Harbaugh Unfairly Criticized

Harbaugh headset 1

It’s good to be back.

Since we last spoke, the Ravens disappointing season ended. It’s clear the final result didn’t equate to the goals players, coaches and fans had. We all wanted the Ravens to do better. We all thought they could do better. But they missed the playoffs. They earned what they got—an early offseason.

Since then, John Harbaugh made the move to hire Gary Kubiak as his offensive coordinator, in addition to three other offensive coaches.

I don’t know if the decision was Harbaugh’s alone, but I will say with certainty that he was an integral part in the Kubiak hire. There have been skeptics among media and fans that say Harbaugh was (more or less) a non-factor in this process.

So Kubiak has dinner at Harbaugh’s house and talks with him for “numerous hours” the night before he’s hired and continually mentions that Harbaugh was the main reason he decided to coach for the Ravens, but Harbaugh had nothing to do with it?
Sure. That makes sense.

If hiring Kubiak wasn’t a “Harbaugh move,” who cares?

So what, Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome don’t trust Harbaugh anymore? Give me a break.

Bisciotti trusted Harbaugh enough to give him a raise last September, from $4 million to $7 per year, while extending his contract through 2016.

Steve Bisciotti is very wealthy and can afford the raise he gave to Harbaugh, but he wouldn’t just throw that money away. He made that decision because he believes in Harbaugh long-term.

In no way am I saying Harbaugh has done everything right, but the man has given everyone more than enough reason to believe in him and his coaching prowess. He’s tied with Mike McCarthy as the third-winningest active coach in the league (64.6 percent).

In the playoffs, Harbaugh’s win rate increases. He holds the highest postseason winning percentage among all active coaches (69.2 percent). That’s also good for fifth-best all-time among coaches who’ve coached in at least 10 playoff games.

It’s almost absurd to defend a man that just won a Super Bowl and has done nothing but win since he got to Baltimore.

Getting back to the Kubiak hire, I believe it was a good one. He had direct influence on Steve Young and John Elway when they combined to win three Super Bowls.

Kubiak also helped Arian Foster record three seasons of 1,600-plus scrimmage yards and 12 or more all-purpose touchdowns. Kubiak’s best player in Houston, Andre Johnson, holds the second-best receiving yards per game average (82.2) in NFL history. His offenses finished ranked in the top 10 in four of his eight seasons in Houston.

We know how accomplished Harbaugh and Kubiak are, but the Ravens have added three more coaches to their offensive staff this offseason. How do their resumes look?

Rick Dennison goes from being Houston’s offensive coordinator to Baltimore’s quarterbacks coach. Brian Pariani, who coached Houston’s tight ends last year, will hold the same title in Baltimore this year. He also coached with Kubiak in San Francisco. Thomas Hammock, who’s coached Wisconsin’s running backs since 2011, will coach the Ravens running backs in 2014.

Kubiak, Dennison and Pariani all coached together in Denver and won two Super Bowls (1997, 1998). Kubiak and Dennison also coached together in San Francisco when the 49ers won the Super Bowl in 1994. From 2011-13, Hammock helped lead Wisconsin to average rankings of 11th in rushing yards per game and 9th in rushing touchdowns per year (out of 120 NCAA FBS (Division 1-A) teams).

Time will tell if all these additions will be helpful or disruptive. Usually this amount of change doesn’t lead to success, but NFL teams don’t usually acquire this many quality coaches in one offseason.

One thing is for sure: John Harbaugh is a proven coach and he’s here to stay. If he coaches even one year past his current contract, he’d be the longest-tenured head coach in Ravens history (10 seasons).

Only 12.7 percent of every NFL head coach there ever was has coached a team for at least 10 seasons.

No one stays in that position in this league by accident.

