Ravens have high hopes for offense under Marty Mornhinweg
With just four weeks left in the regular season, every remaining game is crucial for teams vying for a playoff bid.
Elkton and Perryville enter Friday night’s showdown with vastly different records. The Golden Elks (5-1 overall, 3-0 Susquehanna) are on track to return to the 2A state tournament for a consecutive year. The Panthers (2-4, 2-1) face an uphill climb, but remain firmly in the mix for the final 1A East Region playoff spot.
“A win against Elkton would be a huge boost,” Perryville coach Chris Johnson said. “Fortunately, this year in the region, there’s four teams that are 2-4 vying for the fourth spot in the playoffs. Whatever it takes to get in – 6-4, 5-5, 4-6 – whatever the case may be, the playoffs start this Friday for us. If we lose, do we still have a shot at the playoffs? Absolutely. I think if we win out then we’d be in, but we’ve got to approach every game as a playoff game and come with playoff intensity.”
Johnson’s team will look to bounce back from a 1914 loss to 1A rival Bohemia Manor one week earlier. Perryville had the ball inside the Eagles 10-yard line in the final minute with a chance to win, but was unable to complete a fourth-down pass attempt in the end zone.
“On Monday we watched film and the kids understand that if they just get more consistent, we can be a good football team. We’ve just got to play a complete football game and we haven’t don’t that yet,” Johnson, whose team took a third-quarter lead after trailing 13-0 at halftime, said. “I was proud of the way we were able to respond in the second half. We dominated the second half, except for one drive. It’s unfortunate we didn’t play that way the whole game. The kids know that, they understand that they let one get aways from them.”
He added that the Panthers’ youth played a role. Perryville starts four sophomores on its offensive line.
Elkton enters on a four-game win streak. The Golden Elks were shut out by Kent Island in the second week of the season, but coach Matt Feeney has seen his team clean up a couple of key areas since.
“Our aim has just been to get better each week. The way we started off the season was a little rough email@example.com
— It’s been a revolving door of offensive coordinators for Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens offense.
Head coach John Harbaugh fired Marc Trestman from the position following a 16-10 loss to Washington on Sunday. Marty Mornhinweg, previously the team’s quarterbacks coach, was promoted. He becomes Baltimore’s fifth offensive coordinator in as many years.
Players were sympathetic for Trestman Wednesday at the Under Armour Performance Center, but simultaneously expressed excitement about his replacement. Mornhinweg brings a level of enthusiasm that the calm-demeanored Trestman lacked.
“Marc Trestman is a great guy, a great coach. It was difficult to see him go, but I think it was something that this offense needed,” tight end Dennis Pitta said. “We were in kind of a bad place. It didn’t seem like we were getting out of it. Hopefully, this will spark us.”
The move came after the Ravens seemingly abandoned a running game that worked well Sunday against Washington.
Trestman was criticized for call- with the penalties and the turnovers, and then we just flat out got embarrassed by Kent Island,” he said. “We kind of took it as a point of pride to recover and just clean up those things. Each week our penalties have gone down, our turnover differential has swung in our favor and the boys are starting to play with some excitement again. It’s been great to watch.”
The records suggest Elkton to be a heavy favorite, but that’s not how Feeney sees it. His team expects Perryville’s best shot.
“I don’t necessarily have to keep them focused. County games are county games. You’re going to get the best that county opponents have to give,” he said. “Rising Sun gave us everything. That game came down to the wire, as it should, and I don’t expect anything less out of Perryville. They’re a very well-coached team. They know how to win. You watch them on film and they got kids that play hard. They run right at your face, they can throw the ball. No one’s looking past anybody at this point in the year.”
Feeney’s primary concern is his team getting too caught up in the hype of Homecoming on Friday night. Johnson’s biggest concern is Elkton’s star running back Raiquon Estep.
“We’ve got to be disciplined in our responsibilities first. He only needs a sliver to turn what for ing too many pass plays, and not taking enough shots down field. Flacco has one of the strongest arms in the NFL and the Ravens added a pair of deep threats in Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace this year that they lacked last season.
