Firing Trestman was necessary, but not enough Trestman fired in hope of jump-starting offense
The firing of Marc Trestman as offensive coordinator is nothing more than a Band-Aid to cover a lot of problems that will continue to hurt the Ravens.
Coach John Harbaugh had to make the move in the wake of his team’s 16-10 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday. In that game, the Ravens abandoned a dominant running attack, causing several weeks of frustration to peak and erasing any confidence the players had had in Trestman. On Monday, Harbaugh had to either endorse Trestman for the rest of the season or let him go, and he chose the latter. It was a good move that appeared inevitable.
Now, for the next couple of weeks, the Ravens will play better because the players will want to Trestman was fired after 21 games with the Ravens.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh has always had a clear vision of what his team’s offense should look like. When he left M&TBank Stadium late Sunday afternoon following the Ravens’ 16-10 loss to the Washington Redskins, he knew that the offense he had just watched was nothing like that vision.
There was no commitment to establishing and maintaining a run game. There weren’t enough plays being made downfield. The execution wasn’t as precise as it needed to be to exploit one of the league’s worst-ranked defenses.
Harbaugh called team owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome on Sunday night and told his bosses of his decision. He then met with offensive coordinator Marc Trestman early Monday morning and informed him that he was relieving him of his duties.
Trestman was replaced by quarterbacks coach Marty Mornhinweg, who will call the offensive
prove that it was not their fault the offense has been so dismal, but Trestman’s. It’s an act we’ve all seen before, but it doesn’t hide a lot of the offense’s major problems.
The troubles that led to Trestman’s dismissal will ultimately lead to new coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s being let go unless changes are made.
The players wanted Trestman out and he needed to go. His offense had become stale and his play-calling poor. The Ravens had a horizontal passing game instead of a vertical one and it was clear that Trestman preferred to pass rather than run.
But let’s be honest here: Is Mornhinweg really going to make that much of a difference?
Harbaugh had to make a change, but he certainly wasn’t going to find a Norv Turner available at this point of the season. Mornhinweg has a good resume, having worked with quarterbacks Steve Young and Brett Favre, and his offenses were ranked in the top 10 in seven of the 15 years he served as a coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets.
But unless the players develop significantly more than they have in the previous five weeks, the Ravens will have severe limitations. Their go-to receiver, Steve Smith Sr., can still make plays but can’t stay healthy. When he left Sunday’s game in the first quarter with an ankle injury, the Ravens virtually had no downfield passing game.
Receivers Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman and Kamar Aiken dropped passes for the second straight week. So do they become good-hands guys just because Mornhinweg is in charge?
Running back Terrance West has played well the past two games against teams that had the worst run defenses in the NFL, but he is very similar in style to backups Buck Allen and Kenneth Dixon. The Ravens don’t have a game-changing runner on the roster. The offensive line is average at best, but even worse when hit by injuries because the Ravens lack quality depth.
After last season, there was strong speculation that Trestman was going to be replaced if the Ravens could sign Ken Whisenhunt, who went to San Diego in January. But this isn’t all about a coordinator. This is the perfect time for reflection by Harbaugh and the Ravens front office.
Quarterback Joe Flacco is on his Marc Trestman was fired after Sunday’s loss to Washington, his 21st game as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator. Marty Mornhinweg is taking his place. fifth coordinator and has struggled building relationships with two of them, Cam Cameron and Trestman. The only time there has been significant growth in Flacco’s game was in 2014 when Gary Kubiak ran the offense and preached fundamentals to Flacco. The former Delaware star couldn’t argue with Kubiak because of Kubiak’s impeccable resume.
But despite being a veteran, Flacco still has many mechanical shortcomings. He often doesn’t plant his back foot when throwing and won’t step up in the pocket when pressured. He isn’t very accurate on short passes, and his play is erratic from half to half.
Meanwhile, the criticism is always the same of the coordinator, who is usually accused of not running the ball, throwing too many passes to the running backs out of the backfield and failing to produce a vertical game.
So are the coordinators allowed to call their own plays or are they being handcuffed by the head coach?
Harbaugh has to assess his relationship with his coordinators. In Sunday’s loss to Washington, was he forceful in demanding that Trestman run the ball in the second half?
During Trestman’s 21 games as offensive coordinator, very seldom did you see communication between him and Harbaugh on the sideline. There was only slightly more between Trestman and Flacco, and even less between Flacco and Cameron.
If the Ravens want to make a true evaluation of their offense, they need to find some alpha males. They need playmakers such as Antonio Brown and A.J. Green, who can make plays in the final four minutes of games.
The best the Ravens have is Smith, age 37.
The Ravens will get a spark from Mornhinweg. The players will play harder because the onus is now on them. They basically got what they wanted — they wanted Trestman out.
But once the smoke has cleared, Mornhinweg will have the same problems as Trestman. The Band-Aid can only cover so much.