ESPN recently ranked the job security of each head coach in the NFL on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 represents a coach who has no chance of being fired and 5 represents coaches that are out if the season is a disappointment. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh came in at a 3 which is viewed as a lukewarm seat and says that the coach isn’t under fire but not disaster-proof either.
Going into the season a 4 would probably be a more accurate assessment. A 4 represents a coach that is not safe if the season is a disappointment which seems fair for Harbaugh.
Heading into 2017, there seemed to be a common sentiment that it was playoffs or bust for the Ravens this season. This is a team that has missed the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, which fair or not, has become unacceptable in the eyes of fans. Should the Ravens miss the playoffs again and make that four times in the last five years, the consensus is, it’s time for a change.
However, does the recent rash of injuries change that? Will Harbaugh get another mulligan because this team has more players in wheelchairs than the Shady Acres retirement home? Well, he shouldn’t.
RSR’s Tony Lombardi made a great point recently as it relates to the current strength and conditioning and medical staff of the Ravens.
“The Ravens need to hire an outside consultant to thoroughly investigate how they prepare their athletes; the shoes they use; the fields they play on; their medical staff; their pre-draft evaluation of injuries; the intensity of their practices; and their strength and conditioning program. The Ravens lead the NFL in injuries and it can’t be all just bad luck, can it?”
It’s not bad luck that the Ravens continue to lead the league in injuries. It’s not a fluke, an aberration or a blip on the radar. This is a pattern for John Harbaugh led teams in recent years and it’s one that Harbaugh himself can’t figure out. In 2014 the Ravens placed 19 players on injured reserve. In 2015 they topped that number with 20 that included eight week one starters with six on offense. This has become commonplace for the Baltimore Ravens and it shouldn’t continue to serve as an excuse for disappointing seasons.
The NFL has evolved dramatically in recent years. Teams now hire consultants to study analytics, sleep habits, recovery methods etc., and there is no doubt that Steve Bisciotti is willing to open his checkbook to whatever is necessary to keep the Ravens on, at the very least, a level playing field with the Steelers and Patriots of the NFL. However, as is the case with many aspects of the game recently, the Ravens continue to sit behind the curve.
You can lump their inability to stay healthy into the same categories as their shortcomings when it comes to finding young, innovative play callers and what seems like a perpetually mediocre offense. The Ravens are stuck in their stubborn ways and they don’t know how to make adjustments in a business that lives or dies on the ability to do just that.
Some people will make the argument that John Harbaugh and the Ravens have made the effort to hire such personnel in recent years. However, the results speak for themselves and they clearly they haven’t hired the right people.
Regardless of the outcome of this season, it falls on Harbaugh and let’s hope the unprecedented amount of injuries don’t serve as an excuse for another 8-8 season.
Steve Bisciotti and Ravens fans deserve better.