It was tough for Raven’s fans to see 2014 Offensive Coordinator, Gary Kubiak, jump ship to take over as the Broncos Head Coach (his “dream job”). Under Kubiak the Ravens offense set several franchise records & were a play or 2 away from another AFC Championship Game appearance.
Enter Marc Trestman. Trestman has had a long career in football with a lot of success & a few failures, including his 2014 campaign (and 2nd year) as Chicago Bears Head Coach that got him fired after a 5-11 season and made him available to the Ravens.
Trestman is famously called “The Quarterback Whisperer” for his success with QBs going back to Steve Young, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testeverde, Rich Gannon & including a surprise 2013 working with NFL journeyman Josh McCown for a good part of the season when the Bears were the 2nd highest scoring offense in the NFL.
Unfortunately (for Bears Fans) you can’t add Jay Cutler to that list. He had a bad season where he threw 18 picks under Trestman & was benched for back-up Jimmy Clausen.
It’s not unreasonable that after 2 season as Head Coach in Chicago, where they missed the playoffs both years, many Chicago fans, media & some players are shaking their heads at the Ravens hiring of Trestman.
A CBS Chicago blogger went as far as to “warn” Baltimore about Trestman when he was hired.
“[Trestman] is also the same guy that set the Chicago Bears franchise back years with his incompetence. And he’s seducing Ravens fans with the same “grow the football” hypnotic junk we in Chicago fell for two years ago before he and his phrenology clinic were unceremoniously sent packing.
“Ravens fans can join the Trestman Survivors support group with Bears fans, Oakland Raiders fans and anyone else burned by a guy who coached in 10 cities under 17 head coaches prior to his stint in the Canadian Football League and has been fired eight times in his career now.”
“And now not enough questions are being asked in Baltimore. We in Chicago are trying to tell them over there. But it seems like they prefer to learn the hard way.”
While we feel his pain, we just can’t agree that his track record as head coach in Chicago will translate to the same misery for Baltimore.
Here’s 5 reasons Trestman will succeed as the Offensive Coordinator for the Ravens:
1. He’s not the Head Coach.
We’ve got a winner in Coach John Harbaugh. I don’t know what magic Ozzie & Bisciotti saw in a Special Teams coach, but they saw it & Harbaugh has delivered. The Ravens have been a consistent winner since his arrival regardless of his staff choices. Leadership is hard to quantify in a numbers driven league, but the Ravens have it.
2. We’ve heard it before.
Some coaches are better at being coordinators than head coaches, it’s a different skill set. So, while Trestman may not have been cut out to lead in Chicago, that really has very little impact on his ability to call plays & create game plans in Baltimore in a quality organization.
When The Ravens hired Cam Cameron as OC he was coming off a disastrous stint as Head Coach in Miami, he was good for the Ravens & Flacco & helped turned a historically poor offense into a competent NFL scoring offense. When Cam’s effectiveness sputtered, John Harbaugh & the Ravens fired him for Jim Caldwell in season. Caldwell was mostly known as Peyton Manning’s hand holder in Indy, but as the Ravens OC he helped guide the Ravens offense to a second Superbowl championship.
Gary Kubiak had some success as a Head Coach for the Texans, but never got over the hump & only made the playoffs twice in 8 years & was fired in-season in his final 2-11 season. Then he comes to Baltimore & helps the Ravens set the franchise record in points scored & parlayed his success into another head coaching position after just 1 year.
3. Joe Flacco
It’s not fair to blame a poor season of an entire team on one player or person, so we won’t join the “Blame Cutler Club”, but he is sorta the anti-Flacco. A much talked about draft prospect who really has never accomplished that much in the NFL despite the amount of ink he has always generated. He’s never won more than 10 games in a season, and he’s only done that twice in 9 years & he’s only made the playoffs once winning 1 game. He’s definitely capable of incredible plays, but also can be very erratic.
Joe on the other hand has only won less than 10 games twice in his career & only missed the playoffs once & had more playoff wins as a rookie than Cutler has had in his entire career. His steady play doesn’t lend itself to headlines outside of Baltimore usually, but the way he elevates his game in the playoffs is legendary & historic. He holds numerous NFL records including Most touchdowns in a postseason: 11 (tied with Joe Montana and Kurt Warner), Most road playoff wins by a quarterback: 7, Most touchdowns without an interception in a postseason: 11 (tied with Joe Montana) and many others.
If just a few “whispers” from Trestman help elevate Joe’s game, look out NFL!
4. Organizational strength
The Ravens have one of the best organizations in football. Ozzie Newsome is accepted by his peers as one of the top GMs year after year & continually stocks the roster with quality players at great value. Ownership has been consistent & steady from Art Modell to Steve Bisciotti & have only had 3 head coaches in 19 years of existence with 2 Superbowl wins. Chicago is a proud, historic franchise, but since their last Superbowl win in 1985 (whom Ravens fans are often proud to compare that defense with the Ravens 2000 defense as the 2 best of all time) they really haven’t had much success. A Superbowl loss in 2006 with Rex Grossman(!) at the helm and…..not much else since the Ditka era despite some hall of fame quality players. Usually that kind of long-term track record is indicative of some organizational issues, not simply an issue with a coach or players.
Gary Kubiak gave the Ravens organization the highest of compliments from a veteran coach during his press conference with the Broncos to formally announce his hiring as head coach. “I really can’t explain the value of last year for me as a coach, being around John Harbaugh, being around that organization, being around Ozzie Newsome, watching them go about their business, how they go about being successful week-in-and-week-out. I take all that with me as I move forward and I know I’m a lot better coach now than I was when I left. ”
5. He’s Good and a good fit.
Maybe he’s not the Head coaching type, but he knows football, quarterbacks & Xs & Os as well as anyone out there. He’s been to a lot of cities, but he’s also worked under legendary coaches including Bud Grant, George Seifert, Jon Gruden, Jimmy Johnson and Pete Carroll.
He was also the Offensive Coordinator for a Cleveland Browns team that featured Ozzie Newsome at tight end in 1988 & 1989
His low-key, thoughtful style should work well with the equally reserved Flacco.
Unburdened of the Management & personality juggling responsibilities of a head coach & able to do what he does best, the Ravens should be able to look forward to another competitive season with Trestman at the helm of the offense.
The Bears have made some quality hires with Head Coach John Fox & OC Adam Gase (who was up for the Ravens OC opening), but if they can’t get consistent play out of Jay Cutler & utilize Matt Forte & Brandon Marshall the correct way they’ll surely be warning some other city about something next season as well.
Web Administrator for CBS Radio Baltimore – Ravens, Orioles & snark enthusiast.