We nailed it.
Baltimore Beatdown postulated whether Coach John Harbaugh's good friend, Leslie Frazier should come to Baltimore. Frazier was released by Tampa Bay in the wake of the firing of Lovie Smith earlier this month. That quickly, he is employed again, this time by familiar company.
It's no wonder that Frazier was snatched up with expediency. He is a truly gifted defensive mind, finishing in the top 10 of defenses in half of his tenure as defensive coordinator with various teams. He coached the Minnesota Vikings for three seasons, and their run defense during that time was stunningly good.
For the Ravens, right now, the focus is going to be on the Defensive Backs, and Frazier is beyond qualified for that. It begins with his own experience as a World Champion Chicago Bear corner who amassed a whopping 20 Interceptions in his 5 seasons in the league. To put this into perspective, consider that Frazier was oft-injured, and did not play complete seasons in any of his, but in his last 19 games--over the course of four seasons--he had an interception in every game except one. Steve Grogan of 1982 New England wasn't feeling so generous in that strike-shortened year. He was alone in that regard. Please fact check me on this incredible stat by looking at this chart:
Chart from Pro-Football-Reference.com
The 32 games count at the bottom of the table includes the 1981 season, which I did not show because it had no relevant stats, but was 13 games. 18/19 afterwards, Frazier was picking some QB from his pocket. Dare I even say, in Edward Earl Reed, Jr.'s first 32 games, he had 12 picks. So, the Bills got their D-back Coach, and we got ours. Just sayin'. Obviously I love Reeeeeeed too.
How does this translate to today? Remember that part of the problem this season with the Ravens defensive backfield was on-field communication. There was no one leader, no one whom everyone listened to. And while the co-coaches seemed to work hard and truly overachieved with this group, neither one of them having NFL experience must be a creibility hurdle to overcome in the minds of the players. Furthermore, (I just wanted to use that word. You know your argument is going well when you throw in a 'furthermore.') Frazier's style was aggressive, smart, and anticipatory. Look at this intercpetion-touchdown from 1985 against the Buccaneers, who were winning the game in Chicago at that point:
His technique is very interesting to watch. Very aware, very cunning. Picture Jimmy Smith playing like that. Or better yet, Jalen Ramsey.
Leslie Frazier will not only be coaching from an NFL experiential point, and not only from a top-3-defenses-EVER point (1985 Bears), and not only from a World-Champion-as-a-player-and-as-a-coach point, he will be coaching from a "let's get some turnovers" point. He is used to turnovers and knows how to generate them. Expect the Ravens' last in the NFL turnover production to make a jump.
Slyly going unmentioned here is that he is a very legitimate and real number two option to Dean Pees. It's not Dean Pees under fire, but it is Dean Pees' on a slowly warming stove-top element. Dean Pees' schemes should not be too complex for Frazier to relay, and they should also be effective in conjunction with Frazier's coaching. Since it is clear that Frazier is effective as a defensive coach, the defense should be much better next year, and this is largely on Pees' docket.
In conclusion, I reference once again the clear friendship between Harbaugh and Frazier. Harbaugh put his money where is mouth is, and did what he suggested others do a few years back.
He hired his friend Leslie Frazier.
A Friend (who can help with) INT need is a friend, indeed. Welcome Coach Frazier.