The Ravens barely squeaked into the playoffs and have looked flat at times this season while even be outcoached in a few games. That doesn't mean that John Harbaugh shouldn't be in the running for Coach Of The Year for 2014. Looking around at the guys getting pink slips on Black Monday, you see a few coaches lead their teams to a woeful record despite having a decent roster supporting them. Just look at what Harbaugh had to work with this season for a full insight on why the Ravens' head coach deserves to at least be mentioned around the award.
An amazing 18 players on Injured Reserve, second highest in the NFL for 2014. The team with more guys on IR is the 6-10 New York Giants. The Ravens list of guys down for the year include starting corner Jimmy Smith, starting tight end Dennis Pitta, two long snappers and just about every single player in the secondary that the Ravens could find to suit up. It became so ridiculous throughout the season that there were jokes being made about fans lining up at the stadium for tryouts. Even without the injuries, the Ravens have had to contend with losing their best offensive player in Ray Rice due to his off-field activity and subsequent release. If that wasn't enough, the amount of media attention that it received all season long could have easily been a major distraction for most teams, let alone a team that had so many injuries at major spots.
Now counting all of that in, the Ravens are ranked eight in offense and sixth in defense in the entire league. Imagine what could have been done without some injuries and without all the commotion from the offseason?
It is no surprise that I'm not the hugest John Harbaugh fan, especially his in-game management and there have been times throughout his tenure where those mistakes have cost the Ravens games. But when you look at a team that is entering the playoffs with as much of the deck stacked against them as possible and they are still considered a threat to do some damage, that is just about as big of a vote that players, other coaches and fans can give to a head coach.