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About Mike Fast

Mike Fast
I was born and raised in Baltimore. But after a year at York College of Pennsylvania, I transferred to Towson University. At York and Towson, I hosted various radio shows, wrote for the school paper, spoke on a panel RE: college game day presentation at IBS conference in Manhattan and...more

15 Raves on “Harbaugh Unfairly Criticized

  1. Reading Comments on said:

    Take Flacco away, and see how much success Harbaugh has.
    Flacco was frustrating to watch last year, And even with the line issues, and no ground game I still thought there were times that he could have played much better. That 4th and 3 against New England still drives me nuts!
    Still, were would we have been without him?
    So what about Harbaugh? I just wonder at times what he is thinking/ looking at while out there on the field during games.
    It never gets mentioned but the AFC Championship game debacle from a few years ago was on him as much as anybody else save Evans holding the ball like a loaf of bread. Remember him running up the sideline grabbing somebody by the collar, like he didn’t know what was going on, and then rushing Cundiff out there who missed the kick. HE STILL HAS THAT TIME OUT HE COULD HAVE USED TO GET HIS KICKER READY INSTEAD OF THINKING GEE, HE WILL MAKE THE KICK, AND THEN WE WILL DO WHAT WITH THAT TIME OUT?
    He still does crazy stuff like this during games, and you will never see his brother Jim doing this dumb crap!
    That is the problem I, and many others have problems with.
    And don’t give me but Jim hasn’t won, and John has. Both could have won with Flacco!

    • John P. on said:

      I agree with you completely. Harbs isn’t an incompetent coach for sure. But he’s done some outright stupid things (Green Bay, @Squealers). He’s been fortunate to coach Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Joe Flacco, & Ray Rice. Those guys will get you a lot of wins.

      Personally, I think Mike’s drunk on Raven’s Kool Aid. We’ve got a good team. We’re solid. But we need help, and unless Harbs suddenly transforms into Belichic, he’s going to need a strong dose of humility to get us there.

      • NobleSas on said:

        “and unless Harbs suddenly transforms into Belichic”

        Who, Belichek? The guy who in the last 10 years has lost two straight Super Bowls and now two straight AFC Championship Games? I sure hope Harbaugh doesn’t suddenly transform into that guy.

  2. JN on said:

    Take away Flacco? Are you really saying Harbs is successful because of an inconsistent, ‘B’ level quarterback? In that case where would Tom Coughlin, Mike Tomlin, John Fox, Mike McCarthy, Marvin Lewis and even Bill B without their QB’s (and before you say it, I know the Pats won 11 games w/o Brady but they didn’t beat a single winning team and they didn’t make the playoffs). Shanahan had Elway, Walsh had Montana. How much would John win with Aaron Rodgers? You won’t find many coaches who have won games consistently without a QB, but not all can win a SB. And as far as Harbs’ head-scratching decisions, name me a coach who doesn’t make them every game. If you get on other team’s fan pages, you will see plenty of criticism for Andy Reid, Marvin Lewis, John Pagano, Bill Belichick and especially John Fox. It’s all part of the job…no HC or GM is perfect. All I know is Harbs wins consistenty w/o the benefit of the most talented QB or the most talented roster and that has to mean something.

  3. mark on said:

    be very careful what you wish for because you just might get it..success of the Ravens have definitely spoiled the fans..one more time I will run down the Raven 5 year run..and you tell me how many treams out there will take this over what they currently have..5 playoof appearances..2 div titles..three afc title games..i afc championship..i superbowl championship..pretty good if you ask me..AND THAT IS NOT KOOL AID..ask yourself..how do you think the dummy up the beltway would feel about that 5 year span in Washington?..or the long suffering fans in Minnesota,or Jacksonville,cleveland…I think we have it pretty good here with the organization that we are blessed to have..if it takes the Ravens a minute to reset and gear up for another run..i trust that they know what they are doing..appreciate what you have..because someday it could be gone….RAVENS-4-LIFE

  4. John P. on said:

    Like it or not, Flacco’s been money in the playoffs. Were it not for Evans & Cundiff, that arm would have ridden us to a second Super Bowl as well.

    With all due respect, I’m perplexed by your notion that we haven’t had “the most talented roster” over the last several years. Let’s see…

    Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs have 4 Defensive MVPs amongst them. Then there’s guys like Haloti Ngata, Lardarius Webb, Paul Kruger, and Danelle Ellerbe who all earned a pretty penny either from the Ravens or via free-agency.

