Just four years ago, John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens were Super Bowl Champions. Riding the emotional momentum of Ray Lewis‘ retirement, Harbaugh and the Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers, coached by his brother Jim Harbaugh. That, paired with a legendary post-season from quarterback Joe Flacco, had people believing Harbaugh had become one of the NFL’s best young coaches. They were wrong.
The Baltimore Ravens Need to Part Ways With John Harbaugh
Since that Super Bowl win, the Baltimore Ravens have a losing record, winning only 26 of their 55 games. They haven’t finished better than third in the AFC North over that span, and they’ve had a revolving door at offensive coordinator.
When John Harbaugh first became head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, he had a good draft. Back in 2008, he drafted both Ray Rice and Joe Flacco. Rice was a decent back for a couple of years and Joe Flacco is the franchise’s all-time leading passer. These two brought youth to a veteran team.
When Flacco and Rice came to the team, they joined the likes of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Bart Scott, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata. This unit made up one of the NFL’s best defenses. This defense helped carry the young offense, but eventually, many of these players left in free agency or just retired.
As a result, it’s been up to Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome to replace them. And for the most part, they’ve failed. C.J. Mosley has been decent for the Ravens, but he’s certainly no Ray Lewis. The secondary has been a disaster, and on offense, their best additions have been veteran receivers like Steve Smith Sr. and Anquan Boldin.
As players like Jason Campbell can tell you, changing the offensive coordinator every year makes life almost impossible. Since 2012, Joe Flacco has had Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell, Gary Kubiak, Marc Trestman, and now Marty Mornhinweg as his offensive coordinators. That’s five different offensive coordinators in only four years.
Five different offenses, five different schemes, and five different languages. Many people have been critical of Joe Flacco’s inability to develop, but it’s easy to see why. Peyton Manning‘s only offensive coordinator over the first decade of his career was Tom Moore. How is Joe Flacco ever supposed to develop as a passer with five different coordinators?
At some point, Harbaugh’s ability to find offensive coaches has to be called into question. As a head coach, shouldn’t he have an idea of the offense he wants his team to run? One or two misses is fine, but five in four years? That’s ridiculous.
As you may recall, the coach before Harbaugh was Brian Billick. Perhaps John Harbaugh should look back at Billick’s run as coach of the Ravens as his seat grows warmer. It was a 5-11 season that got Billick fired, but in the previous three seasons, he won 28 of 48 games. That means he actually had a higher win percentage than Harbaugh before the 5-11 season did him in.
And it’s not like Billick’s Ravens fell apart either. He was fired after the 2007 season, but in 2006, the Ravens won 13 games and had a first round bye. If one bad year was enough to fire their last Super Bowl winning head coach, then Ozzie Newsome can’t be happy with the consistent mediocrity that Harbaugh has brough to the table since the Super Bowl.
2016 and Beyond
The Ravens started out 3-0 this year, but have lost four straight. They’ve fired their offensive coordinator, and quarterback Joe Flacco is already nursing injuries. Even with Ben Roethlisberger injured, the Pittsburgh Steelers are still in position to win the AFC North. There’s still time to turn things around, but it’s slowly running out. If the Ravens miss the playoffs again, it might be time to part ways with John Harbaugh.