Ravens fans, I think we need to have a serious conversation about coordinators in Baltimore, and a pattern that has befallen on them. A pattern that that is so specific and dismal, that I am fully convinced this is not a coincidental occurrence on a yearly basis, but a plague whose epicenter sits at the top of the coaching tree.
Unfortunately, it appears that Ravens offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, is the most recently infected member of the organization.
This plague has a few noticeable symptoms that allow us to make an early diagnosis of the infection.
It starts with a very gradual change in philosophies. When a coach comes to Baltimore with plenty of chatter around ‘committing to the run‘ we begin to question the symptoms. It’s not until we see that alleged commitment has been completely abandoned, do we truly think we have an infectious case.
In the curious case of Mornhinweg, he came into this season with a propensity to throw the ball heavily based on 2016, then reverted in the first few weeks to running the ball- just as the team had committed to during the offseason. Seeing his recent change in philosophy back to throwing an ungodly amount in the past few weeks has me convinced he’s already infected, and will continue to stumble down a path of no return.
The next symptom we like to call “Non-Answers” in which the victims of this infection start to speak in circles, and answer every question with a bunch of sentences strung together that equate to absolutely nothing contextual, or even a cognizant response to the question at hand. You see similar symptoms in politicians, lawyers, and NFL commissioners.
Back to our poor, sickly Marty- he has been speaking in “Non-Answers” for the better part of this season, but only sporadically. It wasn’t until yesterday that he truly began to exhibit advanced symptoms during his time at the podium when pressed about the team’s offensive woes.
Here’s Marty on the lack of time for Flacco in the pocket:
“We all have to do a little bit better on the thing, and those things will happen. I know this: [I’ve] been through this thing before. If you keep working hard and keep preparing, good things will happen. Good things – they always tend to happen. That confidence thing? All-time high.”
And here’s Marty flat out avoiding talking about the play of Austin Howard so far this season, when asked about it:
“We’re happy to have him. He’s going back to Oakland. You know, he was [with] Oakland. I know it’s a big week for Austin.”
One more for good record to show his “Non-Answer” phase is in full effect- Marty Mornhinweg when asked what specifically Joe Flacco is working on during practice to improve his game:
“There are a lot of specific things, and that goes with every position, more than a handful of plays the last ball game – details. It is really every position. [They are] details, and then you end up getting those four, five, six, seven plays in a game that may make a difference.”
Of course this is only a snippet, but 3 questions, 3 instances of Marty completely avoiding the question with a “Non-Answer.”
I don’t see how this can be misconstrued in any way at this point. This is a clear-cut indication that this plague has befallen Marty, and it’s only a matter of time until it takes over.
There are two final phases of this plague that we’ll unfortunately have to sit back and watch as they continue to progress in the much-maligned Ravens OC (a phrase that has become commonplace in Baltimore over the years).
The first being Full Blown Denial.
As of now, Marty is side-stepping the truth, but in due time, he’ll flat out lie and deny it. He’ll begin to use phrases like “Joe is a great quarterback, it’s just been outside factors,” or “this offensive line doesn’t get enough credit.” The fans and the media will see right through this facade, knowing very well that he’s bold-faced lying about the offense.
Regardless, Marty will continue to spew fallacies right and left, until he runs out of synonyms for ‘great’ and ‘confident.’
Eventually he may lash out at reporters, much like we’ve seen from the man who was patient zero in this plague upon the Ravens- John Harbaugh.
Don’t believe me on the source of the epidemic? Use logic here, folks: he’s long shown all of the symptoms- deception about committing to the run, Non-Answers, Full Blown Denial- it’s all there. And yet, Harbaugh doesn’t seem to make it to the final phase of this epidemic sweeping over every Ravens coach during his tenure. He simply keeps on trucking, handing off spores of infection to each and every coordinator who walks through those doors in an effort to dodge the end result…
The final phase, as many know from previous victims of this plague (Cam Cameron & Marc Trestman being the most recent victims), is the Pink Death.
It comes in the form of a slip, and it immediately removes the infected victim from the franchise, as the plague is ready to move on to its next victim.
Sometimes those infected by the pink slip go on to thrive… and sometimes they fade into oblivion. Cameron made a name for himself as the Offensive Coordinator at LSU following his Pink Death, coaching up the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry & Jeremy Hill; however, the infection never fully left his system, as Cam only lasted until 2016 before getting the ax.
Jim Caldwell remains as the head coach for the Detroit Lions, and looks to be authoring an impressive turnaround in that franchise’s fortunes. So far, he is the only known patient to thrive following contraction of this disease.
Unfortunately for Mornhinweg, it appears he’s likely to follow the path of those infected before him, and succumb to the final stages of this infection. Believe me when I say all of Baltimore wishes he could keep fighting this plague and turn things around, but it appears the inevitable Pink Death is not far off.
In my unprofessional opinion? I’d give him 2 weeks.
Then it’s on to the next victim.
Keep your head on a swivel, Greg Roman. The Harbaugh plague has its eye on you…