Monday, January 31, 2011

Why did Harbaugh wait until now to get involved in offense?


I’ve received several emails during the past few months from site visitors taking exception to my criticisms of Joe Flacco, Cam Cameron and John Harbaugh. And that’s fine – in part it’s what I’ve signed up for when I chose to do what I do.

I have no axe to grind with any of these men. Actually I really like each one of them but I can’t allow my personal feelings to stand in the way of what I believe my job is and that is to cover, analyze and critique the Ravens. And if I don’t think any or all of them are doing their jobs well, I don’t mind saying so.

Clearly it’s much easier to criticize them from my vantage point. I get that. They are the ones who are under fire not me and they are paid handsomely for what they do and like me, it’s what they signed up for.

Flacco has the tools and he can be a Pro Bowl quarterback. But there are big flaws in his game that will keep him from reaching his potential unless they are corrected. I think Cameron and Harbaugh are very well aware of those flaws. The question is do they have what it takes to develop Flacco and help him reach his potential?

If it doesn’t happen in 2011, they will have no one to blame other than themselves and of course Flacco. The Ravens already fired up their smokescreens and they were named Messrs. Zorn and Matsko. The air is now clear. It’s on Cameron to bring Flacco along. There’s no one else to blame. We’ll see if he can deliver “under fire” the way Harbaugh and Steve Bisciotti think he can.

I did find it interesting that Harbaugh said recently that he will assume a greater role in 2011 with the offense after making defense and special teams more of a priority during his first three seasons in Baltimore.

Think about that one for a second…

What has been the Achilles Heel of the Ravens since Vinny Testaverde left town in 1997?

Offense, right?

With all of the team’s investment in offense recently and no dividends to show for those investments, why not pay a bit more attention to the offense this past season coach? If we are to believe your involvement in 2011 will help, why wasn’t it offered in 2010 when your team was a couple of boneheaded plays and calls removed from hosting the AFC Championship Game?

Maybe less is more for the Ravens – fewer coaches, fewer mistakes, fewer people to blame.

But for the life of me, I just don’t get how Harbaugh didn’t get involved in the offense prior to now.

Is offense outside of his comfort zone?

And if it is, what can he add to the offensive mix next season? What will he tell Cameron that he doesn’t already know? Cameron is said to be a control freak. Removing bodies from the offensive coaching staff now gives him even more control. What has Cameron ever won to deserve the control?

In 2011 Cameron will be Flacco’s third QB coach in three seasons. If it fails, he’ll get a fourth in 2012 – a contract year. Will the Ravens then have enough to effectively gauge Flacco’s value? If he falls short of expectations with another coach and coordinator in 2012, will they then say it was an adjustment season for Flacco?

When will the excuses end?

The Baltimore Ravens – often frustrating but certainly never boring.


4 comments :

Jerry B said...

As I commented to you elsewhere, TL, from Flacco's comments, "We tried to go out on Sunday and respect what (Cameron) wanted to get done" and, "I tried to run the offense the way Cam wanted it run," to all the post mortems, it's clear to me that the problem with the offense started and ended with Cam Cameron. With the exception of Stallworth, who was brought here to help "stretch the field" and who recorded all of 2 catches, one actually for over 60 yards, the receivers on this team are "possession" type, conducive to Zorn's "West Coast Offense" ala the Patriots, not Cameron's "vertical" schemes. Instead of adapting his offense to fit his personnel, he kept trying to force his personnel into his "vertical" system with the result that the offense was never in sync and was dysfunctional all year long! It's akin to trying to put a round peg into a square hole; it just doesn't.....fit! That's also why a Pro Bowl receiver like Boldin would disappear for games on end, why they struggled in the "Red Zone" where the "vertical" offense lacks room to function, why they underperformed all year and that's probably why Jim Zorn got fired! All philosophical differences and more about poor coaching than poor talent! So, your question is a good one, but don't expect a direct or satisfactory answer out of Harbaugh who is too busy with excuses in defense of himself. Joe Flacco is not yet an elite QB, but has the skills to be an elite QB one day; Harbaugh is not an elite coach and I'm not sure he has the skills to ever be one!!!

Anonymous said...

@ Jerry B, makes you wonder if all the criticism of Mark Clayton for disappearing for games on end was justified?

Prehaps Harbaugh being more involved in the offense is just a way for the players to have more say in the offense. Clearly our players were frustrated with Cam and Cam by all accounts was a control freak. Prehaps Harbaugh sitting in on meetings will ensure that Cam REALLY takes what the players suggest into consideration.

Harryos29 said...

Jan 31 2011 HARRY OS 29
MY GOD, do the Ravens Need
Doctor PHIL?
Having been in management for 5 years of my career in the IT world; when someone was under-performing, I did not wait for a year to expire before attempting to help that person improve!!! I think Harbaugh needs a few sessions with DR. PHIL!
Why was he hired as HEAD COACH if not to over see the entire football team?
It appears to me, that the Ravens have been to the playoffs for the past three years inspite of John Harbaugh? If he doesn't oversee the entire team, what has he been doing for the past 3 years?
..Having read everything (RAVENS) that has gone down this year, I am really more confused than before. I have no idea what to expect in 2011; But, from my viewpoint, it may not be good!!

tripple7's said...

Joe Flacco was sacked 49 times last year and the O-line couldn't help gain a yard (1) for a first down if their lives depended on it. I don't care who's coaching or who is in charge, if you can't win the battle in the trenches everything else is moot.

It all comes down to a personell problem,IMO. Moll and Cousins? Give me a break!