It’s the holiday season. The time of year devoted to family, relaxation, and fun. And, for underachieving NFL teams, the time of year for firing. For the next couple of weeks, there will be countless reports and endless speculation on which coaches and general managers are on the "hot seat"- a term given to those who might get fired. Already this season, Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texans has been shown the door.
As a precursor, John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome are not going anywhere. Dean Pees, the defensive coordinator, is probably safe too. Juan Castillo’s rocky relationship with the Ravens has been well documented this season. I am not concerned with any of them. This is about Jim Caldwell.
Jim Caldwell came over to Baltimore the offseason before last. After coaching Peyton Manning (being coached by Peyton Manning?) as a quarterback coach and then head coach, Caldwell was fired after his Peyton-less-Colts finished last in the NFL.
The hope was that Caldwell could come in and help another tall, strong-armed quarterback in Joe Flacco take the step to the next level. With a couple weeks left in the season, the Ravens Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron was fired and Caldwell was promoted into his spot. The move, at the time, proved successful as Flacco went on to have one of the greatest post-season performances of a quarterback ever, to the tune of 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a Super Bowl MVP.
That was then. This is now. The Ravens are 26th in points per game, 29th in yards per game, 19th in pass yards per game, and 28th in rush yards per game. It gets uglier. Ray Rice, once a top tier running back, is averaging 3.1 yards per carry. Bernard Pierce, once one of the most promising running backs in the league, is averaging 2.8 yards per carry. Joe Flacco has been sacked 46 times for 307 yards, which is nearly half of Ray Rice’s rushing yards this season.
I could keep going on, but I will not. You get the point. The offensive line has struggled. There have been injuries. A lot of the players are young. The team lost a lot of leadership. These are the excuses that have floated around this season.
This is the National Football League. Only the best of the best get to play in it; only the best of the best get to coach in it. The best do not make excuses. In an offensive dominated league, it is easily understood why the Ravens are currently struggling at 8-7. They just got dominated at home 41-7 by the New England Patriots in the Ravens’ worst offensive outing of the year. This is not the time of year for playoff caliber teams to regress.
The Ravens have talent- there is no questioning that. It is time to make a change in who coaches the talent. Marc Trestman and Chip Kelly, two new NFL head coaches, have brought their new offensive systems to the NFL and had overwhelming success. There is no reason why Harbaugh cannot bring in somebody similar as an exciting new offensive coordinator.
As the holiday season comes around and firing season begins, be on the lookout for Jim Caldwell’s name.
Merry Christmas Ravens Fans
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