Cloudy Skies Ahead for Harbaugh, Ravens?

Bisciotti Harbaugh pregame 728

During his first five campaigns as an NFL head coach John Harbaugh built a pretty impressive resume. He is the only head coach to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons while guiding his team to the AFC Championship three times and of course winning Super Bowl XLVII.

You really can’t ask for much more than that!

Enter season number 6.

The face of the franchise and the NFL’s quintessential leader, Ray Lewis retires. Demonstrative players like Bernard Pollard and Anquan Boldin are set free. Enigmatic Ed Reed is not re-signed.

Suddenly the locker room is very different.

Suddenly the leadership has taken a hit.

Suddenly this is John Harbaugh’s team.

Enter good buddy Juan Castillo who had a train wreck of a season after being named Run Game Coordinator, which is apparently Latin for “Offensive Line Coach”.

Enter good buddy Steve Spagnuolo who carries the title, Senior Defensive Assistant, which is apparently Italian for “It Beats Unemployment.”

At one time it appeared that Spagnuolo would be given the old Mike Nolan treatment. You may recall that Brian Billick parked Nolan on his staff as a wide receivers coach back in 2001 following the Super Bowl XXXV title knowing that someone would eventually come along and pluck off then Defensive Coordinator Marvin Lewis.

Eventually that happened and Nolan took over as DC.

Spagnuolo seemed destined to be the heir apparent to Dean Pees who will be 65 when the 2014 season begins. But now, who knows? It isn’t clear why Spags is in the building.

Very little makes sense around Owings Mills these days.

Juan Castillo was the single biggest deterrent to success this season yet he’ll be back for another try. Word now is that John Harbaugh is looking to pair up his newly appointed offensive line coach with a coordinator whose philosophy will mesh nicely with Castillo’s.

That almost screams West Coast Offense (“WCO”).

Enter Joe Flacco.

Flacco is tough, gutty, unflappable and has a big arm that can potentially be one of the game’s best home run threats. But the WCO requires a quarterback to be quick with his feet, his reads and his release. It also demands accuracy from the quarterback position.

For all of the good things that Flacco is or can be, nothing about the WCO makes sense for Flacco.

What’s going on?

From the outside looking in, whether intentionally or not, Harbaugh is squashing locker room leaders. With his coaching staff he is apparently trying to get his players to adapt to a style that the coaches are comfortable with instead of a style that is best suited for the skill sets of his players.

That makes next to no sense!

Take a look at New England. Who among you thought that this would be a transition year for the Patriots? Yet here they are preparing for the AFC Conference Championship.

Why?

Because the coaching staff, which is essentially the same as the one from last season, has adapted to their changing personnel and focus upon placing their players in positions to succeed. If the players were square pegs, Belichick and Company develop square holes. If suddenly the players morph into round pegs, Coach Hoodie shapes the hole round.

Not in Baltimore!

As the search for the Ravens next Offensive Coordinator unfolds, with each passing day that goes by without a new hire, the likelihood of promoting from within grows.

If and when the 2014 season falls on its face, we’ll remember these unforgettable words from Steve Bisciotti first shared by The Sun’s Mike Preston.

“I have to be patient to let people fail, but I don’t have to be patient enough to let people repeat failure. I’ll be more apt to get my way next year if their solutions don’t change the problems. That’s fair, that’s where I am as owner.”

“My way” suggests that Harbaugh is getting his way – for now.

“Their solutions” suggests that the road map to recovery is on Harbaugh’s GPS.

And from this chair trusting that GPS could leave us fans SOL.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured, Lombardi's Way by Tony Lombardi. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tony Lombardi

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...more

46 Raves on “Cloudy Skies Ahead for Harbaugh, Ravens?

  1. JerryB on said:

    With the exception of the Flacco and the WCO, we are on the same page! Flacco, it may be remembered, has had a great rapport with Derek Mason, Boldin and Pitta, all of whom were adept at going across the middle and/or the sideline pass, where Flacco’s arm strength has made him…deadly accurate! If accuracy is a problem at all, it’s with the deep ball. But, that’s another argument for another day! Whether Harbaugh realizes it or not, he’s on the hot seat! As I’ve commented elsewhere, Harbaugh and Flacco’s success are inextricably linked, having both arrived on the scene at the same time. But…..whereas Flacco no doubt would have succeeded without Harbaugh, the converse is not so certain! And, now that this truly is Harbaugh’s team, he’s more accountable than ever!

