If you’re a member of Ravens Nation and you’re like me, chances are you’ve been riding high all off season. We made some great acquisitions, and then Ozzie capped it, and his tenure with the team, off with the most skillfully crafted draft we’ve seen in many years. I haven’t felt this good about the players on the Ravens since February 3rd, 2013.
But there’s more to the Ravens than a 53 man roster. What happens on the field is executed by the players, but starts from the top down. Let’s talk about the coaches, because we haven’t made any changes there at all. And we haven’t made the playoffs in the past 3 years. At all.
Owner Steve Bisciotti clearly likes continuity in terms of management. He’s a smart businessman, and he realizes that turnover behind the scenes is a big factor causing other businesses, like the Browns for instance, to fail. Inconsistency in management equals consistency in losing. With the exception of defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who retired promptly after the Ravens missed the playoffs, and then, also promptly, joined the Tennessee Titans, everything on the coaching end is staying exactly the same. Pees was even replaced internally, by linebackers coach Wink Martindale.
So now, Martindale, Marty Mornhingweg on the offense, and head coach John Harbaugh, have a big job to do. Ozzie and DeCosta got them the weapons they asked for on the field. And now let’s see what these coaches can do with them.
This is a critical season for Harbaugh. He has got to make the playoffs, with Joe Flacco at quarterback. As I mentioned, it will be the first time in 3 years, each of which ended with respective records of 5-11, 8-8, and 9-7. I like that uphill trend, but champions usually win more than 9 regular season games.
Best case scenario this year, the Ravens win the Super Bowl (I hope I hope I hope!). In that case, everybody stays. On the coaching side, I mean, because Joe Flacco would definitely retire and go home to coach/parent his roster of children (after he gets his McDonald’s meal, which is what he did right after the last Super Bowl he won). Harbaugh gets hailed as a Super Bowl winner, again, and everybody forgets that awful, frustrating blip between 2013 and 2017.
Even if we make the playoffs and fall short of the championship game, my money says Harbaugh stays. Bisciotti likes his system, and he’ll already be dealing with a major changeup in personnel staff with Ozzie Newsome’s impending “departure” (although it’s pretty widely agreed upon that Ozzie will still have a say in player selection). Other changes might be made on the coaching staff, and those changes will depend on where the weak areas unfold. With the depth that the Ravens have now at wide receiver, if the receiving corps doesn’t execute, then the first person to go is Bobby Engram. Engram will be starting his fifth season at the helm of the wideouts and slot guys.
If the Ravens don’t make the playoffs, Bisciotti might just have to take a knee on John Harbaugh. I hope this doesn’t happen and I don’t think it will. I like Harbaugh, we’ve already seen that he’s a winner, and there’s the argument that it takes more than one season to affect major change on a team. I really believe that Harbaugh can get the Ravens back on top, at least on top of the AFC North. Remember that the Ravens discarded several players on the Super Bowl team right after they won. Bisciotti and the rest of management knows that they’ve been rebuilding. Now, with this roster, the rebuilding process is over. The Ravens have rebuilt. I’m confident Harbs can get this team back where it needs to be. And I hope we’ll be seeing him next year.