John Harbaugh deserves to be NFL Coach of the Year
Does John Harbaugh deserve to be the NFL coach of the year? He’s got a strong argument:
The Baltimore Ravens have to give a lot of credit to John Harbaugh for the position they walk into week 17 in. When the Ravens lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 9 it led to some very bleak conversations in Baltimore. The Ravens looked doomed to miss the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. Many analysts (myself included) were fairly convinced the Harbaugh era was about to end, and that his firing would be justified. The Ravens had just enough hope to see it if you looked through a microscope.
Harbaugh and the Ravens are 5-1 since that bleak moment and their only loss was in a memorable overtime battle against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens rolled over four sub-par teams in the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Harbaugh’s team needed to prove that they could beat a contender.
That’s when the Ravens showed that their new formula with Lamar Jackson as the starting quarterback could slay a giant. The Ravens beat the Los Angeles Chargers 22-10. Baltimore traveled to Los Angeles and played a game on a short week. The Ravens were the team that looked prepared.
The Ravens had to completely change their style of play with a rookie quarterback. Joe Flacco led an offense that was primarily getting the job done through the air. The Ravens rushing attack had the fizzle of a bottle of soda that had been left open overnight. Now the Ravens are all about their rushing attack and they are doing it better than anybody.
John Harbaugh could have put Flacco back in after he recovered from his hip injury. Instead Harbaugh rolled with Jackson. Harbaugh has been the head coach of the Ravens for 11 years and in that time, he hasn’t been known for his flexibility. Harbaugh showing the ability to change has paid off in a big way.
While on the outside the Ravens appeared to be falling apart heading into the bye week, Harbaugh kept the team on track for the postseason. Yes, the Ravens got some help from the Oakland Raiders and the New Orleans Saints, but if the Ravens beat the Browns this will be the most impressive division championship in Ravens history.
Harbaugh kept things positive. Instead of unraveling himself, watching his team set up the same old thing, Harbaugh rewrote the second half of the season. The Ravens still have to put the exclamation point on the regular season with a win against the Browns. If the Ravens win the AFC North, Harbaugh should be the coach of the year. His team found themselves and they got hot at the right moment for a push towards the playoffs.
Lamar Jackson has changed the entire team. The energy and the chemistry has been adjusted in such a way, that the Ravens are red-hot. The Baltimore Ravens are all of a sudden the hottest team in the NFL. Jackson has shown off his impressive skill set and has become the team’s best play-maker. Jackson just had his first 200 yard passing game and he did it against a top 10 defense. Jackson, who always seems to be smiling, is a source of positive energy that the team tends to feed off of.
While the attention is going to the rookie quarterback and the happenings on the offense, the Ravens have a dominant defense. In fact, the Ravens have the number one defense in the National Football league. The Ravens are playing great football in a season that could have gotten out of hand. The second the Ravens beat the Browns, should be the second John Harbaugh is awarded NFL coach of the year.