It's still early in the season and there is more than enough football left on the table for the Ravens and the rest of the NFL. Yet, a team that was expected to play in the Super Bowl is sitting tied among the worst records after six games in the league. By the end of the season, we likely won't recognize this Baltimore Ravens' squad. That could very well mean head coach John Harbaugh as well.
Let's rewind a bit and talk about the 2012 season. Right around Halloween in that season, there was a closed door meeting between Harbaugh and some of his veteran players. The cause of the meeting was rumored to be a near player-led mutiny on their head coach. It was due to the hard nosed approach that John Harbaugh had taken to a 43-13 whoopin' the Ravens took at the hands of the Houston Texans, expecting his players to practice in full pads the following day. After that moment, Harbaugh took on a more player friendly approach and that season, the Ravens would end up in the Super Bowl.
Looking back even further, Brian Billick was let go in part because of his player friendly approach had led the Baltimore Ravens to a 5-11 finish in 2007. Harbaugh, the scrappy former special teams coach was brought in to help right the ship and rebuild a team that had the talent but lacked the discipline. Harbaugh came in and we saw beloved Ravens hit the free agent market. Cornerback Chris McCallister was the big man at the time that was shoved off due to his attitude issues and inconsistent performance. It was the right move bringing in Harbaugh and it was the right move to kick butt and take names as the Ravens immediately became competitors yet again.
Bringing our story a little more current, it is worth noting that since the Super Bowl and John Harbaugh's different approach to his players, the Ravens are sitting at 20-20 with only 1 playoff win. The 2015 season looks like a lost endeavor and one that is growing worse by the week. Sunday alone, it looked like the offense just gave up on the final drive, not rushing back to the line of scrimmage after two big plays.
With Billick ousted because of his approach and final season record, it can't make Harbaugh feel super confident moving forward, especially if the Ravens continue to drop games.
Now Harbaugh's backers will point to a season that has gone off the rails due to injuries and a hard schedule, and there is a lot of truth to that. However, even with the injuries at present, this is still a team that should beat the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns at the very least. Yet the losses have been in part due to discipline in the way of penalties and just dumb plays by players that know better. A consistent thing in each game has been the number of penalties the Ravens have on them and the fact that the worst of them come at the worst possible times. From an organizational perspective, that starts with coaching and making sure that your players know better and keep a level head, something they have yet to do.
It is still early in the season and Harbaugh could easily right the ship and finish above .500. Based on what we've seen so far, he could also finish at 1-15 just as easily. My bet would be that a below .500 finish this season would put the fire under Harbaugh's seat and might see the Ravens enter the head coach search for the first time since 2007.