By HCR Staff | Aug. 26, 2018
Between now and the start of the 2018 season, Head Coach Ranking will provide a scouting report on all 32 NFL head coaches. Today, we’ll take a look at Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
John Harbaugh is the only current NFL head coach who came directly from a special teams coordinator role. It’s not a common transition, so this one fact informs us as to how Harbaugh is viewed among his peers — he is very well-respected.
In our view, Harbaugh is among the better in-game strategists in the NFL. His teams are well-prepared in all phases and he is one of the better clock management coaches in football. He generally knows how to close out a game.
Alternatively, we do have some concerns. Over the last three years, we’ve seen some in-game decisions (and mistakes) he wouldn’t have made in the past. We also have seen some stubbornness with respect to scheme — some players are asked to do things that don’t naturally fit their skill set.
There have been some personnel misses that Harbaugh has been saddled with, but he and GM Ozzie Newsome were a good team overall. This season will be Newsome’s last.
Along with personnel misses, there have been a rash of significant injuries Harbaugh has had to endure in the last three years — more than the usual amount. Pile on top of that retirements by core Ravens such as Ed Reed, and Harbaugh has had to substantially turn over this roster.
Notwithstanding any bad luck or personnel misfires, the Ravens organization expects to win, and win a lot. Since the founding of the franchise 22 years ago, the Ravens have won two Super Bowls and have clearly established an identifiable presence in the NFL as a tough, physical team that annually contends. In the last three years, Harbaugh has missed the playoffs and is 22-26. He enters the 2018 season with his job in jeopardy.
If he is let go, he will not be unemployed long — he will be in demand. But we don’t think it gets that far as we see a successful 2018 campaign. Harbaugh and his staff have nurtured and developed some tremendous young talent over the last three years, and quarterback Joe Flacco is further removed from his ACL injury. This may be the season when results re-align with Harbaugh’s abilities.
Previous HC Previews:
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
Pat Shurmr, New York Giants
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles
Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders
Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs