Schmuck: There's a reason Ravens draw from their pool of coaches

January 27, 2012|Peter Schmuck

The Ravens don't make sweeping changes. They don't generally go looking for someone to throw to the wolves after a disappointing finish. That's the kind of thing the Oakland Raiders do, not this team.

If you were waiting to hear at Friday's news conference that the Ravens had done anything other than promote a new defensive coordinator from within the organization and give a vote of confidence to everyone else on the coaching staff, you probably haven't been paying close enough attention during the Steve Bisciotti era.

The Ravens don't make sweeping changes. They don't generally go looking for someone to throw to the wolves after a disappointing finish. That's the kind of thing the Oakland Raiders do, not this team.

So, let's give a warm welcome to new defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who has about four decades of coaching experience and worked under both Greg Mattison and Chuck Pagano the past two years as linebackers coach. To use the parlance of the sport, he is the next man up, and head coach John Harbaugh said on Friday that there was no thought of looking outside the organization after Pagano became the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

"We didn't look around the league at all,'' Harbaugh said. "We looked no farther than the staff, and wouldn't stop with Coach Pees. Any one of the guys on our defensive staff is capable of coordinating in this league. That's without question. I think for right now, it's a perfect fit and we'll move forward together as a team and do a great job coaching these guys."

The news conference also allowed Harbaugh to give a warm welcome back to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, whose future directing the Ravens offensive attack has been a hot topic of conversation on the talk shows and Ravens blogs throughout the season and the playoffs, but apparently has not been in serious doubt inside The Castle.

That won't be good news to Cam's legion of detractors, who think he is the reason that Joe Flacco hasn't morphed into Peyton Manning during his first four years in the NFL, but the Ravens have won at least one game in the postseason in each of Cameron's four seasons here, and they just came within a stripped pass of reaching the Super Bowl.

There is an immediate and predictable emotional reaction to such a devastating disappointment, particularly among the fans and – in some cities -- from the frustrated team owner. Somebody needs to be held responsible. Somebody needs to be replaced. The Ravens, however, clearly recognize that the first four years of the Harbaugh/Cameron era have been very successful by any reasonable measure, so it isn't surprising that the front office – from Bisciotti to Ozzie Newsome to Harbaugh – is not interested in offering up some sort of sacrifice to the disgruntled masses.

This is a sign of strength and organizational stability, not indecisiveness.

"It was a foregone conclusion to me,'' Harbaugh said. "You watch the way our offense played this year and the job the players did on offense and the coaches did, I was excited about it. It was a good year. We turned a lot of things over on offense. We had a lot of new receivers out there for the first time. We had new tight ends out there for the first time. The left side of our offensive line was new for most of the season. I thought our players and coaches did a great job. They fought like crazy and got the job done and won 13 games. That's the bottom line."

Of course, if there was an available coach out there that everyone was certain would be a better fit than Cameron, the decision might have been different, but there's a reason why the Ravens only seem to lose coaches when other teams steal them away. Bisciotti, whose expertise in the field of human resources made him a billionaire who could afford an NFL franchise, insists on hiring the right people the first time and doesn't make personnel moves in the heat of the moment.

That's not going to satisfy all the people whose eyes are still stinging from Sunday's loss, but that's the reason the Ravens have gotten close to the mountaintop in each of the last four seasons and probably will again in 2012.

Listen to Peter Schmuck when he hosts "The Week in Review" on Fridays at 10 a.m. on WBAL (1090AM) and wbal.com.

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