Just a few weeks ago, following an overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts, some Baltimore Ravens fans were starting to float some questions marks above head coach John Harbaugh's head.
Would John Harbaugh remain with Baltimore next season? Would the Ravens keep giving Harbaugh chances at doing good-not-great work with the franchise? Would the seat start to heat? Well, how things have changed...
The Ravens are entering Week 10 boasting the second-best record in the NFL and sitting atop the AFC conference tied with the Chiefs at 7-2. Harbaugh has been sublime in leading the Ravens to that extraordinary record along with his acolytes Todd Monken (OC) and Mike Macdonald (DC).
Harbaugh has been so good, in fact, that he's getting serious support to make a run for the Coach of the Year award these days.
One analyst on his side is Mike Sando of The Athletic, who picked Harbaugh as one of his main three candidates to earn the CotY award when all is said and done along with Mike McDaniel (Miami) and Dan Campbell (Detroit).
"The potential for implosion was there (after last season). Instead, the Ravens are 7-2 after hammering Seattle 37-3 in Week 9. They rank eighth in offensive EPA per play while establishing a new identity with increased use of three wide receivers and more measured usage of Lamar Jackson as a runner. The defense ranks second in EPA per play. It has allowed nine touchdowns through nine games, matching the historic 2000 Ravens defense."- Mike Sando, The Athletic
Sando started his writeup by providing a little background, touching on the 2022 Ravens season and how the offseason upset could have started to end Harbaugh's tenure in Baltimore.
"There were times last offseason when it seemed possible Harbaugh had reached his shelf life in Baltimore," Sando wrote. "His team hadn’t advanced past the divisional round since the 2012 season."
After that, and after acknowledging there was "potential for implosion," Sando went on to highlight the fantastic first half of the season that the Ravens--led by Harbaugh--have put together.
"[The Ravens] rank eighth in offensive EPA per play while establishing a new identity with increased use of three wide receivers and more measured usage of Lamar Jackson as a runner," Sando researched and pointed out.
"The defense ranks second in EPA per play," he added, "and it has allowed nine touchdowns through nine games, matching the historic 2000 Ravens defense."
Those 2000 Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl in February 2001 beating the New York Giants 34-7 in a lopsided championship game. The Giants won't be there this season, but considering how impressive Baltimore has played through Week 9, it's fair to at least give them and Harbaugh the benefit of the doubt when it comes to that potential run.
While the current level of play of Baltimore is sublime and has not been fully related to the work of John Harbaugh, the coach should surely be given his flowers and remain in contention for the CotY award provided he can keep the Ravens going at their current, unstoppable pace.