Rob Long: Harbaugh And Flacco Are The Common Denominators

Week six of the National Football League season is underway and the Baltimore Ravens will play with a new Offensive Coordinator. The team parted ways with Marc Trestman and promoted Quarterbacks Coach Marty Mornhinweg. Trestman joined the team before the 2015 season but with the injuries the Ravens suffered, it appeared that Head Coach John Harbaugh was willing to look past the team’s 25th ranking in points scored.

The Ravens went out and signed wide receiver Mike Wallace in the off season to add to the return of veterans Steve Smith, Sr and Dennis Pitta, the offense was expected to have more fire power. Yet, Joe Flacco and company failed to put together consistent drives and utilize those weapons. Running back Terrance West had 95 yards on only 11 carries in week five, but his disappearing act in the fourth quarter was noteworthy. You just had the feeling that someone was going to pay for the team’s ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball.

That has been the modus operandi of the Baltimore Ravens.

In 2012, the team was not happy with the play calling of then Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron. After a loss to the Washington Redskins in D.C. they set Cameron free and promoted then Quarterbacks Coach Jim Caldwell. When fans talk about the Ravens run late in the 2012 season it always ends with the Lombardi Trophy. What many leave out is that the team went on to lose two out of three to finish the regular season with two, including a 34-17 loss in Caldwell’s debut as the team’s O.C. The team caught fire during the post-season and the rest is history.

Well, it’s only part of the history.

In 2013, Caldwell’s first full season, the Ravens’ offense proved to be worst than the 2012 version. Neither Ray Rice nor Bernard Pierce were up to the challenges that the ’13 campaign would bring and with Anquan Boldin’s departure Flacco suffered arguably his worst season ever. His completion percentage was just under 60% but he threw more interceptions (22) than touchdowns (19) and his passer rating was the lowest of his career (73.1). This led to, once again, the moaning of getting rid of the play caller.

Jim Caldwell took the Detroit Lions job and the team hired former Houston Texans’ Head Coach Gary Kubiak to straighten things out. He did, Flacco threw a career high 27 touchdowns while completing 62% of his passes to the tune of a passer rating of 91. Joe just fell just 14 yards shy of his first 4,000 yard season with free agent Steve Smith, Sr going over the 1,000 yard mark in receiving yards and veteran journeyman Justin Forsett having a career year with over 1,200 rushing yards. Many will tell you that Kubiak’s offense did not go through John Harbaugh. What happens when an former Head Coach has players produce like this? He gets another chance to be a Head Coach.

After Kubiak’s departure, the team named former Chicago Bears Head Coach Marc Trestman as the new O.C. Trestman has been around the block a few times with some of the games finer signal callers. Let’s see there was Bernie Kosar during his stint with the Cleveland Browns (1988-89) Kosar established a career high in passing yards (1989).

Then, there was Steve Young in San Francisco from 1995-96. Young twice led the league in completion percentage and once led in passer rating during Trestman’s two years with the team. No, Young did not “need” Trestman since he was already established as arguably the game’s best quarterback at the time, but Trestman’s presence did not hurt him either.

Marc Trestman also served as the Oakland Raiders’ Offensive Coordinator from 2011-03, and helped Rich Gannon win the NFL’s MVP in 2002 with over 4,600 yards passing with a completion percentage over 67 and a passer rating over 97. Marc Trestman was not a very good Head Coach in the National Football League. His track record suggests he was a pretty good offensive coordinator.

While the Baltimore Ravens continue to play musical chairs with their offensive brain trust, there are two people who have remained untouchable and those people are quarterback Joe Flacco and Head Coach John Harbaugh. This is the fifth Offensive Coordinators since “Harbs” rolled into town but only one QB and now with Trestman gone, you can bet if this offense doesn’t improve now, one, if not both, will have some explaining to do.

More from Rob Long

One Comment

  1. Careful Rob. Your listeners wearing those jammies with No. 5 on the back might be calling Dave LaBrozzi demanding your head on a platter. Good read!

  2. Marcus says:

    Get rid of Flacco and consider me gone as a fan…..Go ahead and free up my Sundays!!

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