      • Omar on said:

        TL, your article, whether supposition, speculation or insider knowledge is great perspective (blogger) reporting. Something these other blowhards aren’t understanding. Other than ’23 raves’ perspective regarding Flacco’s fluidity with Mase, Q, and Pitta, I think you are spot on!!

  2. Ravens75 on said:

    Why is this Preston-ish or pointless? These are opinions that are starting to become fact.

    Harbaugh was given the keys and he’s running this team into the ground with some bad hires and questionable decision making. He doesn’t even seem to understand that Bisciotti’s comments were directed at him and that if this team goes 6-10 this year he’s out.

    In this league its about wins and losses and if you don’t do it especially when you’ve been given essentially everything then you’re out.

    John will be on TV somewhere in the 2015 season and not on the sideline.

    • steve webster on said:

      Good grief….8-8 and hes driving the team into the ground? Dont hurt yourself jumping back on the bandwagon next season.

    • steve webster on said:

      I would like to know how you know that Juan Castillo was the single biggest detterent to the Ravens success this season? I mean correct me if I’m wrong but if the offensive coordinator designs a plays called lets say “48 jett” and on this play he decides that the running back hits the four hole and the offensive line is to use zone blocks then he is the one responsible for using a zone blocking scheme on said play. The O line coach (which technically Castillo wasn’t) isn’t responsible for using this scheme. Only for making sure the O lineman know their assignments and work with them to perfect their techniques. Not to mention the Ravens only needed the outcome of one game to be different to be the sixth seed and two games to win the north and I can think of at least 3 games where if the defense had made a play at the end of the game they would have been W’s instead of L’s.Even if you can convince me that Castillo was totally responsible for all of the offensive line problems this season I am 100% positive he was not responsible for the defenses ineffectiveness at the end of games.

      Ravens fans are spoiled and I feel sorry for Harbs. 5 seasons without missing the playoffs. A playoff win every year. 3 Afc championships and a super bowl. After one 8-8 season where they turned over more than half of the starters he is being second guessed by every arm chair coach out there and some of you are even dumb enough to be calling for his job or at the very least insinuating that he is on the hot seat. Here’s a news flash, Harbs could go 6-10 next season and not only would he not get fired but Biscotti would be an idiot to even think about it. Harbs is one of the top 5 coaches in the entire league. If Biscotti fired him hed have another job before he cleaned out his desk.

    • Mill on said:

      Don’t be ridiculous. Harbaugh is not going to get fired. Biscotti is going to let Harbs and Ozzie try to fix things without interference. If they fail again, he will step in and tell them what changes to make. For Harbs that probably means being forced to make changes to his coaching staff.

  3. Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

    When some are losing an argument they might say, “Whatever!”

    When some don’t understand a column, they might call it “pointless!”

    • Ryan on said:

      Tony, i gotta agree with you bud. As a long time ravens fan, and a Hardballs supporter (I mean the guy has been a ‘great’ coach. but after his press conference mind boggles, and beyond questionable play calls/clock managements/staff appointments, I am sitting here screaming my ass off at the team I give my “fan” title too.

      I just don’t get what they are trying to do here. #confuzzled

      • Paul on said:

        You know, Tony, people might take your articles more seriously if you stopped attacking everyone who disagrees with your opinion. Grow some thicker skin, champ, and stop resorting to denigrating your readers; even the ones who may deserve it.

  4. john on said:

    The Ravens won in spite of this guy. That’s why the Ravens had five winning seasons, because of leaders like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Now we all seen what it was like last season as Harbaugh’s team… a disaster!
    This guy is a good person but not a very smart coach. He has no common sense or NFL smarts. If he has his way next season , which looks like he will, you can expect the same turnout.

