Five Things You Need To Know About Marc Trestman's Dismissal
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh announced Monday morning that Marc Trestman is no longer the offensive coordinator and his duties have been passed on to Marty Mornhinweg, who has been the Ravens quarterbacks coach since 2015.
Here are five things you need to know about the change:
1) This Was A Move Harbaugh Considered During The Offseason
While Sunday's loss to the Washington Redskins may have been the straw that broke the camel's back, Harbaugh's decision to fire Trestman was not a knee-jerk reaction.
This was a move Harbaugh has reportedly considered for several months.
"This has been something that had been building for some time for John Harbaugh and the Ravens, something that he actually considered this past offseason," NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports in the video below.
"He just wasn't thrilled with the direction the offense had been going last year even without [quarterback Joe] Flacco towards the end of the year. And then this year, I'm told that there was internal frustration about play calling in general from Marc Trestman, and specifically just the way he handled the run game. There really was no better example than this past Sunday."
That internal frustration seemed to boil over after Sunday's loss, as Flacco said he was "embarrassed" and was trying to remain patient. The decision seemed "inevitable" based off the "palpable frustration" of the players, according to The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
If Harbaugh did indeed consider making the move after last season, it would have been hard to pull the trigger when nearly half of the offensive starters landed on injured reserve, including Flacco, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., starting running back Justin Forsett, starting left tackle Eugene Monroe and first-round pick Breshad Perriman. Tight end Dennis Pitta also sat out the entire year.
2) We'll Find Out If Trestman Was Main Problem, Or The Fall Guy For Deeper Issues
The Ravens believe they have more potential on offense than scoring 18.7 points per game, which is what they averaged in the 21 games under Trestman. That was the eighth fewest in the league over that stretch.
Flacco has proven he's a consistent playoff contender, and many believe he has more weapons this year than he's had for most of his career.
Now's the time to prove the potential.
"[T]he heat turns up on the players and coaches to fix what is wrong with the offense," wrote CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown.
"The Ravens insist they have the quarterback and the weapons to have a potent attack. But that hasn't materialized in the first five games. If the switch to Marty Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator leads to more points, more offensive consistency, and more wins, then firing Trestman will be remembered as a turning point in the season. But if the switch to Mornhinweg doesn't produce tangible improvement, then Trestman is just a fall guy for deeper issues."
There are several problems that you may not be able to attribute to Trestman. Brown sees at least three things that need to improve.
The offensive line has to protect better, even if they are hampered by injuries. Flacco needs to show better mechanics, including stepping into his throws, and more consistency instead of playing half to half. Finally, more playmakers need to step to the forefront, especially if Smith is hampered by an ankle injury. Perriman, fellow receiver Mike Wallace and Pitta need to show more consistency, and there needs to be fewer drops.
"Was Trestman the main problem, or did he take the fall for a team that has deep offensive shortcomings?" Brown asked. "The next 11 games will answer that question. Because if things don't improve offensively from this point, frustrated fans won't be able to blame Trestman anymore."
3) This Was Harbaugh's Call, Not Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome Or Flacco's
From the top of his regular Monday afternoon press conference, Harbaugh made it clear the decision to fire Trestman was his and his alone.
"The decision is definitely on the coach," he said.
Harbaugh said he made the decision Sunday night, and called Owner Steve Bisciotti and General Manager Ozzie Newsome to inform them. Flacco was not involved in the discussion, as the two didn't talk until Monday afternoon because Flacco was with his family.
"The firing … served as another bold reminder this season of [Harbaugh's] long-standing mantra. If you're not helping the team win, you're going to lose your job," wrote ESPN.
"This isn't like the Buffalo Bills, who got rid of Greg Roman after a 0-2 start. The Baltimore Ravens are 3-2 and one game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North. Some coaches might have given Trestman more time or waited until the bye in a couple weeks. But Harbaugh is not like most coaches."
Over the last five seasons, only two offensive coordinators were fired by a *winning *team during the season, per ESPN. Those two were Trestman and Cam Cameron, both let go by Harbaugh. He's already made another bold move this season, parting ways with Forsett, who is only a little over a season removed from a Pro Bowl year.
"When Harbaugh has seen enough and when players have lost confidence in the play caller, he has proven that he will make the necessary decision, no matter the circumstances," ESPN wrote. "Time will tell whether Marty Mornhinweg is the right offensive coordinator for the Ravens. But Harbaugh knew Trestman was the wrong one. That's why there was no reason to wait to make a move. It was time to be aggressive once again."
4) What Are Fair Expectations For Mornhinweg?
You'll likely see a greater commitment to the run game and more downfield passing.
That's the start.
The good news is that Mornhinweg already has a relationship with Flacco after serving as the quarterbacks* *coach for more than a year, and he has extensive play-calling experience after serving as offensive coordinator for San Francisco (1997-2000), Philadelphia (2004-2012) and the New York Jets (2013-2014).
His offenses were ranked in the top 10 in seven of the 15 years he served as a coordinator with the 49ers, Eagles and Jets. He's coached prolific quarterbacks, including Hall of Famers Steve Young and Brett Favre, and Pro Bowlers Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia.
While he's been known to air it out, he's also shown he can direct a top rushing attack. While in New York, the Jets' run game ranked as the NFL's third best in 2014.
He has the credentials, but it may take time to see the unit really start to jell. After the Ravens fired Cameron, they got creamed the next week by the Denver Broncos before ultimately going on a Super Bowl run.
Ideally, however, it would be nice to get things moving in the right direction before the bye week.
5) Ravens OC Job The Ultimate Boom Or Bust
This job could wind up putting Mornhinweg back in contention for his second head coaching job after being fired by the Detroit Lions in 2002, or things could go in a completely different direction …
*Season Coordinator Why They Left *
2015-16 Marc Trestman Fired
2014 Gary Kubiak Hired as Broncos' HC
2012-13 Jim Caldwell Hired as Lions' HC
2008-12 Cam Cameron Fired
Ravens Have Injury Concerns With Several Key Starters
Harbaugh hasn't given any injury updates on several key starters that were either knocked out of Sunday's game or didn't play at all.
On Monday, he said he is waiting on getting a few MRIs, and isn't exactly sure if any of them are serious. The only player he said has a good chance of returning Sunday against the Giants is cornerback Shareece Wright, who woke up with back spasms Sunday.
Justin Forsett In Detroit Today For Workout With Lions
Forsett is auditioning for his first job after being cut by the Ravens last week.
He landed in Detroit last night for a workout with the team, led by Ravens former offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell.
Wishing Forsett the best of luck.