Ravens at Steelers      Game Rewind      Pro Bowl Voting   

Late For Work 7/2: Harbaugh’s Hot-Seat Meter

Ammunition for Steelers fans. Taylor being ‘seriously challenged.’ Sizzle’s boot came off.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Monday, July 2nd, 2012 at 9:06 am | Categories: 2012 Offseason, Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Harbaugh’s Hot-Seat Meter

Even if the Ravens finished next season with an abysmal 5-11 record, Head Coach John Harbaugh would hold onto his job, says Pro Football Weekly.

That’s how cool and comfortable Harbs is sitting right now – his seat doesn’t even register on the “hot-seat meter.” Only five coaches in the league – his brother Jim and a few recent Super Bowl winners – are in more comfortable situations (see list below).

“A losing season would anger the locals greatly — and some might argue anything less than a playoff win would be unacceptable,” wrote Eric Edholm.

“But would Harbaugh get fired from it?”

Nope.

That’s because while there is pressure to win this season, Edholm says falling short of those expectations would more likely be because of a serious injury to a major star like Joe Flacco, Ray Rice or Haloti Ngata. The Ravens already have to overcome an Achilles tendon injury to reigning Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs.

Very few coaches could overcome a losing record of that magnitude. The Giants’ Super Bowl-winning coach Tom Coughlin put Harbaugh’s envious job security in perspective: “As I have said roughly a thousand times, we’re all on one-year contracts in this business.”

But the fifth-year coach has earned a little latitude.

His 44-20 (.688 win percentage) regular-season record in Baltimore is tied for the seventh-highest in NFL history among coaches with at least 50 games under their belt. Harbaugh owns a 5-4 playoff record and led his team to the AFC championship twice, the first time with a rookie quarterback.

Two coaches that are currently in uncomfortable hot seats with plenty of pressure to win now are the Jets’ Rex Ryan and the Cowboys’ Jason Garrett. Both were candidates for Harbaugh’s position in 2008.

Below are the 10 coaches under the most/least pressure to win this season, according to Pro Football Weekly:

Most Pressure

1) Andy Reid, Eagles
2) Norv Turner, Chargers
3) Leslie Frazier, Vikings
4) Pat Shurmur, Browns
5) Rex Ryan, Jets
6) Jason Garrett, Cowboys
7) Marvin Lewis, Bengals
8) Lovie Smith, Bears
9) Chan Gailey, Bills
10) Mike Shanahan, Redskins

Least Pressure

1) Bill Belichick, Patriots
2) Tom Coughlin, Giants
3) Jim Harbaugh, 49ers
4) Mike Tomlin, Steelers
5) Mike McCarthy, Packers
6) John Harbaugh, Ravens
7) Jeff Fisher, Rams
8) Gary Kubiak, Texans
9) Jim Schwartz, Lions
10) John Fox, Broncos

Ravens Have Best Attendance In AFC North

As part of a wide-ranging effort designed to keep seats filled in stadiums, the NFL has relaxed its controversial blackout threshold rule.

The rule, which prevented local broadcasts if games didn’t sellout, was instituted decades ago and has become counterproductive in some respects, reports The Wall Street Journal. But owners have passed a resolution that will allow broadcasts when as few as 85% of game tickets are sold.

The new resolution probably won’t affect the Ravens much (especially if they keep winning), as they are one of seven clubs that averaged over-stadium capacity in 2011. Baltimore’s average capacity last season was 100.3 percent.

The Saints had the best average (107.4) followed by the Cowboys (106.9), Eagles (102.3), Colts (102.1), Bears (101.0) and Texans (100.6).

The Ravens had the highest percentage in the AFC North with the Steelers (96.9), Browns (89.8) and Bengals (75.2) to follow. The Bengals’ mark was the worst in the league.

“If you’re a Ravens fan and you want some more ammunition to throw at a Steelers fan, you could always ask if maybe it just gets too cold in Pittsburgh for a certain percentage of fans to come out and support their team,” wrote CSNBaltimore.com’s Ray Frager. “It’s less than 5 percent, but still, the stats are on your side, Baltimore.”