    • John Tolstoy on said:

      The Ravens won in spite of him? In the Ravens timeline before 2008 they made the playoffs in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2006 winning 5 play off games. Now that’s only 2 play off appearances and one play off win in the five years Reed and Lewis were together without Harbaugh.
      Harbaugh has been here for 6 years and has made the playoffs five times and has almost doubled the amount of playoff wins we had in 12 years without him.
      Oh it’s cause he had good players? Players he made better. Players like Rice, Flacco, Upshaw, T. Smith, J. Smith that he had a hand in drafting.
      No we were not a good team before Harbaugh. People say we won in spite of him? We’ve made the playoffs because he can take good players and make them better.
      And take a defense that wasn’t good and help push them to the Superbowl.

  5. James on said:

    I could not agree more with this article. We need an OC that will use the talents we already have and not the talents they think we have. And unfortunately the hated Pats are the best example of how to take a team with injuries, rookies and quite honestly some players I have never heard of until now and turn them into contenders.

    VERY WELL SAID!!!

  6. Liz on said:

    Many points of your article are definitely right on target, Tony. It disturbs me that only one coach has been held accountable after the offense underperformed for the entire season. The offensive line bore little
    resemblance in personnel or performance to the Super Bowl line, and only one coach among several
    loses his job.
    Caldwell noted, upon assuming the OC position, that he was stepping into an already
    in place offensive system that he had no intent (and probably no power) to change. Happy for him
    that he has gone on to greener pastures . . . HC position and the power to call the shots.

    Yes, it’s up to Harbaugh to produce a winning, playoff-contending team or he’s out — this is how it should be and hopefully will be. It’s the NFL–win or go home.

  7. Bob Easter on said:

    The problem starts at the top and Steve should be telling John his vision for the team. It sounds more like he’s willing to watch another season go down the drain and at the same time giving Harbaugh the rope to hang himself with it. Hey John, maybe you’ve never owned a business before but friends and business never work out. Send all your previously unemployed buddies packing now and bring in some new blood or just pack up now for your Michigan job. But don’t put us through another year like last.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Bob, I hear you but I do think that given his accomplishments over the first 5 years Bisciotti had to give Harbaugh some rope. We’ll see if he hangs from it. I hope not.

      • John P on said:

        Agreed. Let’s leave Bisciotti out of this equation. The guy is a masterful manager. He’s already said his peace.

        Besides, he’s the guy who forced Cam Cameron’s firing last year and we all know how that turned out.

        In Bisciotti we trust. In Harbs – eh – not so much.

  8. Frank Seitz on said:

    Tony, once again you are the voice of reason. Say what you will about the NE Pats, they mold their offense and defense to fit the players they have on the roster. Their O has been decimated by injuries and criminal charges, they lose their best Defensive player and yet they still make the AFC championship (again) and have a great chance of making the Super Bowl. Harbaugh’s lack of flexibility is frustrating.

  9. Jim on said:

    I think Ozzie has some culpability also. Gradkowski didn’t work out. Neither did Huff, Spears, Clark, Stokely, or Shipley. Except for Elam who played out of position and undrafted Marlon Brown, no rookie helped. McKinney was a disaster. How about the last several draft classes? A lot of misses there. I say this year was Harbs and Ozzie’s bogie, but next year we need some better players to be coached up.

  10. RJ on said:

    Given the retention of Castillo, I now hope that the new OC is Kyle Shanihan. I like the fact that he is in a position to complement Castillo’s ZBS, with a solid run game strategy. He developed a solid, physical run game in Washington, in conjunction with a diversified offensive game plan. Bring him on, and let’s see what Castillo and him can produce – the Raven’s offensive philosophy has always been about playing ‘smash mouth’ football. And no one can argue that Joe is at his best with a solid play-action strategy in his hip pocket.

  11. Charm City on said:

    Tony,

    I’d rather read you and Preston before a lot of other writers. I completely agree with my friend.

    Keep it real!!!

  12. The Truth on said:

    Well I am certainly not a TL fan in any sense of the word, but I have to agree that Harbs is making some team decisions that are beyond bazaar, and the locker room has already showed contention several times since he’s been here…..If Castillo is still on this team next year, he will hurt or destroy our chance of success on offense and Harbs should be fired if he is that stubborn stupid….
    Can you say Brian Billick anyone ?….He won a SB too, remember ?

  13. Bart on said:

    Right now we simply don’t have enough information about Harbaugh. It’ll take at least another year & maybe two before we’ll have an idea.

