Har­baugh re­places Trest­man

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS - Jeff.zre­biec@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/jef­fzre­biec­sun

plays the rest of the sea­son. Har­baugh will eval­u­ate the po­si­tion af­ter the sea­son.

“We just need to get bet­ter and I didn’t feel in my gut that go­ing the way we were go­ing was go­ing to change, that it was go­ing to be able to get bet­ter,” Har­baugh said. “Ev­ery­body was do­ing ev­ery­thing they could do. I just think we need a dif­fer­ent chem­istry in there right now to get to where we need to go.

“I think we all know what it needs to look like. It’s philo­soph­i­cal, it’s what plays get called in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, but it’s also the phys­i­cal­ity of our of­fense, it’s the at­tack­men­tal­ity of our of­fense, it’s how we go about our busi­ness. Those are things that just weren’t get­ting there. It’s like I told the of­fen­sive coaches, ‘Let’s take this on us. Marc Trest­man is the guy that’s go­ing to suf­fer the most at this time, but it’s all of our re­spon­si­bil­ity that this hap­pened, and it’s all of our re­spon­si­bil­ity to get it right.’ ”

Trest­man signed a three-year con­tract in Jan­uary of 2015. His dis­missal af­ter 21games with the Ravens marks the sec­ond time in five years Har­baugh has fired his of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor dur­ing the sea­son in an ef­fort to jump-start a strug­gling Joe Flacco and a seem­ingly re­gress­ing of­fense. Both times it oc­curred af­ter a reg­u­lar-sea­son loss to the Red­skins.

While the fir­ing of Cam Cameron in De­cem­ber 2012 was a sur­prise — the Ravens were 9-4 at the time and lead­ing the AFC North — Mon­day’s de­ci­sion to move on from Trest­man seemed in­evitable, given the pal­pa­ble frus­tra­tion of the play­ers af­ter Sun­day’s loss.

Flacco said he was em­bar­rassed af­ter a per­for­mance in which the Ravens were held score­less by the league’s 29th-ranked de­fense for the fi­nal 44:56. Flacco threw for just 210 yards on 46 pass­ing at­tempts. The Ravens ran the ball 11 times for 74 yards in the first quar­ter, but had only seven more de­signed runs over the fi­nal three quar­ters.

This played right into the com­mon crit­i­cisms of Trest­man: that he too of­ten aban­doned the run­ning game and could not un­lock the down­field pass­ing game.

“We­didn’t run the ball enough. Whenyou go back and look at it, I feel like we were run­ning the ball well enough to run the ball a lot more than we did,” Har­baugh said. “In the end, that’s what we’re talk­ing about. In the end, that’s what mat­ters. We’re talk­ing about pro­duc­tion. We’re not putting enough Red­skins de­fen­sive end Trent Mur­phy sacks quar­ter­back Joe Flacco for an 18-yard loss in the third quar­ter of Sun­day’s game. points on the board, and we’re not putting enough yards on the board for the amount of times that we’re throw­ing the ball. I think we were 46 passes for 188 net yards pass­ing. That’s just not go­ing to cut it, and we all know that. And Marc knows that, too.”

Un­der Trest­man, who re­placed Gary Ku­biak af­ter the lat­ter be­came the Den­ver Bron­cos head coach be­fore the 2014 sea­son, the Ravens scored 20 or fewer points in13 of 21 games and av­er­aged just 18.7 points per game — eighth fewest in the league dur­ing that span.

Last year, the Ravens set a fran­chise low with 383 rush­ing at­tempts and were a re­spectable 14th in to­tal of­fense, but it was tough to eval­u­ate the job Trest­man did be­cause in­juries robbed the of­fense of many of its mar­quee play­ers and forced the team to start four quar­ter­backs.

This year be­gan with high hopes as the Ravens claimed as much depth at the skill po­si­tions as they’d had in a long time. How­ever, in three of their first five games, the Ravens have man­aged just one of­fen­sive touch­down. They rank in the bot­tom third of the league in points, to­tal yards and third-down con­ver­sion per­cent­age.

Flacco leads all NFL quar­ter­backs with 216 pass­ing at­tempts de­spite the fact that the Ravens have been in close games every week. The In­di­anapo­lis Colts’ An­drew Luck is the next with 205 at­tempts. No other quar­ter­back had more than 195 head­ing into Mon­day night’s game.

“That’s not what we’re look­ing for, ideally,” Har­baugh said. “If we’re throw­ing the ball 45-50 times, we’re prob­a­bly play­ing catch-up.”

More prob­lem­at­i­cally, Flacco, known as one of the game’s bet­ter deep passers, is av­er­ag­ing just 5.94 yards per pass­ing at­tempt. The only start­ing quar­ter­back with a smaller num­ber is the San Fran­cisco 49ers’ Blaine Gab­bert (5.93).

“To me, we have to put to­gether an of­fense that at­tacks a de­fense,” Har­baugh said. “If we have one of our guys against some­body we feel they match up re­ally well against, we’ve got to be able to go to that guy. Have we done a great job of that? No. That’s not what we’ve done a great job of so far. I think that’s the thing we can do bet­ter. It’s not so much fig­ur­ing out how to use guys. It’s us­ing those guys and get­ting the ball to them in a way that re­ally chal­lenges the de­fense.”

Morn­hin­weg, a former of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor for the 49ers, Philadel­phia Ea­gles and New York Jets, and the ex-head coach of the Detroit Lions, has plenty to try to fix. The Ravens’ pass block­ing has strug­gled, and both start­ing of­fen­sive tack­les (Ron­nie Stan­ley and Rick Wag­ner) are deal­ing with in­juries. Re­ceivers have been plagued by drops, and the team’s top tar­get, Steve Smith Sr., is hob­bled by an an­kle in­jury. Flacco has also strug­gled with his foot­work and fun­da­men­tals.

The de­ci­sion to fire Cameron in 2012, and quar­ter­backs coach Jim Cald­well’s as­cen­sion into the of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor role, was viewed as a key fac­tor in Flacco’s play­ing the best foot­ball of his ca­reer and spear­head­ing a Su­per Bowl run. The Ravens can only hope for the same boost this time.

“It’s hard for me to go back and com­pare the two,” Har­baugh said. “I think on the sur­face, it com­pares ob­vi­ously, but in a lot of ways, it is dif­fer­ent. This is ear­lier in the year, and I think we had won a bunch of games early in that year and then we lost a few in a row. It’s less about the record, it’s less about any­thing that you see as far as play call­ing or any­thing that specif­i­cally. It’s more about di­rec­tion. It’s a big-pic­ture type of a feel thing. Are we head­ing in the right di­rec­tion? Do I see us get­ting there do­ing the things we’re do­ing now? I think as a coach, you’ve got to as­sess that and make that call.”


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