Coaches, QB not to Blame for Ravens Woes

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I will never understand the “fan” standpoint that the guy on the bench (or out of a job) is better than what the team has now. Fans in Houston are calling for an undrafted quarterback to start over their Pro Bowl QB. [Some] Fans in Baltimore want to bench their Super Bowl MVP and fire the winning-est coach in the NFL over the last 5 years.

Do you really think that an inexperience Tyrod Taylor is going to help this team?

Let me clue you in… NO!

The issues this team is having are NOT with Joe Flacco.

Do you really think that firing John Harbaugh and replacing him with another NFL retread is going to help? Let me help you again… NO!

Over the last 5 years, no other team has won a playoff game every season. Harbaugh has kept this team together through coordinator changes, a “mutiny”, through injuries, and more. He has lead this team properly and better than anyone could have predicted when he took the job, as a relative unknown Special Teams Coordinator.

The problem with the Baltimore Ravens is execution. Yes, there have been issues with the play calling, but that’s not the real issue. The touchdown scoring drive in the 4th quarter was the best one of the season. It went 12 plays and nearly 5 minutes. It was a great mix of runs and passes, short and long.

That was execution.

Had they gone 3-and-out, that would have been the players issue, not the coaches. It’s easy to rip the coaching staff, especially the Head Coach. But if the players do their job, then we aren’t talking about the coaching, and right now, this team is not playing well at all.

The offensive line is not giving Flacco any time to make a pass. The receivers can’t get consistently open. The line is not opening up any holes for the running backs, and (until yesterday) the backs were not hitting the holes hard.

I don’t even have an issue with calling four running plays inside the 5 last week against the Packers. If you can’t pick up a couple of yards in 4 plays, then you don’t deserve to win.

Once again, it’s not about the coaching, it’s about the execution. If the O-line does their job in blocking and creating holes, and the backs do their job hitting the holes with authority, then the Ravens score and win that game.

I don’t have an issue with the on-sides kick against the Steelers. Why is a player lining up offside? That’s execution, not coaching. Plus, coming out of halftime, the Ravens had to call timeout, and then they got a delay of game penalty… that’s on the players.

Yes, there are definitely things that Harbaugh needs to be questioned about, but no more than Flacco, Rice, the O-Line, the Corners, the D-Line, and the special teams.

The Ravens are not a very good team right now.

The players want to take time off during the Bye Week, and the Coach wants them to practice. The only way you get better is to hit each other, and this team needs to get better – particularly if they want a ticket to the postseason dance for the 6th straight year.

To get there, the Ravens will need to go 7-2 over their last 9 games.

And THAT will NOT be easy!

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About Joe Polek

Joe Polek
Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. In 2001, he moved to Portland, Maine for a job in radio. In 2012, he moved to Columbia, SC for another gig in radio, where he currently resides with his wife, Nicole, and their two daughters....more

28 Raves on “Coaches, QB not to Blame for Ravens Woes

  1. NCRavensFan on said:

    Wow, how is the purple kool aid in your neck of the woods. C’mon, poor coaching decisions have cost the Ravens two straight games. I think what we are seeing here, maybe for the first time in the Harbaugh era, is how the coaching adapts to mediocre/declining personnel and without veteran leadership – and the answer is not well at all. I think this is where you see the quality of coaching. If we continue to either take points off the board or make bonehead decisions that gift them to the opponent, we will keep losing games. 7-2 from here on out, that isn’t even a possibility. We have lost three winnable games, all which should have been won….and this has cost the season. Face it.

  2. spy on said:

    Rumor has it Harbaugh canned Castillo’s run blocking scheme right after the Steeler game after talking to several key offensive players……….any truth to this ??????????????

    • Joe Polek on said:

      A team source confirmed before Sunday’s game that several players met with coach John Harbaugh after the loss to the Green Bay Packers to address concerns with the running game and hopes to return to last season’s blocking schemes.
      Offensive tackle Eugene Monroe acknowledged that an old-school approach didn’t yield much different results.
      The Ravens tried to simplify what they were doing with more of a simplistic blocking strategy utilized last season during a Super Bowl run.
      It didn’t immediately provide the changes the Ravens are seeking, though.

      Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/bs-sp-ravens-running-game-1021-20131020,0,6822559.story#ixzz2iMtZLL5n

      • True on said:

        Not immediately. We went from one week with Juan Castillo’s zone to the next week with the old school man on man stuff…give us the bye week and get our running game going plus a little work on playing to one of our offensive strengths which is Joe Flacco’s arm this season and we can win games. Our secondary and our linebackers should be better by that time too. The bye week is perfect this year. We definitely needed it now.

  3. Marcus on said:

    Joe,
    I have been saying the exact same thing for a while now. When does player execution take over from play calling. Now, like you said, there have been some shady play calling, but if the players execute the called play, they would be better off then they are now.
    One other thing, does Ray Rice look like he’s still injured or is he just not confident that the hole will be there?

    • Joe Polek on said:

      Ray Rice looked a LOT better yesterday. He struggled to hit the hole hard the last couple of weeks, but yesterday, looked different, better. He still didn’t have a lot of room to run.

      I was disappointed in Pierce. He was dancing around instead of pounding the hole.

  4. John on said:

    Sorry, Joe, but this is the second consecutive week that poor coaching has cost us a game. Outside of the ridiculous decision to try for points at the end of last week’s first half, the coaching has still been dismal at best.

    For the record – I supported going for it on BOTH 4th downs at the time the plays were called. Last week, though – the play call was hideous. Seriously? Harbs decided that running it AGAIN was going to work? How about a little play action, Harbs?

    This week (thankfully), he made a better play call and it worked. But the on-sides kick? AYKM? Seriously? I’m still in disbelief. He just gave Pittsburgh 3 points in a game that historically has been decided by – well – 3 points!

    You mention how he survived a mutiny last year. I’d like to remind you that he HAD a mutiny last year, and the team didn’t get better until Bisciotti fired Cam Cameron. Remember – that wasn’t a Harbs move. It was the owner that provided the catalyst for the Super Bowl run. I’d suspect he even had something to do with Ray’s decision to retire, but that’s pure speculation.

    Fire Harbs? I’m not sure I’d go that far. But his ego is definitely out of control and he needs to be reeled in. For some reason, since the AFC Championship game, he’s decided he is a genius (remember the fake field goal in SB47?) and can do no wrong. He needs a wake-up call. Much of the off-season changes were due to the salary cap, but they still have Harbaugh’s stamp all over them.

    He needs to can Castillo (or at least his pathetic excuse for a run-blocking scheme) and let his players win the game. Because they DO have the talent to get to the playoffs and do some damage.

    As for Flacco, if he weren’t making 20M a year, I’d think he deserved a raise. That kid’s playing his heart out and not complaining about anything. He’s a gem, and the fans should appreciate what we have in him.

    • Joe Polek on said:

      We can agree on Flacco. He’s been given a lot of grief nationally, but that boys has stood up strong with a terrible O-line.

      Even if it’s not true, from the outside looking in, it sure does appear that the run game has suffered since Castillo came on-board. So it’s an easy out to can him… but it’s not gonna happen. I just hope the changes they say they will make, work.

      I hear you on Harbaugh, but remember, Caldwell is making the playcalls. If you don’t like 4 runs in a row, yell at Jim, not John. Harbaugh could over-rule Caldwell, but he’s paying the man to call the plays and is letting him work.

      Have you ever coached? If so, then you know that it’s more about working through personnel than it is actually teaching/execution. Just like at your place of work… employees will always complain about their boss. It’s up to the Boss to bring the team back together to keep moving forward. That’s the same with Harbaugh. There are ALWAYS going to be personnel issues. It’s how he deals with them that matters, and let me tell you… he is one of the best with keeping his team together. The way he responded to McKinney’s recent Bus Party in DC? Brilliant! And we’ll find out again today how he deals with issues, as there was a report last night that the players wanted to take the Bye Week off but Harbaugh wanted them to practice… so we’ll see.

      • John on said:

        I hear you Joe, and as usual, I respect your opinion.

        I’m not questioning Harbs’ ability to deal with his players. It’s his ego that needs checking. Luckily, I think Bisciotti is a guy that can successfully do that.

        Look, the decision to go for it resides with the head coach. So does the play and the outcome. As an HC you can’t decide to go for it and then blame the OC for a poor play call. TBH – Harbs hasn’t blamed Caldwell either.

        Again, the decision to go for it was fine (in my opinion anyway). If Flacco throws an incomplete pass we’re not having this discussion.

        Ray Rice’s two left feet and lack of burst are not on Harbs. But 4 runs in a row is on Harbs. Going for it at the end of the half is also on Harbs. The onsides kick – Harbs. Harbs hired Castillo so the buck for the run-blocking scheme also falls to Harbs.

        We may just have to agree to disagree.

        • bogeyroy on said:

          Players make coaches look good…and players make coaches look bad. Bottom line is that Ozzie and Harbaugh have forgotten more about football than we ever thought we knew !!!

          • Anthony Carreira on said:

            The problem is greedy Joe Flacco not taking deferred $$$$ in his contract to ensure key players like ANQUAN BOLDIN WHOSE GOT OVER 10, 000 CARRER RECEIVING YARDS AND WHOSE A 4 TIME PRO BOWLER ISNT
            RELEASED FROM THE TEAM.. THEY STRIPPED ALL THEIR TALENT BECAUSE OF JOE FLACCO 6 YEAR DEAL. FLACCO AND THE RAVENS FRONT OFFICE IS PAYING THE PRICE NOW FOR LETTING GO OF ELLERBE, BOLDIN, AND POLLARD THE PATRIOTS KILLER WHO FORCES TURNOVERS ON DEFENSE!! I CANT BELIEVE SOME OF THE MOST STUPIDEST ASS DECISIONS OZZIE NEWSOME MADE THIS PAST OFFSEASON AND LOOK AT THE RESULTS NOW RAVENS NATION.. 3-4 WHAT?? THANKS GREEDY JOE FLACCO. IT DOESNT PAY TO NOT BECOME A TEAM PLAYER INSTEAD OF A SELFISH INDIVIDUAL!! WHAT MORE CAN I SAY BESIDES MISSING #81 ANQUAN BOLDIN. TERRIBLE MOVE GETTING RID OF ONE OF THE TOP 5 BEST WR’S IN THE LEAGUE.. BUT WE HAVE 11.5 MILLION TO THROW AT HALOTI NAGOTA!! WHAT A JOKE THE MAN IS USELESS!!!

  5. John Rosenthal on said:

    True story. The players can’t execute. The players can’t execute because the coaching staff is weak. Harbaugh reminds me of the brother who was always picked last, or not at all. He dismisses anyone who questions him, he surrounds himself with yes men as a coaching staff, and he has eliminated any and all ‘grit’ from our beloved football team. His pep talks are full of false bravado and clichés, and it seems like no one on the team buys in to the crap he speaks. Every mistake answered with “we need to get better” while every victory is “see I told you I knew what I was doing”. The Ravens have been a mediocre football team many times in the past, and I can be ok with that from time to time, but those mediocre football teams always had an edge to them. They were always a fierce, hard nosed, knock your head off football team. The 2013 Baltimore Ravens have lost their identity with the passing of our veterans, and our current head coach has not the character nor the ability to provide us with the Baltimore football we have all grown to love. It is indeed the beginning of a new era.

  6. raveon on said:

    The coaching staff has been atrocious. They have lost multiple games for us. And it is all with the O. Caldwell is obviously not very good. People say harbaugh told Caldwell to give up on the run in the 2nd half against Buff. Does that mean you never run the ball? When is the last time you saw a team never run the ball in a half. These guys are learning on the job and it is killing the team.

  7. Bill on said:

    Joe, you are right on. The offense has played poorly but play calling plays a small part. The defense has been solid at times but has not stopped an opponent when it counts (Buffalo, Green Bay, Pittsburgh). There has not been one player on this team that has said, “I will make the play!” Suggs, Dumerville, Webb, Rice, none have stepped up at Crunch time. That’s what made last season so special. Guys stepped up and made plays. What made former Raven greats great was they stepped up at crucial times to make a game changing play.