    I have a question.

    Is Ray Lewis the main reason we’ve won two super bowls? I now when a great QB retires then teams change course but what about great defensive players?

  14. seatraveller on said:

    Great article and very necessary. Good for you. Harbaugh’s ego has been out of control since he won the super bowl. Last year we failed miserably at zone blocking so now we are going to accentuate it and its purveyor. Castillo getting the right title will make everything right. Our personnel doesn’t match. Just stupid. The strong willed players who would win or be carried out on their shields are gone. Any coaches who were a threaat are gone. Only Harbaugh is there to get the accolades. The Ravens used to be so much smarter but as Harbaugh has been allowed more and more power they’ve become significantly dumber. Why didn’t we go strongly after Norv, the best OC choice. Did Harbaugh consider him a threat? Why weren’t we decisive. Steve and Ozzie know better than to do the things we are doing. It is painful to watch them let Harbaugh get away with this. It is painful to see a great franchise dragged down.

  15. Gianna on said:

    I think we won 8 games because our team has 10 win talent. We lost those 2 games because of poor personnel decisions. And I don’t mean getting players I mean the use of talent. Also I think that we tried to put a square peg in a round hole so to speak. We were more of a hat on hat blocking team which switched to a zone scheme. I’m not in the office but on the outside it looks very strange. I think this may be a bad stretch. And 8-8 is bad with the talent we have.

  16. Big C the Guru on said:

    I think Scott Linehan from Detroit would be a good look. The guy from GB would have been perfect. Kubiak needs to go sit down somewhere… Kyle Shanahan… are you kidding me? Harbaugh seems hell bent on getting fired. I’m telling you… he is buggin… And another thing. STOP wasting draft picks… John Simon? Juice? Draft guys who will make an impact please…

  17. Nick B. on said:

    I like the comments relating this to a Mike Preston type article. Like him, you never want to let the facts get in the way of a good story.

  18. Dalton Barker on said:

    This is one of the shoddiest pieces of “writing” I have seen regarding the Ravens current off season. I expect this from the home team forums, but geez, really? Let’s break this down from the start:

    “The face of the franchise and the NFL’s quintessential leader, Ray Lewis retires. Demonstrative players like Bernard Pollard and Anquan Boldin are set free. Enigmatic Ed Reed is not re-signed.”

    Ray Lewis is gone and we are still talking about him. It’s over, he isn’t coming back, nor should he. He was the WORST player on the defense in that playoff run. You can make up a narrative that ‘Ray inspired the troops and that’s why they won the Super Bowl.’ Unfortunately that narrative is wrong and easily discounted merely by doing a bit of research. In 2012, the Ravens had the 22nd ranked Defense according to DVOA and opponents scored 21.5 points per game. In the playoffs, the Ravens defense allowed 22 points a game and allowed a Baltimore Ravens playoff record points total versus the Broncos, and the second highest point total to the San Francisco 49ers. During that four game stretch, Ray Lewis was the lowest rated player on Profootballfocus.com ultimately grading out in the Super Bowl at -5.7. Now, some will disagree with the methodology or appropriation of grades by PFF, but it was pretty obvious in all four games that teams actively tried to attack Ray Lewis. If you want to credit a player that actually improved his on-field performance during the playoffs, look no further than Ed Reed.

    Second sentence you essentially proclaim that Harbaugh was outing any and all players that subverted his power in any shape or form. For one, this is incorrect. It has been reported in multiply outlets that Harbaugh didn’t appreciate the lack of effort from Bryant McKinnie and was disappointed that Jacoby Jones wasn’t involved in the Ravens off season program. Yet, the Ravens not only resigned McKinnie to a two-year-contract, but also held onto Jone’s 4.7 million dollar cap hit. If Harbaugh wanted to purge the locker room after the season, then why merely relieve the duties of some players, yet bring back others that we widely seen as malcontents in some aspects? Unfortunately, your linear presumptions are merely a fallacy and lack context or rational. The Ravens released Pollard because he was a poor coverage safety who constantly hurt the team with personal fouls. The Ravens held onto McKinnie and Jones because they were important cogs to a team that had to prioritize positions based on need. The lack of effort to resign Ed Reed was a brilliant move by Ozzie Newsome, because as witnessed this entire season, he is now a liability on the field.

