Garrett now becoming a ‘must-win’…

January 17, 2008 | Drew Forrester

Process, process, process.

It’s the new buzz word here in Baltimore.

The Ravens talked about using a “process” to determine if the time was right to fire Brian Billick.  Then, they spoke about the “process” that goes into hiring a new coach.  And, yesterday at Owings Mills, coaching-hopeful Jason Garrett used the “p-word” a bunch as well.

Well, if you believe the reports (and, most likely, you shouldn’t), “the process” is now between Baltimore and Dallas as far as Garrett’s services go.

Atlanta is out? 

Who knows? 

But, reports are floating around tonight that Jason Garrett will decide tomorrow whether or not he’s staying in Big D or coming to Charm City to become the 3rd coach in Ravens history.

First, let’s be clear on one thing.  Jason Garrett COULD be on the phone right now with Arthur Blank agreeing on terms of a new deal to be the Falcons skipper.  Or, he could be dining at Campisi’s Restaurant in Dallas, sharing some crab claws and pizza (specialties at Campisi’s) with Jerry Jones and signing a napkin as part of his new deal with the Cowboys.  And, yes, he could also be speaking right now with Steve Bisciotti and ironing out the details of his contract with the Ravens. 

Remember, Garrett has the right to “change his mind” (another new buzz-phrase in Baltimore sports) so even if he told the Falcons “no thanks” three hours ago, one final cash-cow call from Arthur Blank could sway Garrett’s decision again.

However, let’s assume the reports out there tonight are true and that Garrett has indeed narrowed his choices to Baltimore and Dallas.

I wrote yesterday about the Ravens being engaged in “Plan B” in their coaching search once Garrett exited the premises on Tuesday.

Well, if it’s now down to Baltimore and Dallas, you can forget about “Plan B”.

The Ravens are back to “Plan A” with one new twist.

Plan A is now “must win” time for the Ravens.

If Garrett calls them tomorrow and says, “I think I’ll stay in Dallas”, the molitov cocktail that Bisciotti, Cass and #52 threw into Billick’s office on December 31 is looking more and more like a wild pitch.

As far as the Ravens are concerned, Jason Garrett simply CAN’T turn them down to stay in Dallas as the Cowboys’ Offensive Coordinator. 

It’s one thing if he hears the good and the bad from both the Falcons and the Ravens and decides to sign on with the Georgia Birds instead of the Maryland Birds.  I don’t think we’d like it and, generally, we all seem to think the Baltimore gig is a notch better than the Atlanta opening.  But they’re both NFL Head Coaching positions and, the Falcons and the Ravens are a little bit similar to one another:  No QB, bad offense, terrible ’07 season.  Let’s face it:  Atlanta’s team really isn’t THAT much worse than our team at this point.

Garrett taking the Falcons job over the Ravens job would be a loss, but an understandable one from the standpoint of two-openings-and-only-one-guy-to-fill-them.

But, if Garrett decides being a Coodinator in Dallas is BETTER than being the Head Coach of a Super Bowl Champion franchise, the Ravens will need two spatulas to get the egg off their faces.

Oh, and by the way, how’s that phone call going to go to John Harbaugh?

“Hey, John, we’re interested in having you come in for a second interview and talk some more about the coaching vacancy.”

Harbaugh:  “Right, you mean the coaching vacancy you offered to Jason Garrett?”

“No, we didn’t offer it to him.”

Harbaugh:  “You didn’t?  Well, then, exactly what was he choosing BETWEEN when he just announced he’s staying in Dallas and not going to Baltimore?”

Checkmate.

The Ravens obviously offered Garrett the job on Tuesday. 

He was – and still is, until they hear otherwise – their #1 choice.

Not sure how they’re gonna sell that to Harbaugh, but I’m sure they’ll try their best.

In the meantime, though, Garrett is now a must-win for the Ravens.  You think that 9-game losing streak at the end of the season was important to break when they played the Steelers in the final game? 

This one is now bigger than any game they had on their ’07 schedule.

It’s one thing if he turned them down to take the Head Coach position in Atlanta.

Getting turned down to stay in a second-in-command-position in Dallas would be akin to losing to Pittsburgh 38-7 on national TV.

You fired the coach and torched his entire staff and altered the lives of about 50 people and now the guy you zeroed in on might not show up and take the job after all?

Holy What-Did-We-Get-Ourselves-Into?

This simply CAN’T happen.

It might be time for Uncle Stevie to loosen that wallet up a bit and up the ante.

That’s not necessarily what I would do, since I’m not sure a guy who’s been in the coaching ranks for three years is a wise choice to take over your football team.  Then again, I don’t think I would have put the Head Coach and his coaching staff in the “sleeper hold” on December 31 either. 

You know the old saying, “money talks”.  And that other stuff walks.

Steve might have to dig a little deeper into his rainy day slush fund and make one more Hail Mary call to Garrett.

I guess that’s the price you have to pay to get the guy you want, huh?

It’s must-win time for the Ravens.

And it isn’t must-win time because Garrett is a slam-dunk future Hall of Famer.  He might be the next Scott Linehan for all we know.  Or, yes, he could also be the next Bill Walsh.  We don’t know.

But we do know he was the Ravens #1 choice. 

Right or wrong – and we won’t know for years either way – it’s must-win time because the Ravens want him.

But does he want them?

Thursday might be the day we find out.

 

 

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