Late for Work 4/6: Harbaugh No. 10 in ESPN Coaches Rankings

And the Ravens would do backflips to the podium for this player; Flacco has more to prove.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 at 9:06 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison


Harbaugh No. 10 in ESPN Coaches Rankings

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh was ranked No. 10 (tied) in ESPN’s power rankings of the top 10 NFL head coaches.

Based on votes from John Clayton and seven division bloggers, both Harbaugh and the Redskins’ Mike Shanahan received 11 points to land in the top 10. Three of the voters placed the Ravens’ coach as high as No. 8.

The complete list is as follows:

1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
2. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
4. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
5. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
6. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
7. Rex Ryan, New York Jets
8. Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears
9. Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons
10. M. Shanahan, Washington Redskins
10. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

The voters seemed to put a high value on Super Bowl wins, seeing as five of the top six coaches have at least one championship ring.

It’s tough to argue against such a criterion, but of those who have only recently taken over their team’s reigns, who has the potential to move up on the list?

ESPN’s Mike Golic and Darren Woodson believe that man is Harbaugh.

He’s been pretty successful in Baltimore in his short time there,” said Golic. “I may have him up a little higher than that.”

Added Woodson, “I like Harbaugh. He’s a young guy who should be moving up that list.”

Owner Steve Bisciotti and the Ravens organization believe Harbaugh is a rising star too.

After becoming the first coach in NFL history to win a playoff game in each of his first three seasons, the franchise rewarded Harbaugh with a reported three-year contract extension in February.

Bisciotti said it was “gratifying” to see Harbaugh, who was a lesser-known special teams coach at the time of his hiring, achieve great success in a short time.

We all get a lot of gratification for that,” Bisciotti told the Baltimore Sun while at the NFL owners meetings.  “When we decided he was right for the job, we have enough confidence in each other that we were pretty sure that we were going to be proven right.”

Ravens’ Draft Needs Q&A

As the 2011 NFL Draft approaches, there’s finally something to be excited about during this offseason of labor dispute.

And with speculation mounting about the Ravens’ first-round move, I put together a schmorgasboard of compelling fan questions and analyst opinions from various sites around the Web that I thought you’d enjoy.

So, here we go…

Jack Skinner: “Is Torrey Smith worth the 26th pick as an overall player?”


ESPN’s James Walker
: “Smith has the speed the Ravens need. But I still contend OT and getting a pass-rusher are bigger needs.

Added CSNBaltimore’s John Eisenberg on the topic
: “The Ravens have done nothing to dispel their interest in Smith. … [But] it’s worth asking what might happen if Jon Baldwin is still on the board when the Ravens are on the clock with the 26th pick in the first round.

“Baldwin is 6-feet-4 and 224 pounds, three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than Smith, and he ran a 4.49 at the combine, not much slower than Smith. Put simply, he’s a big, fast target who caught 110 passes for 1,933 yards and 13 touchdowns during his final two seasons at Pitt.”

Brian: “With McGahee on the way out it seems, do you see Ozzie taking a RB in the 2nd round or later?
I think a guy like Leshoure or Ryan Williams would be a great pick to help take some pressure off of Rice. Giving Le’Ron those carries is also an option.”

JW:
“Ryan Williams is a bigger RB and certainly a possibility. Baltimore’s first preference would be to re-sign McGahee at a cheaper rate, but the draft isn’t a bad Plan B. I would be surprised if Le’Ron McClain returns next season, considering he wants to play a bigger part in the offense.”

Jack: “Do you see the Ravens trading to the top or out of the first round for more picks like last year?
They have a lot of players becoming free agents in the coming seasons and the positions they need are fairly deep in the draft.”

JW:
“This is just a hunch, but I think Baltimore keeps its pick this year. This is a very good draft and a quality player will be there at No. 26. The Ravens also have some defined needs (OT, pass rusher, speed WR). They should be able to fill one of those holes at 26.”

KinGee7
: What do you see the Ravens doing in the draft?

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen:
“[The Ravens would] probably do backflips to the podium if DT Muhammad Wilkerson is there.”

Added ProFootballTalk’s Gregg Rosenthal:
“This draft is extremely deep on the defensive line and the Ravens have a need there.   At this point, it would be a surprise if they don’t take a defensive lineman with the No. 26 overall pick.”

Michael: “If CB Jimmy Smith were to fall to 31, do you think the Steelers would take a chance on him even though he could end up just like Santonio Holmes because of his character concerns? He has a lot of talent but the character concerns seem to be hurting him.”

JW:
“I don’t think Smith is in the mix at No. 31. Pittsburgh has always had a low tolerance, but now the team seems to be taking a zero-tolerance approach after last year. If Smith lands in the AFC North, he’s more likely to go to Baltimore at No. 26 than Pittsburgh, because the Ravens are more comfortable reeling in players with character concerns into their locker room.”

Carucci: Flacco Must Provide More Evidence

Entering his fourth year in the league, quarterback Joe Flacco wants to discuss a new contract this offseason, two years before his rookie contract is up. The Ravens have said they will likely get him a new deal before 2012 so that he is not playing in the final year of his five-year deal.

At this point, we’ve looked at Flacco’s contract request from just about every angle. We’ve talked about long-term contract budgeting, the Ravens’ history of re-singing star players, and how he fits in with 23 other Ravens free agents.
NFL.com’s Vic Carucci now asks if Flacco has done enough to show he deserves a payday that would compare to the league’s other elite quarterbacks.

“It’s so easy to get caught up with how much Flacco has accomplished in such a short time that you overlook the fact his game still is a work in progress,” wrote Carucci. “It’s fair to say that Flacco is far enough away from being a finished product that the Ravens want to be a little more certain about what they have in him before committing to a long-term deal, one that would likely put him among the higher-paid quarterbacks in the league.

He adds, “Bisciotti and the rest of the Ravens’ brain trust need to see more evidence about just how much of a difference-maker they have under center before paying Flacco like one.”

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