Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun
Until the playoffs became an obvious impossibility, we heard John Harbaugh talk as if his 2015 team was a hair away from resuming its usual place as a contender.
What we didn’t hear until Thursday was how owner Steve Bisciotti viewed the Ravens’ descent from speculative Super Bowl pick to 5-11 also ran.
If fans expected a testy Bisciotti who’d hold Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome’s feet to the fire, they were likely disappointed with the sunny owner who took the stage in Owings Mills on Thursday.
“I don’t really think a lot has to be done,” Bisciotti said in what felt like a summary statement of the entire 50-minute presentation.
I was surprised he didn’t express more visceral disappointment in the season. But anyone who expected Bisciotti to unleash fire and brimstone or vow sweeping changes has not been paying attention for the past 12 years.
His Ravens have thrived on a culture of stability. He has made just one substantial change to the football operation in his tenure as owner — the decision to fire Brian Billick after the 2007 season.
Not only will Harbaugh, Newsome and Newsome’s assistant, Eric DeCosta, be back. But as of now, so will offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and defensive coordinator Dean Pees, along with most of Harbaugh’s staff aside from linebackers coach Ted Monachino, who’s leaving to become defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts.
Which all suggests Bisciotti, Newsome and Harbaugh are convinced injuries and bad luck in close games were the chief reasons the Ravens fell from 10-6 to 5-11. They believe that with a strong draft, a few moves in free agency and tweaks to the offensive and defensive schemes, the team will be back in the playoffs in 2016.
For the first time in a long time, Bisciotti’s commitment to stability feels like a significant risk, because this year’s team wasn’t great even when it was largely healthy.
But I also admire the Ravens’ commitment to their essential Ravenness. As Bisciotti said, good organizations don’t blow up their foundations at the first sign of trouble.