    “Juan Castillo was the single biggest deterrent to success this season yet he’ll be back for another try. Word now is that John Harbaugh is looking to pair up his newly appointed offensive line coach with a coordinator whose philosophy will mesh nicely with Castillo’s.”

    Here is the thing about the business world, people hire people they know or referrals from people they trust. The NFL is a small network of people, so it highly likely that after coaching in the league for 15+ years, Harbaugh knows a good amount of people and has many ‘friends’. I refuse to label Castillo a ‘friend’ of Harbaugh because you do not reach the level of success John Harbaugh has had by hiring ‘friends’ and hoping to get lucky. Juan Castillo was highly sought after and the Ravens had to outbid for his services leading up the Super Bowl, according to multiple reports including the BSun and NFL Network. Clearly, several teams were fighting to incorporate Castillo into their clubs and thought highly of Castillo as an offensive line coach.

    Now if blame is to be dolled out, then Harbaugh deserves blame for the ambiguity under the auspices of naming Castillo ‘Run-Game Coordinator’. And yes, should Castillo be blamed for part of the run game issues? Absolutely. No one is debating that statement, yet no one addresses the lack of depth along the offensive line or the poor play by key players. Before the season, I mentioned in casual conversation how the offensive guard play and the offensive line in general would be the strength of the team and help mitigate the lose of Pitta and Boldin. Unbeknownst to me or the team, K.O. developed a back injury and off season shoulder surgery clearly affected the play of Marshal Yanda. Insert an inexperienced center, a poor season by McKinnie and Michael Oher, the injuries to Rice and Pierce and a lack of offensive weapons and you get the 30th ranked offense in the league.

    A bigger issue that is quietly lurking on the fringe is the lack of depth behind the starting offensive line. The lack of development and drafting of Jah Reid, Ramon Harewood or Michael Oher by Ozzie and previous offensive line coach Andy Moeller was the key detriment to this team. Reid, a 3rd round pick is a liability at tackle and guard, and Oher has actually regressed from his rookie season. You can’t place the burden of either of those failures on Juan Castillo because he had a small fraction of time dealing with either player.

    To the claim that Harbaugh wants to attract an offensive coordinator who gels with Castillo’s zone blocking scheme, may I ask where art thou accreditation? Is there an article I missed, a tweet from the other Wizard of Baltimore, Jason LaCanfera, or even the insistent information from “unnamed team source” to verify your claim?

    Finally, your Sistine Chapel, your La Sagrada Familia, your Louis XIV…

    “That almost screams West Coast Offense (“WCO”).”
    For years-and-years, Mike Preston to Geno from Dundalk has complained about the lack of a modern passing game. “Out with the deep ball passing and in with quick screens to Torrey, easy completions to Pitta and rub routes with whomever can catch in the Red Zone.”
    Now, because I rarely read your work, I will not accuse you of asserting that opinion, but apparently you subscribe to the fallacy that the Ravens are strictly an Air Coryell system designed to push the ball downfield. The Ravens absolutely are a deep ball passing team and you’re correct when assessing the weaknesses of Joe Flacco; i.e. poor footwork on occasion and a below-average completion percentage. But what is strange to me is when watching the Ravens on tape this year with All-22, it is quite easy to see the Ravens incorporating more-and-more WCO principles into the offense. Unfortunately, you still believe that NFL offenses only subscribe to one play style and rarely deviate, but the Ravens aren’t Mike Martz. Similarly in how the Ravens run a hybrid defense incorporating several 3-4, 4-3 and 4-2 looks, the Ravens offense demonstrates Air Coryell and WCO principles. The downfield passing game is easily the most prevalent, but as the running game stifled early in the season, the Ravens offense and play-callers turned to more WCO offensive philosophies to gain easy first downs. But readily apparent to all fans, neither the downfield passing game or quick, tempo offense were effective.
    In conclusion, almost the entire article is flawed on a single or multilevel account. The Ravens deficiencies this season were entirely based on an offensive line that lacked strength at LG, RT, C, which hindered the running game, subsequently rendering the play-action downfield passing game a mitigated disaster. Hopefully, a healthy KO and Yanda return to dominance, Eugene Monroe is signed, a RT is either drafted early or acquired in free agency and a replacement is found for Gino, or he continues his improved play by the end of the year. Couple that with much needed playmakers to the offense (Insert: Lee, Marqise) and healthy running backs and the Ravens should return to their normal mediocrity on offense. I’m kidding, I think?