To keep stadiums filled, the league also plans to introduce wireless internet and smartphone apps that could allow fans to listen to players wearing microphones.

Taylor Being ‘Seriously Challenged’

Quarterback Joe Flacco has missed just three of a possible 2,315 snaps over the past two seasons.

With that crazy kind of durability, the Ravens may continue to keep just two quarterbacks on the roster, making the primary backup position a prized possession.

And for the first time in his young career, Tyrod Taylor is being “seriously challenged” for it, says The Baltimore Sun’s Edward Lee.

When Flacco missed minicamp with the birth of his first child, Taylor and Painter split most of the snaps. Both had ups and downs – neither clearly separating himself.

Painter is a four-year veteran with more experience after starting eight games last season in place of future Hall of Famer and former Colts starter Peyton Manning. But Taylor brings some benefits of his own.

“Taylor is the more dynamic of the two candidates, a fleet-footed quarterback who can fire a pass as adeptly as he can escape a collapsing pocket,” Lee wrote. “Taylor may not have the background that Painter has, but he has a full season in offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s system. That familiarity should help, but Taylor didn’t put too much weight behind that.”

Lee’s analysis about Taylor being “seriously challenged” may be right, but Harbaugh did say when Painter was first signed that Taylor was still the backup. It was unusual for the head coach to be so forthcoming about a leading candidate because he is big proponent of competition.

“Tyrod is our No. 2 quarterback; I want to make that very clear,” Harbaugh said in April.

“Everybody competes for their job, there’s no doubt about it, we believe in that, we always will, but he’s our No. 2 quarterback. He’s entrenched as our No. 2 quarterback.”

LaQuan Williams Holds Celebrity Basketball Game

laquanSecond-year receiver and Baltimore native LaQuan Williams had a star-studded cast on hand for his inaugural celebrity charity basketball game Saturday.

Several Ravens including Taylor, Terrence Cody, Jameel McClain, Torrey Smith, Lardarius Webb, and Anthony Allen joined their teammate’s event in front of a packed Stevenson University gymnasium.

“There were guys here in the area that did this when I was younger helping to motivate kids keep pushing them to dream big,” Williams said, per FootballNewsNow.com.

Apparently the highlights of the event include Smith and NBA star Josh Selby’s slam dunks and Mt. Cody’s attempted-slam-dunk-turned-lay-up. (Any fans out there happen to get a lil video of that? Would love to see it.)

Team LaQuan squeaked out a 111-110 victory.

The game helped raise money for the LaQuan Williams Foundation, which aims to help Baltimore-area youth by providing programs that teach sportsmanship, teamwork, proper nutrition, drug prevention and help with academic achievement.

Quick Hits

  • TeamSizzleFilms: It’s Friday. Know that that means? MY BOOT COMES OFF TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anybody want to do the busstop with… [Twitter/You Tube]
  • NFL.com has a series of videos from head coaches talking on various topics (watch them all if you’d like). My favorite quote from Harbaugh was this answer on challenge-flag etiquette: “The biggest etiquette I’ve learned is don’t hit the official in the back of the head. They do not appreciate that. I almost hit one of the guys in the back of the head this year. … He turned around and I thought he was going to hurt me – not that he could, but he wanted to.” [NFL.com]
  • A Patriots fan was ‘puzzled’ by Rice saying Flacco outplayed Tom Brady in AFC title game. [ESPN]
  • jonesArtj97: My t shirt says it all. [Twitter]
  • JameelMcClain: @ Artj97: Are you on the ground after your workout hahahahah. [Twitter]
  • Second-year linebacker Josh Bynes says it’s ‘amazing’ to learn lessons from Ray Lewis, one of the best linebackers to ever play the game. [Mobile Press-Register]
  • Ravens: Besides the 4 games he missed last year, @RayLewis52com only sat out 4 snaps all season, according to @ProFootbalFocus [Twitter]

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,