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The Positive Spin: Next season is the final straw

Baltimore Ravens v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The 2018-2019 season will become the judge, jury and executioner for the Baltimore Ravens staff. It may not look pretty, but the pressure has mounted.

Biggest moves:

  • Dean Pees retiring
  • Don ‘Wink’ Martindale receiving the defensive coordinator promotion
  • Greg Roman receiving Asst. Head Coach promotion

This moves feel like annoying ‘continuity’, but this could become something more, if success is lacking next season.

Square One:

The Ravens will begin healthy, though we all are under the belief the injuries will quickly arrive. Too many years in a row, the cart has come out at a practice and hauled off multiple players suffer bad injuries, sometimes before the pads are even on. This year, fans will only wait day after day for the newest reported injury.

If this occurs, I suspect the Strength & Conditioning part of Steve Bisciotti’s budget will receive a hard look. It can’t be enjoyable for Bisciotti to pay multi-millions to only see them on the sidelines in crutches, or braces.

Square Two:

Coaching and overall front office positions won’t be overlooked; The Ravens top men are all being scrutinized now, and I believe only Greg Roman and Jerry Rosburg are safe.

If the Ravens don’t make playoffs next season, I suspect Ozzie Newsome will retire. Whether it’s an actual retiring, or a forced retiring, won’t matter. But it’s been a few ugly, unsuccessful years for the Ravens, and their superstar quarterback still lacks weapons. They already have their next General Manager on staff, Eric DeCosta, and he can take over with the Ravens infamous ‘continuity-but-still-change’ approach.

If this occurs, expect John Harbaugh to be done. I don’t see DeCosta staying the course with the same head coach. They wouldn’t let go of Ozzie Newsome, yet hang onto Harbaugh.

Notice earlier, Greg Roman received the Assistant Head Coach promotion. This also gives the Ravens their ‘continuity-but-change’ move. Roman has done a great job of changing an altering the Ravens offense to a more successful run/pass balance, and turned Alex Collins and the injured Ravens line into a strong attack. He didn’t do it alone, though, as Joe D’Alessandris certainly played a factor. Speaking of him, I think D’Alessandris stays. He’s worked well with the Ravens, and turned Matt Skura, Ryan Jensen and Austin Howard into capable players and even starters.

Harbaugh’s out, and either Roman or Rosburg are in, in my scenario. Rosburg is older, but he’s also been with the team, the players like him, and he’s heralded as the best special teams coach in the NFL. He has coached Justin Tucker into the best kicker in NFL history. He’s trained Sam Koch for years, and Koch was a common team MVP week in and week out. If he wants the job, I presume DeCosta and Bisciotti give him the reigns.

On the defensive side of the ball, Martindale receives the short straw, just like he did with the 2010 Broncos. He gets one year to make-or-break. A rough go, as Terrell Suggs and Eric Weddle are fighting Father Time, and the defense won’t receive much treatment in the draft or free agency after the offenses lack of weapons, or the lack of cap space. But, that’s the luck of the draw.

If his players produce a top 16 defense, he sticks. If they go bottom ten, it’s hard for DeCosta and Steve Bisciotti to keep him around.

Recap, if Ravens miss playoffs, again:

  • Strength & Conditioning is under a microscope. Hopefully, for the first time in years, it’s not the Ravens downfall
  • Ozzie retires
  • Harbaugh out
  • Marty out
  • Martindale a toss-up
  • Eric DeCosta promoted to GM
  • Roman/Rosburg promoted to Head Coach

The Ravens can’t continue to miss playoffs and lack front office/coaching changes. Eventually, Bisciotti will call it enough, and I suspect 2018-2019 is the year.