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Dear Dalton,

      1. I don’t think I credited Ray Lewis for anything done on the field.

      2. So Pollard and Boldin weren’t demonstrative? The leadership and locker room didn’t change?

      3. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Did you read Bryant McKinnie’s honest commentary about the O-Line immediately following his departure? Maybe you should if you haven’t, read again if you did. (LINK) The guys in the trenches didn’t buy in to Castillo’s scheme. It wasn’t a fit for their collective skill set. This isn’t a condemnation of Castillo’s coaching skills but rather one of his season. The O-Line was a disaster and the single biggest reason for the team’s failures. By Harbaugh’s own admission Castillo was the O-Line coach in 2013. Come off your high horse and connect the dots!

      4. If Castillo is the coach you suggest he is, a season with Reid or Oher should have resulted in improvement. It didn’t. Reid couldn’t even bump an undersized AQ Shipley and Oher regressed. So you were saying?

      5. Since when are you not allowed to use things you’ve learned from sources to help shape your thoughts without revealing the source(s)? Guess that’s shoddy journalism? It’s better to use the information and say the opposite? (see your comments about matching up a WCO coordinator with Castillo)

      Overall, your commentary does a nice job of putting words in my mouth to support your arguments. How convenient.

      Let me tell you this…

      I know Steve Bisciotti to be a stand up guy and a guy who does not mince words. And he said recently…

      “I have to be patient to let people fail, but I don’t have to be patient enough to let people repeat failure. I’ll be more apt to get my way next year if their solutions don’t change the problems. That’s fair, that’s where I am as owner.”

      That doesn’t sound like a guy who is buying into what Harbaugh is selling these days. Harbaugh has earned the rope from Bisciotti given the things mentioned at the very top of the column. We’ll see what he does with it.

      And finally, I will commend you for a well-written “column within a column” and offer you a chance to share your thoughts here on RSR as a guest columnist. Through all of your 1,225 words, I do believe without your revisionist flare that if you could offer something vis-a-vis a regular column of your own. Hit me up at TL@russellstreetreport.com if interested.

  19. Donta on said:

    Fans are crazy after an 8-8 season Harbaugh can not coach and Ray Lewis and Ed Reed won the Super Bowl buy themselves. Now fans want the Ravens owner controlling the coaching staff and pulling a Angelos and Synder. Make your minds up let Harbaugh put together some losing seasons before you bail.

  20. Thomas on said:

    The thing with Harbs is he’s not a technical coach. He’s more of a team manager which makes it critical that he selects the right coordinators on his staff. Caldwell surely knows a thing or two about passing but I wouldn’t be surprised if his running game expertise is limited and he relied on Castillo for that. Between the two of them (and the rest of the chefs in the kitchen) they never managed to get it right.

    Harbs doesn’t have to be the Xs and Os guy, but he does have to pick the right coordinators and validate that their systems fit the players they have. With Harbs’ background in special teams, making do with what you’ve got should be a very familiar concept to him and he needs to make sure that his coordinators understand and live by that too.

  21. Chad on said:

    TL won’t be a cool article but the Ravens need a OC that meets the strengths of the offense, this very simple answer is Joe Lombardi the QB coach from New Orleans. Look at what they do alot of shotgun, fast paced and thrwoing the ball way down the field. Drew Brees did not used to be the giant killer he is today when he was with San Diego, remmeber San Diego did draft and then trade Eli Manning for Rivers and then let Brees walk. He had go dnumbers with San Diego alot of that was due to the era of the league and they did have that guy named LT. When Brees got married to Payton he changed instantly. Joe has been with Payton for a long time and he were to put an offense like that in Baltimore we would be very, very dangerous. Yes we need oline help and a treu #1 WR but Ozzie will take care of that shortly. Hopefully they make the right hire here and look outside the box again and not just get a retread coach.