    The last drive yesterday we saw glimpses of that with the offense. But they need guys to do that consistently. Execution and consistency are key if this team is to make it to the playoffs for a 6th straight year.

  8. Flaccoluv on said:

    The team is not winning because the personnel we have on the field is not very good. There have been some bad coaching decisions, no doubt, but the coaches don’t play the game. I know its extemely unpopular to criiticize Flacco, but it starts with him. There is no other city in this country that would settle for a QB that is 23rd in QB rating, 5th in interceptions, 22nd in Completion %, and 20th in yards per attempt and STILL believe he is worth the money he is being paid. We just need to face it, Flacco is not good enough to overcome the loss of Bouldin, Birk and Pitta.

  9. Eric on said:

    I agree with Joe. The Ravens are losing on both sides of the line of scrimmage. They can’t run the ball and the last two games they have not been able to stop the run. That is poor execution, pure and simple. You lose the line of scrimmage you lose the game. Been that way for the 45 years that I’ve been watching football. Until they get those things corrected, they will continue to struggle.

  10. Tony Carreira on said:

    THE PROBLEM WITH THIS TEAM WAS THE FOOLISH DECISIONS THIS TEAM MADE IN OZZIE NEWSOME GETTING RID OF 3 PLAYERS THEY COULD ILL AFFORD TO LOSE IN ANQUAN BOLDIN, BERNARD POLLARD, AND DARNELL ELLERBE. FIRST BOLDIN WAS THE CENTERPIECE TO THEIR OFFENSE. HE MADE THIS TEAM CLICK ON ALL CYLINDERS. YOU COULDN’T DOUBLE TEAM TORREY SMITH BECAUSE BOLDIN WOULD PICK YOU APART IN THE UNDERNEATH PASSING GAME ALONG WITH THE CROSS PATTERNS ACROSS THE FIELD. HE ALWAYS NEEDED TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR. THIS IS THE MAIN REASON RAY RICE HAD ALMOST 1200 YARDS ON THE GROUND LAST YEAR. FURTHERMORE; TORREY SMITH ALMOST WAS A 1, 000 YARD RECEIVER. YOU COULDN’T DOUBLE TEAM SMITH FOR THIS REASON. POLLARD IS A PATRIOTS KILLER WHO IS A FEROCIOUS HOTTER CAUSING TURNOVER CONSTANTLY PUTTING THE RAVENS OFFENSE IN GOOD SCORING POSITION. THE ROAD THRU THE BOWL USUALLY GOES THRU NEW ENGLAND. THEREFORE WHY TRADE POLLARD WHO ALWAYS SEEMS TO SHOW UP VS THE PATRIOTS?? ELLERBE IS GOING TO BECOME ONE OF THE BEST LINEBACKERS IN THE GAME WHO LEAD THE RAVENS DEFENSE IN TACKLES. WHY GET RID OF SUCH A TALENTED LB IN HIM IS FOOLISH TO ME. I BLAME GREEDY JOE FLACCO. HE IS GETTING WHAT HE ASKS FOR WHICH IS BEING THE HIGHEST PAID QB IN THE LEAGUE WHILE STRIPPING ALL THE TALENT AROUND HIM WHICH BROUGHT HIM A SUPER BOWL RING!! HE KNEW WHAT WAS AT STAKE LAST YEAR WITH ALL THE UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS THE RAVENS WERE UP AGAINST. HE SHOULD HAD WALKED IN OZZIE NEWSOME OFFICE AND SAID THE FOLLOWING; “I WILL DEFER MONEY IN MY CONTRACT TO ENSURE KEY PLAYERS LIKE BOLDIN, POLLARD, AND ELLERBE ARE SIGNED. I WANT A DYNASTY TEAM HERE IN BALTIMORE WITH MORE CHAMPIONSHIPS TO FOLLOW. DONT WORRY ABOUT MY CONTRACT MAKE ME THE HIGHEST PAIS QB BUT IN DEFERRED MONEY PRIOR TO MY DEPARTURE IN BALTIMORE. TOM BRADY AND AJ HAWK DID THIS. WHY COULDNT GREEDY JOE FLACCO DO THIS?? THIS IS THE REASON WHY THIS TEAM SUCKS THIS YEAR.. I KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN IN BALTIMORE!!!

