Ravens opt for continuity at time when other perennial playoff teams are making big changesThe Baltimore Sun — By Jeff Zrebiec The Baltimore Sun
Jan. 12-- The Green Bay Packers, who had been to the NFL playoffs eight straight years and won a Super Bowl during that span before finishing 7-9 this season, made a change at general manager and Mike McCarthy overhauled his coaching staff, including bringing in new offensive and defensive coordinators.
After losing Sunday in an NFC wild-card game, the Carolina Panthers, who have gone to the postseason in four of the past five years and played in the Super Bowl after the 2015 regular season, fired offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey.
Longtime Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll responded to his team's first nonplayoff season since 2011 by bidding adieu to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and offensive line coach Tom Cable and by reportedly encouraging other assistants, including defensive coordinator Kris Richard, to explore other options.
Other teams that have made the playoffs the past few years, a list that includes the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions, are undergoing changes this offseason, whether it's in the front office or coaching staff or both.
The Ravens? After going 9-7 and missing the playoffs for the third consecutive year and the fourth time in five years, they've kept almost everybody in place to this point.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees retired and they filled that vacancy with the promotion of linebackers coach Don "Wink" Martindale. Martindale's former role at linebackers coach was filled with the promotion of Mike Macdonald, who coached the defensive backs last year.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was invited back despite the Ravens finishing 27th in the NFL in total offense. Greg Roman, the tight ends coach and run game guru, was retained and given the title "assistant head coach."
The only new face the Ravens have brought on is former Cincinnati Bengals wide receivers coach James Urban, who will coach Joe Flacco and the other quarterbacks.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh foreshadowed the coaching continuity last week at a news conference four days after his team's season ended with a shocking 31-27 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
"We have a great system here," Harbaugh said. "Our system and the way we do it, I love it."
To be fair, the Ravens offseason is not even two weeks old. There's plenty of time to shake things up if the team's top decision-makers see fit.
Owner Steve Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome and president Dick Cass have yet to address reporters at the annual "State of the Ravens" address. They'll undoubtedly be asked about the Ravens not making any significant changes and why they've apparently chosen that path while some other perennial playoff contenders have aggressively sought change.
The Packers lost Aaron Rodgers, perhaps the best quarterback in the league, for essentially 10 games and yet they didn't use his absence as a reason to stay the course.
The Panthers finished a respectable 12th in points per game and were one late successful drive away from beating the New Orleans Saints and playing this week. But that didn't save Shula or Dorsey's job.
The Seahawks offense finished 11th in points per game and 15th in yards per game and the defense was gutted by injuries, and yet their coaching staff might look entirely different next season.
Bisciotti, Cass, Newsome and Harbaugh are smart people who generally have the pulse of the fan base, which has already been heard loud and clear with the number of empty seats at M&T Bank Stadium this past season. They surely know that the lack of change so far hasn't been well received. They also surely have a reason they've chosen this route.
It will be interesting to hear it when that time comes.
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