After missing the playoffs three of the last four seasons, is coach John Harbaugh in danger of losing his job?
That decision is ultimately up to owner Steve Bisciotti. However, firing Harbaugh would be the kind of mistake that could set the Ravens back for years.
People on talk radio and social media who want Harbaugh gone, and they are being heard from, should ask themselves these questions. Did the Ravens (8-7) look like a team that had tuned out its head coach during Sunday’s classic game against the Steelers? Which team has more impact playmakers, the Ravens or the Steelers? If Harbaugh is not the head coach you want, what realistic candidates do you have in mind, and why do you think that change would make the Ravens better, not worse?
If Harbaugh were fired, I think he’d get a phone call from another NFL team before he got to his car in the parking lot. Coaches with six playoff appearances in nine years, who have a Super Bowl ring and who have a 10-5 career playoff record don’t grow on trees.
There are not 32 NFL head coaches that you can win big with. You can win big with Harbaugh. He has already proven that. When was the last time the Ravens played a playoff game or an elimination game like Sunday’s and got their doors blown off? It doesn’t happen. Every team that faces the Ravens knows what they’re in for – a 60-minute dogfight.
Harbaugh’s successful track record doesn’t give him a lifetime pass, not with a 31-32 regular season record the past four years. But he should definitely get another opportunity to get the Ravens back in the postseason.
Here’s what the Ravens need: They need more pass rushers who can consistently pressure quarterbacks. Even if linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil return next season, and Suggs says he plans to come back, asking their bodies to hold up as the lead pass rushers for 16 games is likely asking too much.
The Ravens need more depth at cornerback. Tavon Young was a nice 2016 draft pick there, but whenever top corner Jimmy Smith was injured, the Ravens still looked too vulnerable in the secondary, and Smith continued to have trouble staying healthy.
Most importantly, the Ravens need more offensive playmakers and a system that maximizes their talent. Their offense has not played at a championship level since Gary Kubiak left as coordinator two years ago. Joe Flacco has not played at the same level at quarterback since Kubiak left.
Elite or not, Flacco isn’t going anywhere. So next year’s offensive coordinator, whoever it is, needs to have a Kubiak-like influence on Flacco. Especially with Steve Smith Sr. expected to retire, the Ravens need wide receiver Breshad Perriman to play like a first-round pick next season, and an offense that can be more quick-strike and less methodical.
Firing a head coach with one losing season in nine years? That’s a change the Ravens really don’t need to make.
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