A head coach going from winning a Super Bowl to the hot seat seems hard to believe, but it’s becoming the reality for John Harbaugh with the Baltimore Ravens.
The Baltimore Ravens will forever be grateful for the success they endured under John Harbaugh for several years, eventually culminating in a Super Bowl win. Since hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in 2013, however, the Ravens have been an overall mediocre football team. Harbaugh seems to be heading down a similar path to his predecessor Brian Billick before he was fired.
Change and a fresh start can, at times, do wonders for a football team. Just look at the Los Angeles Rams this year. After several seasons of disappointment under head coach Jeff Fisher, they decided to move on and hire Sean McVay. The Rams have surprised everyone this season and currently sit at first place in the NFC West with a record of 6-2. A new coach completely turned things around for them.
Fans also need look no further than John Harbaugh himself for an example of this.
After some down years under Billick, the Ravens decided to go in a different direction and hire Harbaugh. The Ravens enjoyed several years of success under him, but lately, things have gotten stale. Since winning the Super Bowl the Ravens have gone 8-8, 10-6, 5-11, 8-8, and are currently 4-5 this season. I truly don’t believe Harbaugh is the person to blame for this (more on this coming), but after a certain point, a coach must stop receiving excuses.
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It’s worth noting, though, that the Ravens have suffered a staggering number of injuries in recent years — especially in 2015, when they finished 5-11. The team has once again been dealt injury after injury this year. This is out of the head coach’s control, but he has to make do the best he can with what he has.
Missed draft picks and a lack of quality playmakers have also been a factor. First- and second-round picks Matt Elam and Arthur Brown in 2013 were both huge busts. 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman also looks to be a big misfire at the moment. Missing on so many high round draft picks has left the Ravens with a lack of star power. Ozzie Newsome has failed John in this regard.
At the same time, though, there is blame for the head coach in regards to things within his control. It’s no secret that Marty Mornhinweg is a bad offensive coordinator. Yet, Harbaugh elected to keep him around after he failed to commit to running the ball and throwing downfield. Mornhinweg doesn’t put this offense in a position to truly succeed and Harbaugh has to know that deep down.
Harbaugh’s loyalty to his friend seems to be too strong though. The same can be said for defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who has fielded many underwhelming defenses, despite the talent he has had to work with. I think Harbaugh is way too lenient with Joe Flacco as well. Flacco needs someone to push him like we saw when he enjoyed his best season under Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator in 2014.
John Harbaugh is a great coach, but his time in Baltimore may need to end unless things are turned around quickly. Owner Steve Bisciotti’s patience has to be wearing thin at this point, as are the fans.