  22. royJ on said:

    As a fan, I am hoping that with the addition of a ball hawing FS, a tall tough sure handed WR and a huge investment in the offensive line that even John Harbaugh will be unable to mess things up next season.

  23. Mark on said:

    Tony, I agree that a pure WCO does not fit Flacco’s skill set but blending some WC elements into AC offense which still looks for big chunks would be a welcome change to having Joe get hit 15 times a game. I think the more important component determining success will be whether the ZBS is adopted. They drafted a one cut guy in Pierce and kept Castillo so I am assuming that is where Harbaugh is going.

    In addition to the agility required of offensive linemen to run a ZBS, they must be very smart to make decisions on the move and coordinate with each other. Are our current OLinemen smart enough? Monroe: Yes Everybody else: Maybe. Agile enough? Monroe and Yanda: Yes Everybody else: Maybe We are rebuiliding the line so maybe Jensen, a draft pick and a FA vet can be productive ZB players. Harbaugh may be betting his contract on it.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Spot on! KO is a smart player and I look forward to what he can do next to Monroe who has suffered during his first 5 seasons with substandard left guard play.

  24. DarthSizzle55 on said:

    I like Harbough think he is great in some ways the 2 things I don’t like about him are his love of ZBS and WCO I just don’t think they match our teams mentality. Ozzie says Bigger in the middle but for ZBS isn’t athletiscism more important than size so it seems like there is a divide. Good article and I don’t always agree with your columns but good points are brought up and they make me think.

  25. Junior Lewis on said:

    I dont understand why people make Flacoo out to be something he is not. I think becuase we have had a history of such poor QB play as a franchise, when we get a better then avg. QB , we treat him as if he is an all star pro bowler. ANd I know some people will say the pro bowl does not mean anything, but seldom do great players go six years without being noticd if they are Franchise leading claiber. Manning, Brady, Drew, Rogers, are the Elite at thier craft. Flacco is lucky that he was in the lead seat of a team as a QB but had other team mates carry the burden of the franchise. This was the uber important part that Ray and Reed played in thier twilight days. WHen all the responsibility was thrust onto Joe, he dosent have the ability to carry the weight. Look at what Brady did with NO talent on his recieving core. Look at what Drew does with a revolving door of backs and recievers. Good QB’s make everyone better, the recievers, the backs, the line. Joe can’t. we have to surround him with talent and now that is going to cme at a cost. And now we are in cap hell for in my opinion 5 bad contracts. Sizzle, Ngata, Flacco, Koch, and Rice. None are worth the salary they get. We will be lucky to be 8 and 8 again. Harbs loyaty to people and his one way of knowing how to do things is going to rear its ugly head. We are as predictable as people eating crabs in baltimore. He needs someone to come in and challange his way of doing things, and someone who can develope and offense, and push Flacoo past his comfort zone and his pedestrian results.

  26. Mark on said:

    Other than being 60 years old, is there any reason for Harbaugh not to, at least, call David Cutcliffe to see if he has any interest in interviewing for the OC job. National coach of the year, overachieving team, imaginative offensive mind and QB mentor to both Peyton and Eli.

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Elam Hosts Celebratory Kickoff Party at Modell’s

With the Ravens kickoff to their 2014 season against the Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium just days away, safety Matt Elam could not be more excited to get the season underway. In fact, on Sunday af...read more

2014 AFC North Preview

In six days, M&T Bank Stadium will be rocking as the Ravens begin their 2014 season in front of what is sure to be another sell-out crowd. Four days later, though, Baltimore will play in what i...read more

Baltimore Loves an Underdog, Starring Fitz Toussaint

Ravens fans have a long history of rooting for the underdog. We can't help it, it's in our blood. Perhaps it's the blue collar history of Baltimore or the fact that we feel slighted by the good fol...read more

Ravens Practice Squad

The Baltimore Ravens signed the following nine players to their practice squad Sunday afternoon: CB Tramain Jacobs, Rookie OL Ryan Jensen, 2nd year DT Jamie Meder, Rookie CB Deji Olatoye, Ro...read more

FILMSTUDY: Ravens Dominate Saints in Finale

By now, you know how much the Ravens dominated Thursday’s game versus the Saints: 79 offensive plays to 38 for the Saints (I believe that is a new team record fewest defensive snaps for any game...read more

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