Baltimore Ravens Coaching Changes and Scheme Changes

NFL Coaching Changes and Anticipated Scheme Changes

There is only one constant in the NFL, and that’s change. For the third consecutive year, 25% of the league’s teams will enter the season with different head coaches — and that doesn’t include Sean Payton, who returns to the head coaching ranks after a one-year suspension. Seven of the eight new head coaching hires are from the offensive side of the ball, emphasizing the NFL’s continued transition to an offensive-friendly environment. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars opted to hire from the defensive side of the ball (Gus Bradley).

As if that weren’t enough change, consider that 27 of the league’s 64 offensive and defensive coordinators were replaced. Including the head coaching changes, 37% of the NFL’s most important coaching positions are different from a season ago. Thinking about this another way, there are only 13 teams that return the same head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators:   The NFL is both a cyclical league and one prone to copy cats. When something works for a team, you can be sure other teams will look to duplicate that success; and it doesn’t always work. Not every iteration of the West Coast offense enjoyed the success of the Bill Walsh 49ers. Not every version of Dick LeBeau’s zone-blitz stopped opposing quarterbacks. With that in mind, today’s trends including the zone-read, spread attacks and no huddle approaches will have a mix of successes and failures. That’s the very nature of the league as success only comes with the confluence of great coaching, great players and health.

We will detail each team’s major coaching changes and the schematic implications of those hires. We will update and post our views throughout the preseason as more information is made available in training camp and the preseason.

Today we take a look at the Baltimore Ravens

• Head Coach: John Harbaugh
• Offensive Coordinator: Jim Caldwell (replaces Cam Cameron)
• Defensive Coordinator: Dean Pees

What you can expect on offense:

The Ravens were on their way to another playoff run last year when head coach John Harbaugh fired OC Cam Cameron, and elevated Jim Caldwell to the position with just three weeks left in the regular season. The controversial move now looks like a stroke of genius as Caldwell’s approach unlocked the best in QB Joe Flacco and RBs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce. It was the Ravens offensive turnaround that sparked their run to another Super Bowl title; a run that was personified by other worldly numbers from Flacco. In the 13 games under Cam Cameron, the Ravens averaged just 344 yards but generated more than 400 yards under Caldwell.

Nothing has changed in terms of base formations, terminology or cadence. What has changed is Caldwell’s approach; most importantly his willingness to trust Flacco to make plays and audible when the situation calls for it. Schematically the Ravens remain a power running team that looks to take shots downfield periodically while working short and intermediate routes off play-action. If the Ravens offensive explosion under Caldwell wasn’t a fluke — and why would it be — we should see a balanced attack that spreads the ball around, emphasizes the run, and tries to dictate time of possession.

Next Up: The Buffalo Bills

About the author: Dennis is an award winning handicapper, and is regarded as one of the nations most respected race and sports handicappers since 1981. Dennis owns Gridiron Gold, Gridiron Gold Sheet and Horse Race Tip Sheets. You can buy Dennis’ Del Mar and Saratoga Tip Sheets in this website and his Gridiron Gold Sheet Football Newsletter. This year, Dennis’ is giving away the first two weeks of the Gridiron Gold Sheet NFL Preseason newsletter absolutely free. Check it out, and if you like what you see, order at early bird prices.

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