...as the hiring of the third head coach in Baltimore Ravens history was announced yesterday evening just as I had predicted in Friday's posting. The deal was signed before dinner, but John Harbaugh wanted to take the limo back to Philly to tell his wife and family before speaking to the press. To me, a strong family man is a plus in any position. He certainly will need their support during the early months, as he will bascially live, eat and sleep at the Owings Mills training facility.
I can't tell you how many of my friends and acquaintances disagreed when I told him it would be a done deal before the day was out. No, they said, the Ravens will go after Marty Schottenheimer, who we need because of his record and style of leadership, blah, blah blah...
Sorry, but that was not what this team needs at this point. We needed and now have a progressive young, energetic leader that absolutely blew away the Ravens owner and leadership in both his interviews and the Ravens made sure this time that their target did not leave their offices without signing a contract. Harbaugh will surround himself with like-minded assistants, who will allow this team to get healthy, reload and contend next season. The veterans (Ray Lewis, Jon Ogden) will respect him, as he will in return, respect their ability to prepare for the season in the same manner that have led them to so many Pro Bowls over the last 12 years (yes, I believe this hiring will convince Ogden to return for one more season).
There is also an outside chance that former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan will return in some capacity if he does not get another head coaching job or similar gig elsewhere in the league. That, of course, would be up to Harbaugh, but one thing I'm sure of is that we'll see a much different offensive gameplan regardless of who the quarterback is.
So the next step is to wait and see how Harbaugh's staff fills out over the next few days and weeks. No matter what, the off season will continue to be an exciting time as we prepare for free agency and the NFL Draft over the next few months.
Welcome to Baltimore, John!