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3 reasons why John Harbaugh kept Marty Mornhinweg, whether you agree or not

3 reasons why John Harbaugh kept Marty Mornhinweg, whether you agree or not

As soon as coach John Harbaugh announced he was retaining offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, the majority of Ravens fans on social media reacted negatively. However, Harbaugh isn’t worried about public perception. He’s worried about getting back to the playoffs.

Here are three factors that played into Harbaugh making the decision.

1. Joe Flacco communicates well with Mornhinweg and likes working with him.

It’s all about getting the most out of the veteran quarterback. With Flacco’s huge contract, he’s not going anywhere, and the Ravens expect him to play better than he has the last two years.

The Ravens need the 2014 version of Flacco when Gary Kubiak was the offensive coordinator. That season, Flacco had a career-high 27 touchdown passes and the second-highest QB rating of his career and led the Ravens to the second round of the playoffs. Flacco believes he can succeed with Mornhinweg if they are given more time working together. If he’s right, keeping Mornhinweg will look like a smart move. If Flacco is wrong, they’ll be plenty of changes after next season.

RELATED: Getting Joe Flacco help is Ravens' top priority

2. Harbaugh believes a dramatic change offensively could set the Ravens back.

If Kubiak or Kyle Shanahan wanted the job, Harbaugh may have jumped at either. However, neither Kubiak (retired for now) nor Shanahan (Falcons offensive coordinator and hot head coaching candidate) is available.

Three names that people often brought up to replace Mornhinweg were former Chargers head coach Mike McCoy, former Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman and former Vikin0g0s coordinator Norv Turner. However, their offensive approaches are different than the West Coast offense the Ravens have run since Kubiak arrived in 2014. Bringing in an offensive coordinator from the college ranks would have been an even more drastic change. The Ravens aren’t interested in having Flacco take the first half of 2017 trying to master an entirely new offense. They want him to hit the ground running from Day 1 of minicamp.

“Marty has been running this offense since the late 80s,” Harbaugh said. “That’s a system I’m familiar with. It’s the basic system they’re running in Kansas City right now, and it’s a good system for us.”

3. Harbaugh has sent a strong message to Mornhinweg to be more committed to the running game.

If the Ravens don’t run more often in 2017, they don’t deserve success. Since the start of 2013, the Ravens are 31-33 during the regular season, but they are 17-6 when Flacco has thrown fewer than 35 times, including 3-0 in 2016. A reluctance to call running plays helped cost Marc Trestman his job as offensive coordinator, but the run-pass ratio didn’t change dramatically after Mornhinweg took over in Week 6.

The formula for success with Flacco has been proven — support him with a running game, keep him clean in the pocket, use play-action passes and take shots downfield to take advantage of his arm strength. Like it or not, Mornhinweg will be given one more chance to help make that formula work.

MORE RAVENS: Can Breshad Perriman be a No. 1 wide receiver?

AROUND THE NFL: Check out CSN's 2017 Mock Draft 1.0

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Ravens' options in a potential Matthew Judon trade

Ravens' options in a potential Matthew Judon trade

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Ravens have expressed interest in moving on from Matthew Judon through a trade this offseason. 

Judon, who isn’t under contract for next season, was tied for 19th in the league in sacks with 9.5 — a team-high. He was also the team-leader in quarterback hits with 33. The next best pass-rusher was Tyus Bowser, who registered 10. 

Lined up for a big payday, and with a high-priced franchise tag an option, the Ravens could lose their second pass-rusher in as many years on the free agent market should they elect to not pay Judon the elite pass-rusher money he’ll likely command.

Which brings the Ravens to the report from Schefter that indicated the team could move on from Judon, 27, through the sign-and-trade route. 

Should Judon, or the Ravens, walk away from the negotiating table in free agency, two options exist: The Ravens could either let him walk freely to another team and likely receive a 2021 third-round pick as compensation, or place the franchise tag on Judon. 

With the franchise tag option, the Ravens could keep him for a season and essentially kick the can down the road for a year, or trade him for a return that would likely be greater than the compensatory third, and more importantly, the help would be immediate. 

A few weeks ago, coach John Harbaugh said re-signing Judon would be, “pretty hard,” but that the team was going to try.  

But if the Ravens aren’t able, or are unwilling, to sign Judon, a potential blueprint for a future trade might have been laid out last year by the Chiefs. 

Last season, the Chiefs traded Dee Ford to the 49ers for a second-round pick just a month before they sent first and third-round picks to the Seahawks for Frank Clark and a third-round pick.

Ford had 13 sacks in 2018 and 29 quarterback hits while Clark had 13 as well and 27 quarterback hits. They both immediately signed long-term, expensive contracts with their new teams. 

Baltimore could make a move similar to that with Judon and get better, and more immediate, compensation for him and later add a pass-rusher with the draft capital than the team added.

The Ravens have just under 29 million dollars in cap space, meaning they’ve got the space to sign Judon to a long-term deal or keep him on the franchise tag, but they’d need to make some moves to be able to field a full roster. And that full roster, if Judon isn’t in Baltimore in 2020, needs pass-rushing help. 

Baltimore had 37 sacks as a team, and just over a quarter of them came from Judon. It also had 111 total quarterback hits, and 29.7 percent came from Judon. 

So the report that the Ravens could move Judon could play out, perhaps the most interesting aspect of a Judon trade would be the replacement the Ravens would need to have lined up.

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With big decision looming, Ravens guard Marshal Yanda mum on retirement plans

With big decision looming, Ravens guard Marshal Yanda mum on retirement plans

Ravens guard Marshal Yanda has a decision to make on his playing future, but he's in no rush to make it.

The 35-year-old is under contract with the Ravens through the 2020 season, but will take the next month or so to decide if he wants to continue playing or hang up the cleats.

"I'm going to take my time now," Yanda told Ravens.com regarding his future. "Done playing for the year, just take some time over the next month and basically just go with my heart and see how I feel."

The eight-time Pro Bowler was a vital piece in the NFL's best rushing attack in 2019. Yanda, the leader of the offensive line, started and played in 15 games this season for Baltimore, missing the regular-season finale as the Ravens rested multiple starters with the No. 1 seed already clinched.

Following Baltimore's upset divisional playoff loss to the Titans, a visibly disappointed Yanda refused to address his future, but he was definitely thinking about it then.

But if Sunday's Pro Bowl was the last time Yanda put on the pads, he didn't treat the game or experience any differently.

"Not necessarily," Yanda said if he cherished Sunday's Pro Bowl differently. "You're not in that frame of mind. I definitely didn't think about [my retirement decision] too much today, just because it was the Pro Bowl. It's more of a relaxed game, not like a really intense game.

"I didn't have those feelings as much as the Tennessee game," he continued." Yeah, it's a possibility. But those feelings were more in the Tennessee game."

Even at age 35, Yanda remains one of the best guards in the game. He's made the NFL's second-team All-Pro squad the past two seasons and has been a Pro Bowler every season since 2011, minus the 2017 season where he played just two games due to a season-ending ankle injury.

There's no debate: Baltimore would greatly benefit from Yanda returning.

"You want people that want you back," Yanda said. "You want to be playing very well when you end. Nobody wants to fade out; you want to go out strong."

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