“I hope so. I remember coach Marty my first couple years in the league when he was in Philly. I used to see ‘D-Jack’ [DeSean Jackson] and ‘Mac’ [Jeremy Maclin] going up top all the time. Hopefully, we can get some of that done,” most backs might be a 3-yard gain, he can turn into a touchdown. We have to really maintain our responsibilities, control our gaps, make sure that everybody is doing their job and we’ve got to make tackles,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of fun when you’re going up against a team of that caliber. They’ve been the best team of the county now for two years. They’re really big and strong up front and they get after you. We’re going to have to match that intensity and just play to the whistle. All I’m asking for in the fourth quarter is to have a shot to win the game and hopefully our guys can pull through.” Wallace said when asked if he expects more deep shots. “Hopefully, we get some more shots. We definitely have the explosive players to do it. We just need to be a complete offense.”
Baltimore will likely run the ball more, while attempting more downfield throws. The additional run plays should also allow the Ravens to utilize more play-action as well.
“If it’s going to open up the pass, then definitely. If not, then we can just pass it all day,” wide receiver Kamar Aiken joked about the benefits of an added rushing attack. “[Mornhinweg is] energetic, and we’re behind him … Marty is definitely bringing a different tempo, he’s upbeat. He says stuff that players want to hear.”
Aiken added that Mornhinweg’s offense allows wide receivers more freedom in their routes.
There’s reasons for optimism. In his 15 seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator, Mornhinweg’s teams have finished in the top 10 for points scored eight times.
Mornhinweg was last the offensive coordinator of the New York Jets (2013-14). He held that position with the Philadelphia Eagles (2004-12) and the San Francisco 49ers (1997-2000). Mornhinweg spent two seasons (2001-02) as
Follow the 2016 UCBAC Football season on Twitter: @UCBACFootball head coach of the Detroit Lions.
Comparatively, the Ravens ranked 23rd in points (18.8) and yards (338.2) yards per game through five games. Flacco has thrown the most passes amongst NFL quarterbacks, but Baltimore’s eight touchdowns scored are the third fewest in the league.
Utilizing the run game should should take some pressure off of him.
“Marty is an exciting guy. He’s confident, and he brings a lot of confidence to the room,” Flacco said. “We’ll probably be a little more confident going forward and be shoring things up – doing what we do best. [We will] try to stretch the field a little bit more.”
Flacco said he spoke to Trestman on Tuesday, in what he described as a difficult conversation to have.
The Ravens offense won’t undergo a complete reboot. Mornhinweg will use the same concepts and plays that existed under Trestman. He may make some minor tweaks to terminology, but his impact will be felt most in play calling.
“It’s not like we’re changing the whole thing; we’re running the same offense. The terminology is the same. I’m sure Marty has changed a couple of terms for his play-calling,” Harbaugh said. “Sometimes you have some things engrained in as a coach. It’s interesting, [because] he was really concerned about that. He had two or three conversations with me about it – this term, that term. It’s only five or six things.
“I’m like, ‘Just do it. Just change it. These guys will get it. These guys are young.’ It’s like little kids. They learn languages quickly, and old people can’t do it quite as well. Marty can’t learn a new language, but the guys can. He changed a couple of things, and the guys picked it up like that, and we’re fine.”
The Ravens last replaced an offensive coordinator in 2012, when Cam Cameron was fired, ironically, following a loss to Washington.
“I think we just kind of hit a plateau, offensively, with Cam Cameron, for whatever reason. It wasn’t necessarily Cam’s fault, but sometimes that happens in this business. Making the change just kind of sparked whatever it was that got us going,” Pitta said. “Hopefully this will do the same thing. Hopefully we have a similar result, and we can go all the way to the Super Bowl. That would be nice.”
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Second-ranked Elkton hosts Perryville in a Susquehanna Division showdown tonight.
The Baltimore Ravens fired offensive coordinator Marc Trestman on Monday. He was replaced by quarterbacks coach Marty Mornhinweg.