Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ravens Coaches

This must have hurt Preston to write:

Ravens' coaching staff deserves tons of credit for getting this team to the Super Bowl

At least he didn't miss the chance to take credit for being smarter than the coaches on the OL switch: “The move was way overdue, but at least Harbaugh swallowed his pride.”

[EDIT: Preston is utterly unwilling to let go of his idea that Harbaugh was too stupid or hardheaded to make the moves Preston wanted.  In this piece: Newsome tells Preston flat-out that he did not order John Harbaugh to play Bryant McKinnie at LT: 

“I give the coach the roster of the players to work with, but John and his coaches have the final say on the 53-man roster, even the practice squad,” Newsome said. “That's not my job.”
Preston actually, literally writes “Newsome said that wasn't true, but I suspect...”  It's funny, and unusual I think, to see a bias so nakedly revealed.]

In other Ravens coaches news, they hired ex-Eagles guy Juan Castillo.  He's a "consultant" this week, to be Run Game Coordinator as soon as the offseason starts.  Despite the debacle with the Eagles D, he has a great rep as an O-line coach.  Andy Reid wanted to tab him to be O-line coach in KC, but John Harbaugh nabbed him first. Seems like a great add.

"Run game coordinator" seems an odd position, since in the same announcement they retained Jim Caldwell as Offensive Coordinator for next season.  Not many teams need a separate guy to coordinate the run game.  It's true that Caldwell's previous expertise was in the passing game; but I have to wonder if Harbaugh is stashing Castillo up his sleeve, in case he needs to replace OL coach Andy Moeller.  Worked out well with Caldwell.

On the defensive side –

I might be acting like an idiot here, given Dean Pees' resume and the results these past 3 weeks.  But with the Pistol and read option coming soon to a line of scrimmage near us, I find myself wishing the Ravens still had Rex on staff.  Rex never met an unusual wrinkle he didn't want to throw at an offense.  I feel like he had (has) a gift for simplifying reads for his players, so that a defense which presented a very complex face to the opposing offense, was actually pretty easy for the defenders to play.

I remember when the Wildcat first stormed the NFL, and the Dolphins absolutely clobbered the Patriots with it.  (If I'm not mistaken, Dean Pees was the Pats DC at the time.)  Miami hosted Baltimore a few games later.  I watched Rex's press conference that week, and reporters asked him about preparing for the Wildcat. He just smirked that smug, insolent, arrogant little smirk of his, and said "Oh I think we'll be ready."  Then they went out and throttled the Dolphins, allowing 70 yds rushing at about 3 ypc.  (Got 'em on the rematch in the playoffs too, allowing only 50 yds rushing at under 2.5 ypc.)  The impression was that Rex and his guys knew exactly how to handle that offense after about 3 mins of watching tape.

...Of course it's also true that Rex had a Pro Bowl -level Bart Scott on that squad, along with Jarrett Johnson & Trevor Pryce, uninjured versions of Ngata & Suggs, 4-yrs-younger editions of Ed & Ray, and my boy Jim Leonhard.  So it probably wasn't all "scheme".  But I still feel like Rex is exactly the guy you want tinkering up a counter to a college offense imported into the NFL.  Dust off Dad's old 46 D maybe, or some other twist.  Staid old Dean Pees does not inspire the same confidence that we will have something special in response.

I may be under-rating Dean.  He has been around the block.  (Timeline below.)  [EDIT: And in the piece that I linked above, Ozzie expresses admiration for the job done by Pees.] And Harbaugh is not going to lack energy in delving into possible counters, including formation changes etc.  This is just in the back of my mind.

Dean Pees timeline
1973-4Elmwood HS (Ohio)Asst
1975-8Elmwood HS (Ohio)Head coach
1979-82Univ of FindlayDC/Secondary (1979 D2 Natl Champship)
1983-86Miami (OH)DC/Secondary (coached DB John Harbaugh)
1987-89NavySecondary coach
1990-93ToledoDC (under Nick Saban)
1994Notre DameSecondary (under Lou Holtz)
1995-97Michigan StateDC /ILB coach (under Saban again)
1998-2003Kent StateHead Coach
2004-05New England PatriotsLB coach
2006-09New England PatriotsDC
2010-11Baltimore RavensLB coach
2012Baltimore RavensDC


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