of the players on the team who participated in the locker room mutiny were released or traded, I still believe S.B. has total faith in HARBS. I don't think S.B. is the type of man to waste a bunch of time "humbling" someone. He would either put him on notice and say "my way or no way" or he would let HARBS keep running the team. While I believe you are correct in saying HARBS is fiercely loyal, that loyalty also extends to our TEAM. His loyalty would be to the team first. He had to recognize that the system in place wasn't working and needed to be changed. I'm sure HARBS wanted changes too and this was a joint decision. We have one of the better organizations & franchises for unity at the top. Don't sensationalize for stories, it will hurt us all in the end

Wojo
Wojo

Great article and well said. I am interested in seeing how the ego maniac is going to do next year, having Kubiak in a position like that and yet not a minion from Harbaugh's past nor a Yes man, which he definitely prefers.

Voice of Reason
Voice of Reason

I am just astonished at the negativity towards Mike Preston and Tony Lombardi for their insightful articles on the hiring of Gary Kubiak. I have a great respect for Kevin Burne, but he is a professional PR man and his job is to clean up the mess that was created in the process and timeline of this hiring. Kevin's job is to keep the perception that everything is rosy over at the castle. The truth of the matter is that the owner and general manager did not want Hostler as the OC. You don't effect change by keeping the same personnel. The Kubiak hiring occurred very quickly and John Harbaugh was overruled. Steve B. did not want a hiring that would set the franchise back 3-5 years. In turn, Harbaugh did not want to hand over the keys to the offense lock, stock and barrel. With Kubiak, that is exactly what has happened and Harbaugh can go back to being a figure head coach like he was under Rex Ryan and Cam Cameron. Another dirty secret is that as time goes on, Steve B. is becoming more involved in the most critical decisions involving the club. This was not the case when he first took over complete ownership 10 years ago. This is not a criticism, just an observation. I am grateful that he did. He saved Harbaugh from himself, just like Preston stated.

BmoreB
BmoreB

@Tony Lombardi.... What's your rebuttal to Kevin Byrne's piece ?

FL Raven
FL Raven

So many posts in such a short time. This is what happens when you miss the playoffs, the weather is terrible and baseball hasn't started yet. That said, nothing like the head coach to get everyone so riled up. First it was Billick, now Harbs. I'm not for or against Harbs, I'm just for the Ravens winning no matter what it takes. Any chagne brings hope when you had a bad season and for the Ravens, 8-8 is a bad season. I will admit that this story seems more like something a certain person at the Sun, no names mentioned (none needed) would write. I will say one thing, Kubiak and Castilla are both zone blocking proponents so its no longer what scheme we will have but how we are able to succeed with it. The question now is what we do with the OL personnel we have that are not exactly a great fit for that blocking scheme, i.e. our two starting guards that are not going anywhere anytime soon.

BmoreB
BmoreB

@Tony Lombardi....... So what's your rebuttal to Kevin Byrne's piece as I'm sure you've read it by now ? Quite curious given your opinion(s) above.

Mark
Mark

First of all, it seems to me that Harbs had already acknowledged to himself that a re-make of the offense was necessary. Going ZBS was a big, but not the only, part of the re-make. I have confidence that Kubiak is the right guy to implement the makeover and having Dennison and others familiar with him are necessary to get the transition done as smoothly as possible. Bottom line, this was a great hire and should reap dividends in 2014. Tony and I disagree on how the Ravens got to make this excellent hire. Do I think Kevin Byrne's column is basically accurate? Yes, because I think Bisciotti was willing to let Harbaugh sink or swim with the OC decision knowing he would be accountable if it didnt work in 2014 ("repeat failure"). I think it was a combination of dumb luck, fate and perfect timing, but not Bisciotti, that brought Kubiak to Baltimore at the and that Harbs knows he finally had the right guy for the job especially because he can bring some of his guys with him. I also think Byrne's column rings true because it mentions of the Callahan overtures and the fact that Lombardi was interviewed It also seems to reflect that when Harbs was down to Hostler v. Shanahan, he wasn't really sold on betting his job on either one of them and continued the search. My sense is Harbs is thrilled to have Kubiak & Friends running the offense (rather than Hostler or Shanahan) and so am I.

