When Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh announced on Tuesday that the organization will retain offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and offensive line coach Juan Castillo, it is a direct shot at the players on the roster. Since 2013, the Ravens are 31-33 (including the playoffs). Yet, the coaches who have been around for that duration will pretty much stay while changes will be made to the Ravens roster.
The Ravens are basically saying that since 2013, the players are the problem not the coaches. The Ravens are 8-8, 10-6, 5-11 and 8-8 over the last four seasons. That’s all the player’s fault according to the Ravens. In terms of on the field discipline, players have come and gone since the start of the 2013 season yet the Ravens have been ranked in the top 10 in penalties accepted in 2013, 2015 and 2016 The Ravens have also been ranked in the top seven in terms of penalty yards in 2013, 2015 and 2016. The players are the problem yet the coaches can’t keep them in control.
Pees and Castillo have been around for all five seasons. But first, let’s look at what Pees has done at the defensive coordinator position since taking over in 2012. Ravens defense in terms of points allowed per game in each season since 2012:
- 2012 allowed 21.5 points per game
- 2013 allowed 22 points per game
- 2014 allowed 18.9 points per game
- 2015 allowed 25.1 points per game
- 2016 allowed 20.1 points per game
So the Ravens are telling everyone that this organization prides itself on defense but Pees has led defenses that have allowed over 20 points a game in four out of his five seasons as a defensive coordinator? This isn’t even taking into consideration the fact that the Ravens have lost 15 games since 2012 in which it had the lead to start the fourth quarter. Pees is going to be back for his sixth season with the team. This isn’t pride. This accepting mediocrity. Hell, this isn’t even mediocrity. Those numbers are below average by Ravens standards.
Only five players on the Ravens defense played on this roster in 2012 which are Terrell Suggs, Jimmy Smith, Albert McClellan, Lardarius Webb and Anthony Levine.
Eight players on the Ravens defense played on this roster in 2013 which are Terrell Suggs, Jimmy Smith, Albert McClellan, Lardarius Webb, Anthony Levine, Brandon Williams, Elvis Dumervil and Matt Elam.
This team has gone through roster changes after roster changes on defense. Key players like Terrell Suggs, Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb have all been sent to injured reserve at some point since 2012. The one constant denominator as the leader of this defense week in and week out since 2012 is Pees. Yet, Pees gets to stay while the players on defense are the scapegoats and many of them will go this offseason.
With the offensive line, offensive line coach Juan Castillo in some ways has escaped criticism for the woes that have occurred along the offensive line. In the running game since 2013 when he became a full-time offensive line coach, the results have been less than desirable:
- 2013- 3.1 yards per carry
- *2014- 4.5 yards per carry
- 2015- 3.9 yards per carry
- 2016- 4.0 yards per carry
The only good year was 2014 but we will put an asterisk behind it because that had a lot to do with Gary Kubiak being the offensive coordinator. Outside of 2014, the Ravens have averaged 4.0 yards per carry on the ground or less.
Let’s look at the pass protection along the offensive line under Castillo since 2013:
- 2013 allowed 48 sacks
- *2014 allowed 19 sacks
- 2015 allowed 24 sacks
- 2016 allowed 33 sacks
The only good year the Ravens have really had with Castillo in pass protection is 2015. Once again, we will put an asterisk behind the 2014 season because Kubiak was the biggest reason why the Ravens were successful. It isn’t a coincidence that 2014 was Joe Flacco’s best career statistically.
Offense in general
Harbaugh decided to keep a guy in Mornhinweg who Harbaugh said made the “worst play call ever” late in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles that resulted into a Flacco interception in the Eagles’ red zone.
"All-time worst call ever. I'll take responsibility for it," Harbaugh said after the Eagles game via BaltimoreRavens.com. "I should have vetoed it right away ... I like an aggressive mindset, but that was way too aggressive. It's the worst play call we've had, and it's my fault. It should have never happened. We should have never been in that situation as a result of that."
Harbaugh says that yet he still decides to keep Mornhinweg will return as the offensive coordinator next season despite the fact that he has shown zero balance in the between run and pass.
Since Mornhinweg took over as offensive coordinator in week 6, Flacco has the following pass attempts in each game:
- Week 6- 48 pass attempts
- Week 7- 44 pass attempts
- Week 9- 30 pass attempts
- Week 10- 41 pass attempts
- Week 11- 35 pass attempts
- Week 12- 36 pass attempts
- Week 13- 47 pass attempts
- Week 14- 52 pass attempts
- Week 15- 30 pass attempts
- Week 16- 44 pass attempts
- Week 17- 49 pass attempts
Flacco averaged 41.4 pass attempts per game since week 6 and the Ravens record was 5-6. The passing game wasn’t working efficiently and when you combine that with the fact that this team does not run the ball along with a defense that crumbles late in the fourth quarter, you get 8-8.
Mornhinweg didn’t commit to the running game when the Ravens were fighting for a playoff spot. What makes Harbaugh and the rest of the Ravens organization believe that Mornhinweg will listen to those requests during the dog days of the offseason? It won’t happen because it has never happened. Mornhinweg’s days dating back to the Eagles, he has always been a pass happy coordinator. That doesn’t change overnight.
We have seen the coaching results from Pees, to Castillo to Mornhinweg. It is clear that none of these three coaches know how to make players better and Harbaugh’s job is on the line in the process entering the 2017 season and rightfully so. I am a fan of Harbaugh, I think he is one of the best head coaches in the NFL. But at the same time, his unwillingness to change what hasn’t worked over the last four to five seasons will doom him if things don’t turn around in a hurry.