    • Derek ArnoldDerek Arnold on said:

      Joe isn’t the highest-paid QB in the league.

      There are also 3 guys on the team with higher 2013 cap numbers than Joe. So I guess that’s what you mean by “deferred money?” http://russellstreetreport.com/salary-cap/

      Joe isn’t “greedy,” and teams didn’t account for Anquan Boldin on every play. He couldn’t beat man coverage then and he still can’t now, that’s why his numbers are incredibly pedestrian in SF ever since Week 1 when GB played zone.

      There was plenty of money to keep Pollard if the Ravens wanted to. They obviously didn’t; you’re free to disagree with them on that, but it had nothing to do with whatever money Joe Flacco got. It was because they didn’t trust him to cover his mouth when he sneezed.

      http://russellstreetreport.com/bernard-pollard-is-a-fool/

    • Joe Polek on said:

      Today is International Caps Lock Awareness Day! Remember: Many consider CAPS LOCK as SHOUTING

      Eric…. the only people blaming Flacco’s contract are people that are not really paying attention and just firing off at the mouth. Anyone who has paid attention knows that Flacco’s contract is not the issue at all. Losing all those players was a TEAM decision (John, Ozzie, Steve). They choose to not re-sign those players because they could get the same output from cheaper options. Even sitting at 3-4, I have no problem with their offseason moves.

      • Flaccoluv on said:

        Sorry Joe, But if you don’t think the Flacco contract is an albatross around the Ravens neck, you are simply wrong. I don’t hate Flacco, but I di hate his contract. Even if he were a Top 5 QB, I would still think this is a bad deal foer the future, but Flacco is not a Top 5 QB.

        Flacco will carry a cap charge of $28.55 million in 2016, an unreasonable figure barring a gigantic leap in salary cap limits for a team. The Ravens can’t move on from him at that point either- his dead money charge is nearly $26 million. Even if he were to fail to live up to the lofty expectations of his contract the Ravens are already locked into $10.55 million in prorated charges in both 2016 and 2017. With $15.3 million in dead money in 2017 it more or less locks the Ravens into a second extension with Flacco that will see a price based on cap leverage as much as skill.

  11. Bob A. on said:

    I believe the on-side kick was successful, in that we recovered the ball. It was a bonehead player that was offsides that blew that play to hell. Good call, great execution but for one moron.

  12. Eric on said:

    When are we going to get past the fact that Flacco’s contract IS NOT THE REASON FOR LOSING SOME OF THESE PLAYERS?!?! Its seriously starting to get old and honestly really annoying. Flacco ONLY accounts for $6 million this year and for the next couple years. This number is LESS than his cap hit LAST YEAR. We need to keep in mind that some of these players were asking for WAY more money than they were worth. Boldin wanted $7 million. The man is at the end of his career and in case you haven’t noticed, he hasn’t done much in San Francisco this year. Pollard would have likely cost us quite a few games this year cause he refuses to change the way he tackles which means the refs were going to key in on him and throw the flag 9/10 times. Now think about what would’ve happened a couple years from now if we had paid all these players and they retired or we just couldnt pay them anymore, then we’re making a clean sweep of the team and that’s exactly what the Ravens were trying to avoid. Its the same thing that happened back when we won SB35. We tried to keep all of our star players and then fell apart for a couple years where we had to rebuild. Its not Flacco’s fault we lost our star players from last year and I believe he deserves a HELL of a lot more credit than we Ravens fans give him

    • Joe Polek on said:

      Eric…. the only people blaming Flacco’s contract are people that are not really paying attention and just firing off at the mouth. Anyone who has paid attention knows that Flacco’s contract is not the issue at all. Losing all those players was a TEAM decision (John, Ozzie, Steve). They choose to not re-sign those players because they could get the same output from cheaper options. Even sitting at 3-4, I have no problem with their offseason moves.

