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Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is a great CEO and his staff is excellent at preparation, but they aren’t nearly as good on game day.

Sometime in the coming weeks, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti will meet with coach John Harbaugh and general manager Eric DeCosta to discuss the state of the team.

There needs to be more than just discussions. There needs to be accountability.

The owner should demand a full examination of the organization from top to bottom. It doesn’t have to be as extensive as the government’s probe into the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol, but there needs to be a game plan to make sure that the Ravens’ slow fall from the No. 1 team in the AFC to missing the playoffs is unlikely to happen again.

By now, we’ve all heard the same stories about the injuries that sidelined several starters. Seventy-five players played in at least one game for the Ravens this season, while 47 started at least one game. Harbaugh basically attributed the injuries to bad luck, which might be true, but the problem deserves a closer look. The Ravens need to examine their offseason strength and conditioning program to make sure players aren’t being overworked.

They need to speak with the team doctors to be certain that their medical needs, practices and rehabilitation procedures are in place and up to date. The Ravens thought Pro Bowl left tackle Ronnie Stanley had completed his rehab from a major ankle injury suffered in November 2020, but he lasted only one game before requiring another season-ending surgery.

The expectations are high again for the Ravens entering 2022, but they can’t afford similar setbacks for their injured players, such as cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards and quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The Ravens should also take a look at their outdoor practice fields for any potential problems. The fields probably receive proper maintenance, but players want assurances and comfort, especially after this past season.

Then there are the on-field issues.

The coaching staff deserves high marks for keeping the team competitive and within striking distance of the playoffs to the very end, but the lack of talent exposes other weaknesses. Harbaugh is a great CEO and his staff is excellent at preparation, but they aren’t nearly as good on game day.

The Ravens are one of the best teams in the NFL at drafting, and that showed again this season with their depth. But those decisions to go for late 2-point conversions in losses against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers were poor, as were some of Harbaugh’s clock-management issues. Maybe his worst call — or no-call — happened when the Ravens were penalized for a delay of game with 5:17 left in the fourth quarter while leading 16-14 against the Los Angeles Rams. That 5-yard penalty turned a third-and-goal from the 4-yard line into a third-and-goal from the 9, a massive difference for a struggling offense.

After a sack, the Ravens had to settle for a 34-yard field goal instead of what should have been the game-sealing touchdown in an eventual 20-19 loss. Harbaugh uncharacteristically pointed a finger at his young backup quarterback, Tyler Huntley, but he should have blamed himself. Upon further review, why didn’t Harbaugh call the timeout?

Accountability is what is needed, not excuses.

Bisciotti needs to call in offensive coordinator Greg Roman and ask him about his résumé. When Roman was calling the plays in San Francisco and Buffalo, the running game was always solid, but the passing game never improved. That has happened in Baltimore despite the addition of passing game assistants Tee Martin and Keith Williams last offseason and the emergence of young talented receivers Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay and James Proche II.

Why can’t this passing game find a rhythm? Why can’t Jackson react quickly to blitzes or read pressure from the outside?

There are similar questions for defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale. It’s easy to point to injuries as the reason opposing receivers were getting wide open during that six-game losing streak, but that same problem existed earlier in the season when the Ravens were much healthier. Injuries can only be blamed for so much.

At the end of 2020 season, DeCosta knew he had to improve the offensive line and find a pass rusher. After a 16-13 overtime loss to the Steelers on Sunday, the same problems still exist. Stanley didn’t play most of the season, left tackle Alejandro Villanueva couldn’t hold up and the left guard position was a revolving door yet again. When it came to pressuring the quarterback, the Ravens didn’t have anyone who could consistently win one-on-one matchups.

DeCosta’s biggest decision this offseason will be signing Jackson to a long-term contract. The preference here is to pay a lucrative contract to a quarterback with the Hall of Fame status of Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, or at least the pocket awareness and arm strength of a young talent such as Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert. You want a quarterback that passes first, runs second.

But the Ravens have invested so much in Jackson. They’ve gotten him some talented receivers and catered the offense around his abilities. That’s fine. That’s their style. It will be interesting to see if he re-signs with the Ravens or tests the free-agent market after the 2022 season.

Overall, though, the Ravens aren’t in bad shape. They just need to tighten up a few things.

Bisciotti has to find out what Roman needs to improve the passing game, and Martindale might need some road maps for his defensive backs. DeCosta has to fix the same problems that have plagued this team for the past four years.

It sounds like a lot, but it isn’t.

Injuries played a major part in the Ravens’ late-season demise, but they weren’t the only problem.

There must be accountability, and it starts at the top — owner included.

Copyright 2022 Tribune Content Agency.

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