When John Harbaugh announced that all three coordinators would return in 2017 he simultaneously put the finishing touches on his hand-crafted hot seat. Consequently, next season at the very least, will be interesting.
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Imagine the pressure that could be thrust upon the staff if the Ravens get off to a (1-3) start or they are winless in October like they were this past season. The locker room could be lost to a coaching staff that has no future in Baltimore.
Imagine the backlash from the fans and the resulting decline at the gate. The lost ticket revenues, concession and merchandise sales not to mention the negative overall economic impact in Maryland. It will snowball into an avalanche that will surely doom the Harbaugh Era.
Obviously the chips are all in for the Ravens skipper. He’s betting on himself and the staff in which he obviously has supreme faith. It’s a big risk for Harbaugh.
But what were his alternatives?
Bring in a Gus Bradley or a Wade Phillips to take the reins of the defense?
Call on Mike McCoy or Norv Turner to run the offense?
Why would they move to Baltimore and join a staff that could be gone by January of 2018? Why would a good offensive coordinator consider Baltimore and be the sixth such coach in as many years?
If nothing else Harbaugh’s decision to bring back his play callers was ballsy. It also suggests that the Ravens problems aren’t tied to coaching but rather to personnel.
Back in October I wrote a piece called, Who Are the Baltimore Ravens? Later in October I penned a column titled, Trouble Ahead for The Ravens? The first piece (feel free to click and read) speaks to the team’s lack of an identity and the club’s inability to develop players. The second paints a gloomy picture ahead for the Ravens from both a personnel perspective and a salary cap perspective.
Integral to both pieces is Ozzie Newsome, a man who continually manages to escape public scrutiny (save Brian from Owings Mills) despite a recent body of work that suggests he should be called out.
By bringing back all three coordinators for 2017, could John Harbaugh be calling Ozzie out?
Specifically, by keeping Dean Pees and Marty Mornhinweg, isn’t Harbs suggesting that the Ravens issues are personnel related and not scheme related?
The gauntlet has been thrown down.
And if the Ravens take the field in 2017 without a speed rusher, another quality corner and a playmaking receiver, maybe Steve Bisciotti will save Harbaugh’s hot seat for Newsome in 2018.