    • Flaccoluv on said:

      Eric, It is absolutely part of the reason they are shedding players. And it will be why we continue to shed players. Luckily, we will be drafting higher for the next several seasons, so we can re-build with low priced talent, cause that is all the Ravens will be able to afford. Consider this, Flacco will carry a cap charge of $28.55 million in 2016, an unreasonable figure barring a gigantic leap in salary cap limits for a team. The Ravens can’t move on from him at that point either- his dead money charge is nearly $26 million. Even if he were to fail to live up to the lofty expectations of his contract the Ravens are already locked into $10.55 million in prorated charges in both 2016 and 2017. With $15.3 million in dead money in 2017 it more or less locks the Ravens into a second extension with Flacco that will see a price based on cap leverage as much as skill.

      How high are those dead money charges? In Eli Manning’s similar record setting deal he carried dead money charges of $12.7 million and $7.6 million in the 4th and 5th years of his contract. Those numbers represented 13% and 7.8% of his overall contract charge and 77% and 41% of his cap charges in those seasons. Flacco’s numbers represent 21.4% and 12.7% of the overall deal and 90% and 49% of his cap figures. It’s a great contract for the player, perhaps the best in the NFL. For the team it’s a mess just waiting to happen.

  13. RAY G. on said:

    We lost to Bronco’s Packers Steelers & Bills based on who they are and how highly rated all of those teams are only one of those losses should never happen. Thats the Bills. Of all the games only 1 was by a blowout – 7 TDs allowed. Thats the Broncos – first game of year, no film to study, road game, high altitude, half our defense new playing together for first live game – ie not an easy game to win. The other three, as bad as it is to have lost them, they were by a total of 8 points. In the games since defense allowed 5 offensive TD’s 4 pass 1 run. One TD to Aaron Rodgers = Webbs only TD allowed since last year & 19 FG’s, Offense gave up 1 pick six. Even counting the Bronco’s game we allow average of 19.2 points per game. Penalties, & turnovers and mistakes allowed many of these to even occur. Our growth & learning curve as an offensive line with new center & a lazy Mckinney have limited our time of possession and also increased the points we have allowed or failed to score ourselves. I’m not saying there isn’t reason for concern, but our team is not as bad as things seem. Sure we’re not what thought we would see based on what we have on paper, but thats why they play the games. Joe is not the problem, John is taking some chances to change momemtum, or gain an advantage on the scoreboard, remember a chance taken can go either way, his went south. He takes the blame! So let it go, we can’t reverse it and we have to play better as a team. We have no time to dwell on the past. Future games are the focus ahead, 1 game at a time. Good teams & their fans overcome these hurdles and don’t turn on each other. Unite for good or divide & fail. Deboard bandwagon at rear if you’re scared, the Wagon rolls faster with less dead weight & its negative energy! Go Ravens the true Ravens fans got your back.

  14. PG County Raven on said:

    We’re in transition and right now it’s ugly. Don’t have any identity of what type of team we are trying to be and that’s frustrating as nothing is working as desired. Coaches coach and players execute. Offensively, the blocking scheme doesn’t fit the type of players we have on the O-line, thus poor coaching through an improper scheme. Defensively, poor player execution on the D-line and some at linebacker. Age/wear and tear (5 successive years of playoffs and strenuous off season training has caught up), inexperience and lack of grit and hunger (complacency) are obvious. Ngata gets stood straight up at the LOS and simply can’t move an o-linemen! Do players think other teams are just going to lie down because we are Ravens? Wrong! As Super Bowl champs we get everyone’s best game weekly regardless of who we put on the field and who is no longer there. With parity in the league, just maybe we no longer have the best scouting and player development departments as the next man concept is showing a significant dropoff in talent. We got one week to make adjustments and then it’s back to work. If we’re not successful over the next month it will be a disappointment but we’ll know where we stand! GO RAVENS!

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