It’s good to be back.
Since we last spoke, the Ravens disappointing season ended. It’s clear the final result didn’t equate to the goals players, coaches and fans had. We all wanted the Ravens to do better. We all thought they could do better. But they missed the playoffs. They earned what they got—an early offseason.
Since then, John Harbaugh made the move to hire Gary Kubiak as his offensive coordinator, in addition to three other offensive coaches.
I don’t know if the decision was Harbaugh’s alone, but I will say with certainty that he was an integral part in the Kubiak hire. There have been skeptics among media and fans that say Harbaugh was (more or less) a non-factor in this process.
So Kubiak has dinner at Harbaugh’s house and talks with him for “numerous hours” the night before he’s hired and continually mentions that Harbaugh was the main reason he decided to coach for the Ravens, but Harbaugh had nothing to do with it?
Sure. That makes sense.
If hiring Kubiak wasn’t a “Harbaugh move,” who cares?
So what, Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome don’t trust Harbaugh anymore? Give me a break.
Bisciotti trusted Harbaugh enough to give him a raise last September, from $4 million to $7 per year, while extending his contract through 2016.
Steve Bisciotti is very wealthy and can afford the raise he gave to Harbaugh, but he wouldn’t just throw that money away. He made that decision because he believes in Harbaugh long-term.
In no way am I saying Harbaugh has done everything right, but the man has given everyone more than enough reason to believe in him and his coaching prowess. He’s tied with Mike McCarthy as the third-winningest active coach in the league (64.6 percent).
In the playoffs, Harbaugh’s win rate increases. He holds the highest postseason winning percentage among all active coaches (69.2 percent). That’s also good for fifth-best all-time among coaches who’ve coached in at least 10 playoff games.
It’s almost absurd to defend a man that just won a Super Bowl and has done nothing but win since he got to Baltimore.
Getting back to the Kubiak hire, I believe it was a good one. He had direct influence on Steve Young and John Elway when they combined to win three Super Bowls.
Kubiak also helped Arian Foster record three seasons of 1,600-plus scrimmage yards and 12 or more all-purpose touchdowns. Kubiak’s best player in Houston, Andre Johnson, holds the second-best receiving yards per game average (82.2) in NFL history. His offenses finished ranked in the top 10 in four of his eight seasons in Houston.
We know how accomplished Harbaugh and Kubiak are, but the Ravens have added three more coaches to their offensive staff this offseason. How do their resumes look?
Rick Dennison goes from being Houston’s offensive coordinator to Baltimore’s quarterbacks coach. Brian Pariani, who coached Houston’s tight ends last year, will hold the same title in Baltimore this year. He also coached with Kubiak in San Francisco. Thomas Hammock, who’s coached Wisconsin’s running backs since 2011, will coach the Ravens running backs in 2014.
Kubiak, Dennison and Pariani all coached together in Denver and won two Super Bowls (1997, 1998). Kubiak and Dennison also coached together in San Francisco when the 49ers won the Super Bowl in 1994. From 2011-13, Hammock helped lead Wisconsin to average rankings of 11th in rushing yards per game and 9th in rushing touchdowns per year (out of 120 NCAA FBS (Division 1-A) teams).
Time will tell if all these additions will be helpful or disruptive. Usually this amount of change doesn’t lead to success, but NFL teams don’t usually acquire this many quality coaches in one offseason.
One thing is for sure: John Harbaugh is a proven coach and he’s here to stay. If he coaches even one year past his current contract, he’d be the longest-tenured head coach in Ravens history (10 seasons).
Only 12.7 percent of every NFL head coach there ever was has coached a team for at least 10 seasons.
No one stays in that position in this league by accident.