Are John & Joe the Coordinator Killers?

Street Talk Are John & Joe the Coordinator Killers?

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Reality: Marty Mornhinweg is the Ravens offensive coordinator… for now.

Perception: How would you feel if you left work and turned on the news to see that your boss just said that the project you just completed was the “all-time worst”?

That’s what Head Coach John Harbaugh did on Sunday evening and he reiterated it again on Monday at his press conference. He may have backed off a little bit on Monday by saying “we probably got a little greedy,” but he still said it was terrible. Harbaugh tried to take responsibility for not vetoing the play call and changing it, but he shouldn’t have to do that. You hire an OC to call the plays because the Head Coach has enough other things to worry about. If the HC has to figure out if he wants to veto each play as it’s called in, we’ll have even more wasted time outs or delays of game than we already do.

It’s time for the Ravens HC and OC to be on the same page.

Reality: Joe Flacco is the Ravens quarterback, but does not lead the offense.

Perception: It doesn’t seem to matter who the OC is, there are still issues. But another problem might be that we are also seeing a QB who agrees with the OC. For example, on Sunday, Joe Flacco not only heard the play call but instead of changing it in the huddle or checking out of it at the line, he ran it and threw a terrible pass.

It’s obvious that Flacco isn’t calling his own plays and doesn’t seem like he is able to do it, even if the coaches allowed it. Flacco said he liked the aggressive play call, but he still made a bone-headed throw. I love being aggressive too, but it seems like all the aggressive plays the Ravens have tried this year have failed miserably.

Reality: John Harbaugh is the Ravens head coach, but not their play caller.

Perception: This is where things get interesting. Harbaugh lets his OC call the plays, but it seems that Harbaugh dictates within the situation. So if it’s 4th down, the HC might say “go for it” and then the OC calls the play and the QB runs the play. But for me, something is off about this whole thing.

Harbaugh said earlier this season that he was going to be aggressive on offense. But that aggressiveness has cost the Ravens points and even wins. Never once was the OC brought into the conversation. Then as things are getting heated with the season on the line, Harbaugh calls out the OC on a terrible play call saying the situation was not the time for it. I think most of Maryland would say the same thing about the other “aggressive” play calls earlier in the year.

NFL on Fox showed a stat on Sunday that really made me scratch my head. It showed that Mornhinweg has called nearly the exact same percentage of runs and passes as Marc Trestman did this season. But wasn’t part of the reason Trestman was fired was to get a more balanced attack? And that goes to something else I’ve been saying… nothing changes with the Ravens offense, no matter who the OC is.

Matt Cavanaugh, Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell were all ineffective. Gary Kubiak was really good, but that’s why he became a head coach. Trestman and Mornhinweg are essentially the same.

Does the buck stop with Harbaugh? I know he has a background as a special teams coach and it’s probably why he wants to hire former Head Coaches as his offensive coordinators, but something must change. Either they need to find a younger, innovative offensive mind, or Harbaugh is going to need to step aside with the realization that he can’t get the most out of an offense.

Just think about the number of years the Ravens have had playmakers and still can’t make anything happen on offense.

Reality: Terrance West has set a personal record in rushing yards this season.

Perception: I don’t know where this West was in Cleveland or Tennessee, but the West that plays in Baltimore is a bruiser and a legit starting running back.

Against the Raiders, West went for 113 yards. Against the Redskins, West had 95 yards rushing. He added 87 against the Giants. Against the Browns and Dolphins, West and Kenneth Dixon combined for over 100 yards and against the Bengals they nearly had 100 combined yards again.

West went for 77 tough yards on Sunday, and now is averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Dixon has 281 yards on the season and is averaging 4.3 yards per carry. That two-headed monster is just fine by me… if only they’d be used more often! We have seen the two backs be successful when given the opportunity and the Ravens have also been successful when they are running well.

Reality: Justin Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history.

Perception: It’s always nice to have “best ever” associated with your team. Best defense ever, and now best kicker ever. And Tucker is just so darn fun to watch. Maybe his on-field antics would annoy me if he played for someone else, but for now, he doesn’t, and so I am enjoying it.

Reality: The Steelers lead the regular season series 21-20 against the Ravens.

Perception: Ravens and Steelers. Steelers and Ravens. It doesn’t matter who is playing or where it’s been played, it’s still the best rivalry in the NFL. The MMQB is doing another feature on Ravens/Steelers this week because the game always means so much. It’s no different this weekend.

If the Steelers win, they win the AFC North and the Ravens could be out of the playoffs. If the Ravens win, they are one win away from another AFC North title and a home playoff game.

This game could all come down to the Ravens defense. If they play as they have the last two weeks, there is no chance they win on Christmas. But if Jimmy Smith can play, and the Ravens can stop Le’Veon Bell, then they have a much better chance.

Pittsburgh’s offense is ranked 7th in the NFL, 5th in passing and 11th in rushing.

Baltimore’s defense has fallen to 5th in the NFL, 10th against the pass and 2nd against the run.

As of now, the forecast is pretty mild in the Steel City on Sunday afternoon with temperatures expected to be around 50 degrees with possible showers.

The Ravens haven’t won on the road since September. I’m not sure how I see the Ravens winning this game, not with what I’ve seen on the field the last couple of weeks. I will hope for the best, but…

Steelers win 27-17.

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Joe Polek

About Joe Polek

Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. He lived in Maine from 2001-2012, where he met his wife and had two daughters. He now resides in Columbia, SC where he has left TV/Radio and is the South Carolina Marketing Coordinator for Bojangles’ Restaurants. Joe is a huge sports fan, but most importantly he lives and breathes Baltimore (and Maryland) sports. He routinely gets back to Baltimore for a Ravens and Orioles game once a year. A couple of his highlights were being at the final game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, and also sitting in left field for “2130”, and “2131” (Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak).

Find Joe on Twitter @JoePolek.

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