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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is Baltimore Missing the Point?

I'm a little upset today by what I've been reading around on the Raven's head coaching job.

I'm slowly getting the feeling that the press and the people of Baltimore are losing focus and perspective on the hiring process. I'm going to present several exhibits.

EXHIBIT A: This story in The Baltimore Sun about how young assistant coaches make good hires as head coaches; and your point is? Most of the candidates for head coaching jobs are young assistant coaches, usually coordinators. So DUH. Of course sometimes young assistants make good coaches - I mean, it's not like there aren't going to be any more potential head coaches in a given year, it's a cycle. What is the point of this article? To tell us, "Hey, some of these young head coaches will be good someday!" Thanks for the reminder.

EXHIBIT B: This article by Mike Preston about how Jason Garrett "used" the Ravens to get more money in Dallas. First of all, so what? If he can squeeze Jerry Jones' pockets, congrats. Second of all, is it possible that maybe he just decided he wasn't ready? Frankly, I felt that two years as a QB coach and one year as coordinator wasn't enough to judge his track record and whether he was actually responsible for Dallas' offensive success (I think any team with T.O. and Marion Barber has a good shot at being a decent offense). Maybe Garrett realized he was over his head and that he was entering a dangerously volatile situation in Baltimore. Mike Preston gloats so much about the coaching job anyway, maybe he's forgotton this is a rogue team that just helped get their last coach fired, who've never had a long-term solution at quarterback, whose veterans are threatening to leave and whose coaches are ALL GONE. An entirely new system will have to be set up, and discipline and respect will have to be immediately installed (as if the veterans care at the twilight of their careers).

EXHIBIT C: Again, I hate to pick on the Baltimore Sun, but this isn't actually about them - it's about the people. I was looking throught the comments section of a Rick Maese story about "planning for the future" and I saw a lot of words, especially the word "thug," being thrown around on the message board. I only pick up on this because they talk about Ray Lewis and Chris McAlister mostly. I assume they aren't talking about Kelly Gregg, Mike Flynn or Todd Heap. Those "fans" might say they aren't racist, but they shouldn't act like "thug" or "thug-mentality" or "thug mafia" don't have racial connotations. I'm definitely picking up on that vibe, that people aren't sick of veterans, they're sick of the black veterans. Once they start becoming a problem, they're "thugs." Yeah, they're definitely in the same league as Pac Man Jones or Chris Henry, or Maurice Clarett for that matter. Those "thugs" are all the same. Yeah, Ray Lewis won a Super Bowl and was a two-time MVP, but now he's a "thug" because he's outspoken. (And for people that want to leave "murder jokes," realize that Ray Lewis walked with Cal Ripken and Johnny Unitas only three or four years ago in terms of Baltimore belovedness, and I'm simply saying that within Baltimore, that opinion has changed recently.)

At this point, I've resigned myself to the idea that Rex Ryan is no longer in the running, even though he could help this team win next year and, I believe, at least protect the integrity of our defense. Just watch out when he's a head coach someday. I'm tired of hearing about trendy picks for coach - I'm sure there's more people out there than Jerry Jones' crush Garrett, Schottenhiemer and Harbaugh. I heard Russ Grimm's name out there today. What about the Titan's D-coordinator Jim Schwartz? Is Pete Carroll interested?

I hear people saying that we should be patient. Well, now that we've ended all hopes of a quick solution with Ryan, let's actually take our time. I feel like too many people are thinking, "Gee, Harbaugh is the only guy left..." HE ISN'T!!! There are lots of people out there looking for head coaching jobs!!! Let's actually interview them instead of getting a Band-Aid to heal Garrett's rejection.

With any luck, we'll get a Tomlin instead of a Kiffin.

Photo Credits: CNN, Sports Illustrated

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