    Now to the offensive side of the ball. Flacco earned his money doing things that nobody but Montana ever did. Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin, Marshall Yanda, Jason Brown, Ben Grubbs, etc. – same deal.

    And then there’s Jacoby.

    The team has had talent throughout the Harbaugh era. We consistently rank among teams with the most all-pros for a reason.

    • JN on said:

      John P., I love the Ravens just as much as the next fan but the truth is all of those players you named have been great for the Ravens but not many of them are looked upon as great league-wide over the last few years. Ray and Ed are all time greats but neither has been great the last few years. And as far as All Pro’s go, Ravens had 1 in 2013 (a kicker) and 4 in 2012 (a FB & KR 1st team and a G and DT 2nd team). KC had 5 all pros this season and Cle had 4, including 3 on offense, not to mention what teams like Den, NE, SF & Sea had. There’s a big difference between players who are very good for us and players who are amongst the best in the league and the Ravens don’t have as many of those as other teams like KC, Den, Sea, SF, Cin, NE or even Cle and we don’t have a perennial top 8 QB (altho Joe has been great in the playoffs), which goes to my initial point about Harbs being a pretty good coach.

  5. John on said:

    Mike Preston was correct! Harbs is a good man but an average coach at best, very sloppy, hard headed, and doesn’t like to change or adapt because he and his former coaching staff are lazy, and they didn’t have the brains to do it. Look at last year, same old plays and same old formations, didn’t matter that the other team had figured us out so easy;they just ran the same old tired script. It looks like this year someone put their foot down ( ummmmm the owner) and stopped the insanity. If he didn’t, you would have the same old man OC we did last year with the same boring wide receivers coach with the same old easy to figure out offense with all the ravens fans raising hell bitching and moaning, but hey! you better not criticize the Ravens like Mike Preston are your no better then Satan himself! Get over it! Preston was %100 correct. The owner and front office got these new coaches and you should be glad they did!

    • Nancy on said:

      Wow John thanks for your insight, no brains, lazy etc. I hope you did not enjoy the superbowl win last year since it was a stupid lazy achievement!

    • Not John on said:

      It’s people like John here who give Ravens fans a bad name. John’s a great coach and Mike Preston makes money off the small minded.

      Oh, and thanks for supporting my argument %100 before I even typed it. (It might take you a while to get that).

  6. Action Jackson on said:

    Coach John is an arrogant clown who was jealous of Ray Lewis influence with the team, let our best receiver go to his brother’s team so he could win the superbowl. He brought in bad coaches and I can go on and on. You don’t pay Belicheck money to this coach to get this type of performance. Get rid of coach John because we can do better.

  7. john on said:

    You’re right action, Harbs is a fraud. He just won in spite of all the buffoonery because of the skill of players like Ray and Ed and their leadership. I’m so happy they brought these new coaches in. You can see the writing on the wall can’t you all??? That new OC they brought in might be your new Ravens head coach if Harbs keeps it up.

  8. Hollywoidheiz on said:

    Harbaugh haters, name other AFC coaches that has had as much success as our coach since he has been here. Then after you are finished ,name the coach who you would have replace him. I’m sure you geniuses would amuse us with the usual Gruden Cower, Saben , and all the rest of your pipe dream replacements. Find another hobby. Watch the Olympics, many of us out here are so tired of your Harbaugh rants. Besides, YOU are not his boss anyhow.

  9. John P on said:

    Not the same “John”, but some of “John’s” points are valid (even if they weren’t terribly well spoken).

    We don’t adjust well. Our team need to do a better job of self-scouting, which will help that cause. Additionally, “Harbs” is hard-headed. Not sure anyone disagrees with that statement.

    The rest of it sounds like a meaningless rant. Nobody in the NFL is lazy. And nobody’s stupid. As far as Bisciotti’s influence, who knows how deep it runs. Then again, if the Kubiak succeeds, who cares either?

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