Why is it that the Ravens can sweep the Steelers and beat the Jets, but fall flat against the Titans, Jaguars and Seahawks? How can the Ravens be perceived as the best team in the AFC after last week’s come from behind win on the road against the Steelers and then just a week later they get caught with their pants down in Seattle and not seem to slow down Tavaris Jackson’s offense?
The answer to all of those unknowns has to be bad coaching and it starts at the top with head coach John Harbaugh.
Professional athletes shouldn’t need motivation for work, especially with their multi-million dollar contracts, but the fact is that they do. The Ravens can give every excuse in the book about their losses in Jacksonville and Seattle, but no matter what they say they didn’t play at the same level as they did in weeks one and ten. This Ravens team amped itself up for the Steelers and threw it in cruise control on the west coast yesterday. Coaching has to be blamed for the lack of effort from the team. The talent level is there, the desire to beat bad teams is not.
Harbaugh has put himself in a nice situation in Baltimore. When Kyle Boller sucked for the Ravens, Brian Billick always seemed to take the heat. “Boller was his guy,” or “he’s supposed to be an offensive guru” fans would say. What about the Ravens special teams yesterday? Why is no one criticizing John Harbaugh, a former special teams coach, for the terrible play in that aspect of the game? Kick returner David Reed fumbled twice and was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in three kick returns. Billy Cundiff missed two more field goals from 50+ yards. Can we blame Harbaugh for that? Maybe not, but burning a timeout to throw the red flag on an unwinnable challenge late in the fourth quarter certainly is his fault.
While I’m taking time to complain about the coaching of this Ravens team let me add on my thoughts from my Quick Hits post on Sunday night. If I was Ozzie Newsome, I would meet with Cam Cameron and tell him that if Ray Rice touches the ball less than 25 times next week he’s fired. Rice would have to be on a stretcher for him to not get 25 carries next week. Ray Rice is the Ravens’ biggest play maker and Cameron tried to beat the Seahawks in a fight by tying one arm behind his back.
Cameron called seven running plays in the first half, which is tied for third least in a half in Ravens franchise history. The Ravens have one of the elite running backs in the NFL and they are trying to prove that Joe Flacco can compete with Tom Brady. He can’t and the Ravens won’t win when Flacco throws 52 times and Rice rushes seven. Rice averaged 5.4 yards per carry yesterday, but was never given a chance to get the Ravens offense rolling. The guy makes things happen on the field, give him the ball or let someone calls the plays who will.