BorrowedMan
BorrowedMan

Tony- I respect anyone that can stick to their guns and not allow others to somehow influence and change their opinions...that being said, your articles have just become painful to read because so much is just based on assumptions. I know, I know you supposedly have more access than the average fan and are privileged to more info than most fans yadda yadda yadda...at the end of the day your articles are just based on assumptions and mind reading. That to me is boring as all get out to read. Furthermore, the arrogance you display when replying to anyone who may have a different opinion than yours just makes people want to ignore your pieces and many times this site in general. So as you will likely point out, I don't have to ready your pieces or visit this site...so I won't. Good luck with the snark. Go Ravens

Silver Raven
Silver Raven

Tony (aka a thinner Mike Preston) seems bent on running John Harbaugh out of town. I guess so we can be like Cleveland, changing coaches every year. Like anyone at a successful company, John confers with his bosses and listens to their input. And while Hostler wouldn't have been a popular choice with the fans, he would have been with the players and many in the front office...well according to my sources which are about as credible as Tony's :).

Rick
Rick

Thanks Mike Preston another one of your insightful opinion pieces.

Thomas
Thomas

Tony, I fully recognize the Byrne article is damage control by the Ravens PR department but his account of the process provides a credible explanation to how Kubiak came into the picture and is consistent with how the Ravens normally operate. If Hostler really was Harbaugh's choice all along then why go through the process of screening and interviewing so many people? Why not just promote Hostler like they did with Pagano and Pees?

Shawn
Shawn

Great... another Preston-esque article from Tony L. filled with conjecture, theory, rumor; definitively stated as fact. Like Preston ((who isn't well regaurded by the org) you have "sources". You obviously know Biscotti extremely well from meeting him a couple of hours at Ravens events... Right... There's not even a single quote used to back up your theory \opinion. Whats sad is people will read your article, see the declarative statements, and accept them as inherently true, based on your authority. Unless they scroll through the to find your comments stating it's "just your opinion". They will proceed as if your statements are verified and accurately established facts - and they are not. Some of the most respected people on your boards are calling you out, and seeing this for what it is. A desperate attempt to generate clicks. Again very Preston-esque. No thinks that everything is rainbows and sunshine at castle. However instead of writing an article detailing what the Kubiak hiring means for the offense, you'd rather resort to TMZ style drama that paint the Ravens organization and specifically the HC in a bad light. Thank god this and none of your nonsense ever reaches a national level.

Nick B.
Nick B.

I echo the disappointment of others in the Preston-like negative spin happening here lately. Fortunately some other RSR writers are solid. Even Preston opened his terrible piece by suggesting, clearly showing he had no proof. Embarrassing for fans who have real connections inside the castle and have to see trash like this. My connection probably won't be back with the team next year and I'll be stuck only having "media" reports. Awesome.

Brian Adams
Brian Adams

I have an inside source that tells me Tony's inside source is Mike Preston.

chris
chris

So What You're Saying IsThat Harbaugh Deserves No Blame if The Offense Craps The bed Next Year?

RJ
RJ

In order for the organization to help Harbs save face, does this mean that we will be stuck with Mr. Conservative as DC next year? Just asking, because we all know that Dean is one of Harbs boys also. I suspect we will be stuck with another 'passive' defense next year.

Sharon
Sharon

I don't agree with a word of this, but to each his/her own. I have heard narrative of both sides of the argument and have formed my own opinion. Anyway, when we are all finished playing Harbaugh denigration game, maybe we can talk about how you think Kubiak will fit in, how he will work with Joe et al, and how this may change our drafting process and other important topics. I enjoy reading your articles Tony and though I find this one very disappointing I still believe you are one of the better writers who covers the Ravens. Looking forward to future articles.

John
John

Hey Tony, I agree with you, but you might want to talk to Kevin Byrne, he says this is all malarkey.

East Endzone
East Endzone

Sad day, but I'm saying goodbye to your site Tony. You have chosen the path of the gossip columnist. I'm sure there is a big demand for this kind of vile nonsense, but not with me.

