Mike Preston on the Ravens' letting go of offensive coordinator Marc Trestman.
The firing of Marc Trestman as offensive coordinator is nothing more than a Band-Aid to cover a lot of problems that will continue to hurt the Ravens.
Head coach John Harbaugh had to make the move in the wake of his team's 16-10 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday. In that game, the Ravens abandoned a dominant running attack, causing several weeks of frustration to peak and erasing any confidence the players had in Trestman.
On Monday, Harbaugh either had to endorse Trestman for the rest of the season or let him go, and he chose the latter. It was a good move that appeared inevitable.
Now, for the next couple of weeks, the Ravens will play better because all the players will want to prove that it was not their fault, but Trestman's, as to why the offense has been so dismal. It's an act that we've all seen before, but it doesn't hide a lot of the offense's major problems.
The same issues that led to Trestman's dismissal will ultimately lead to new coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's demise unless changes are made in the future.
The players wanted Trestman out and he needed to go. His offense had become stale and his play-calling poor. The Ravens had a horizontal passing game instead of a vertical one and it was clear that Trestman preferred to pass instead of run.
But let's be honest here: Is Mornhinweg really going to make that much of a difference?
Harbaugh had to make a change, but he certainly wasn't going to find a Norv Turner available at this point of the season. Mornhinweg has a good resume having worked with quarterbacks Steve Young and Brett Favre, and his offenses were ranked in the top 10 in seven of the 15 years he served as a coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets.
But unless the players develop significantly more than in the previous five weeks, the Ravens have severe limitations. Their go-to receiver, Steve Smith Sr., can still make plays but can't stay healthy. When he left Sunday's game in the first quarter with an ankle injury, the Ravens virtually had no downfield passing game.
Receivers Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman and Kamar Aiken dropped passes for the second straight week. So do they become good hands guys just because Mornhinweg is in charge?
Sports columnist Mike Preston gives his position grades for the Ravens' game against the Washington Redskins. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Running back Terrance West has played well the past two games against teams that had the worst run defenses in the NFL, but he is very similar in style to backups Javorius Allen and Kenneth Dixon. The Ravens don't have a game-changing runner on the roster. The offensive line is average at best, but even worse when hit by injuries because the Ravens lack quality depth.
After last season, there was strong speculation that Trestman was going to be replaced if the Ravens could sign Ken Whisenhunt, who eventually went to San Diego in January. But this isn't all about a coordinator. This is the perfect time for reflection by Harbaugh and the Ravens front office.
Flacco is on his fifth coordinator and has struggled building relationships with two of them, Cam Cameron and Trestman. The only time there has been significant growth in Flacco's game was in 2014 when Gary Kubiak ran the offense and preached fundamentals to Flacco. The former Delaware star couldn't argue with Kubiak because of Kubiak's impeccable resume.
But despite being a veteran, Flacco still has many mechanical issues. He often doesn't plant his back foot when throwing, and won't step up in the pocket when pressured. He isn't very accurate on short passes and his play is erratic from half to half.
Meanwhile, the criticism is always the same of the coordinator, who is usually accused of not running the ball, throwing too many passes to the running backs out of the backfield and failing to produce a vertical game.
So, are the coordinators allowed to call their own plays or are they being handcuffed by the head coach?
Harbaugh has to assess his relationship with his coordinators. In Sunday's loss to Washington, was he forceful in demanding that Trestman run the ball in the second half?
During Trestman's 21 games as offensive coordinator, very seldom did you see communication between him and Harbaugh on the sidelines. There was only slightly more between Trestman and Flacco, and even less between Flacco and Cameron.
Mark Selig, Ravens editor: Everything seemed to click for about five minutes, and then the Ravens' offense reverted to the unit we had seen through the first
By The Baltimore Sun
Oct 09, 2016 | 3:37 PM
If the Ravens want to make a true evaluation of their offense, they need to find some alpha males. They need playmakers like Antonio Brown or A.J. Green who can make plays in the final four minutes of games.
The best the Ravens have is Steve Smith Sr., age 37.
The Ravens will get a spark from Mornhinweg. The players will play harder because the onus is now on them. They basically got what they wanted, and they wanted Trestman out.
But in the end, once the smoke has cleared, Mornhinweg will have the same problems as Trestman. The Band-Aid can only cover so much.