Ravens fans
Ravens fans

Don't deserve a coach instead John Harbaugh. Hopefully "savior" Kubiak gets promoted to HC and the Ravens suck for a decade.

Brian Adams
Brian Adams

Well, the Ravens definitely disagree with you ab out how this went down. This may be pr twisting of the facts, but I would still take their word above Preston/Lombardi conspiracy theories.

richieG
richieG

TL, Excellent O-pining and reporting! A N D, now: the $64,000 (that dates me, eh?) question...could there be a new DC, one who likes to blitz from all angles, in the future??? Cheers.

ed
ed

Tony....a.k.a Mike Preston?

Nick
Nick

I would have preferred Shanahan because Kubiak's Houston teams seemed to run up the score against bad Defenses and completely shut down against good, prepared ones. Oh well, I do like the hire for the reasons stated in the article, which would not have been the case if Kyle Shanahan came in.

Lisa
Lisa

If this decision (and the decision regarding Cam) didn't involve Harbs that undermines his authority as a head coach and makes him little better than a figurehead. Despite this reporting I still think that this was a joint decision- nobody got exactly who they wanted.

Jon Fazzone
Jon Fazzone

Hate to agree with U Tony but this is on Point...The Owner said this season wont happen again and this Move says The Owner means it...I still Think the Great and Powerful Oz made several Moves Too Many and several BAD Moves that Contributed to an 8-8 season...Including a Draft that provided NO HELP this Year...Yes MElam started but Contributed almost Nothing...Yes HARBS is Hard to Like sometimes, but Sometimes You Have to Pay Attention to the Guy Behind the Curtain...At Least Harbs takes it like a Man at The Podium Daily...Ozzie its time to stop Hiding behind the Curtain and Be the Great and Powerful Oz again...Another Poor Off-Season will do Way More Harm to The franchise than Harbs could do...Yes if Ozzie has another BAD OffSeason Harbs will be Gone..But the Talent on the Team will have Declined 2 OffSeasons in a Row..Do we want Harbs Gone That Bad That we would Sacrafice another Bad Year to MOVE FORWARD !!!

Steve
Steve

Tony, Any details regarding the length of Kubiak's contract ? A one and done season may be detrimental for the long term, though I love the decision to bring him in. With our needs at O-line and WR and the possibility of draft picks filling roles immediately, it may take 2 seasons to get this offense humming on all cylinders.

joe d
joe d

Thank God the brain trust at the castle saved Harbaugh from himself by not allowing him to promote Hostler, just like they did last year when ordering him to fire Cam and telling him to reinsert McKinney into the starting offensive line group. John's arrogant and condescending attitude with the press and hence the public has really gotten old. If he thinks anyone believes his B.S. about purposely misleading the press and that Kubiek was always in the mix he's crazy. Tony, I don't know how you keep from getting in shouting matches with him on a regular basis. One early prediction. Eric Winston is a free agent in another 6 weeks. He was with Kubiek in Houston and raved about what a great hire it was for the Ravens. Look for Winston to be the starting right tackle replacing Oher this year.

Brad
Brad

Hey Tony, Harbs had Kubiak over for dinner the the night before the announcement was made. Harbs had talked to him for a few days. Doesn't sound like the FO forced it on Harbs at all. Harbs also said that all of the rumors about who we would hire were fictitious. It doesn't take half a brain to figure out that means that the Hostler promotion was utterly false. Did you even watch the presser? For what it's worth, Bisciotti said in an interview with Nestor from WNST that Harbs also made the decision to fire Cam. To echo what a few others said, get your facts straight.

Tony Lombardi
Tony Lombardi

It's not that simple John Humbled. If it was only black and white I'd take the time. But it's not. I will say that since we published this piece yesterday afternoon it has captured the attention of many. Someone within the Ravens organization reached out to me today regarding this piece and I'll elaborate on that conversation tomorrow only this time it's someone else's turn to sit down for a slice of humble pie.

Tony Lombardi
Tony Lombardi

I remind everyone often that "It's my baby"? Where? When? And how do you know anything about me? Wow, this thing has taken on a creepy twist. GO RAVENS!

Nancy
Nancy

Sharon I concur. This is not the first time I have not liked what Tony has written, but he certainly has written it well! Check out what Tony said to East Endzone, it is this that will keep me coming back.

Tony Lombardi
Tony Lombardi

Kevin is a good man and does his job extremely well. That's why he and his staff are consistent award winners.

Tony Lombardi
Tony Lombardi

Sorry to see you go EE. I could understand you seeing this as gossip being the diehard fan you are. Perhaps you don't want to see the worts of the organization. They all have them. We all have them. It's how you choose to deal with them that changes what we see. I'm fortunate to be a fan with access to people and information. Some things I can quote. Some things I can distill and allow it to shape my opinions. Some things I can't repeat. But in the end, like it or not my opinions are more on point than most folks reading these "gossip columns" and/or those posting comments. It's not because I'm smarter or more eloquent. It's because of that access. That's why we're here. It's why you've been here. It's why we've been successful and it's why we will continue to be. I'm blessed to have several colleagues who share my vision...to provide Ravens coverage from the perspective of a fan. That's exactly what we are...fans, but we're invested...livelihoods are at stake. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing and that is for the Ravens to be the most successful team in the NFL. I won't apologize if my informed opinion differs from yours or differs from what you want the truth to be. I'll respect your opinion and I appreciate the time you spend here. But it's ok for us to disagree. I look at each of our opinions as their own GPS systems. Maybe the roads traveled vary, just like the opinions about the Ravens. But our intended destination is the same -- success for the Baltimore Ravens. Should you choose to stay or one day return I can promise you this...THAT will NEVER change. My best to you and yours...

Nancy
Nancy

Tony's writing skills are far and above Preston!

Steve
Steve

Find it odd that Castillo was named Offensive Line Coach prior to the naming of an OC. Would seem that move would be consistent with the intention of hiring an OC from within. Also, Harbs has rid the team of most outspoken players and anyone who would question his authority. Hiring Kubiak seems to run counter to his prior moves. I have no inside info or knowledge of closed door meetings, but it certainly appears that Harbaugh was "guided" in this decision. Bisciotti's statement at the State of the Ravens presser keeps coming back to me. To paraphrase " I have to allow mistakes to be made, but I don't have to stand by and watch the same mistakes repeated". It certainly appears that Ozzie and Steve saw Harbs going down a familiar path and stepped in, as Tony has suggested.

Tony Lombardi
Tony Lombardi

Public spin Brad. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how they got there, what matters it what they go from here.

John Humbled
John Humbled

Although I did not agree with your article, I appreciate the fact that you responded to the comments. I look forward to your next article.

Brian Adams
Brian Adams

Try it, it's fun. You can just make up anything and say you have anonymous "sources."

John
John

He does what a PR man is supposed to do, clean up the mess.

Mike Z
Mike Z

Isn't you saying that public spin as well to not show you may have been wrong? Should Hostler have been the favorite at the start, yes and why not?He knows the team and has been loyal. But to not allow that a manager at any level can have their minds changed when someone better comes along is preposterous. John Harbaugh has had a history since becoming head coach of surrounding himself with former head coaches and coordinators. (Jim Hostler included in that). This is the biggest shakeup in coaching staff since Billick left. Montgomery and Harman have been here for years and have developed some very good players. Hostler too.....Torrie included.

Brad
Brad

Yeah, sure. Just saying, there's little content here that's factual. A lot of speculation. You say "Harbaugh’s choice was Jim Hostler. Word is that he made Ozzie Newsome and Steve Bisciotti aware of his intentions to promote the wide receivers coach and it got the “Not-in-my House” Dikembe Mutombo treatment," but where's the proof the Hostler was Harbaugh's pick? Harbaugh said in the presser that the reporters had it wrong all along.

Sharon
Sharon

If you all are right and that Byrne's article was all spin, they can give Olivia Pope and Co. a run for their money. It seems like a lot of effort just for it to be a lie.

Bill
Bill

If you really want to know the truth,read what Kubiak said(truth) and then Harb's statement.(spin and face-saving)

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