John Harbaugh Owes The “Stakeholders” Some Answers …..

October 12, 2009 |

John Harbaugh’s honeymoon-phase might be winding down. It was a prolonged initial courtship – making a late season run, in 2008, and advancing to the AFC Championship, when his team was never really expected to compete.

The success bought an offseason’s worth of goodwill.

It was a sweet ride – and Coach Harbaugh has been every bit as popular as Miley Cyrus, President Obama and that husband and wife, who have 8 kids, their own reality show and a crapload of time on their hands.

Heck, I would’ve found it perfectly fitting for the Ravens Head Coach to receive the coveted Nobel Peace Prize, last week. He’s been on the job longer than the actual recipient. But, winning the award is no big deal – it doesn’t necessarily translate into success …..

I heard they’ve considered naming that body of water near the Science Center and Aquarium, the “Baltimore Inner Harbaugh” …..

Okay, so maybe I’m stretching it a bit. But, John Harbaugh has been lathered with unconditional love, since he arrived and started this run of overachieving and succeeding.

While my references to Mr. Nobel’s trophy, the inner harbor and Harbaugh’s prominence on the world/local stage is obviously made in jest, on a Monday morning following a very ugly loss, it is absolutely reasonable to make light of the Head Coach’s “Can Do Nothing Wrong” image.

But, is the honeymoon finally over?

If not, I’d say we’re definitely on the brink of having our first domestic dispute and we’re finding Coach Harbaugh’s very public persona isn’t beyond reproach, after all. Yes, I know he doesn’t actually play in the game, but he’s been the “point man” on some decisions that are highly questionable, at this point.

So, I’m willing to declare if John Harbaugh’s lovey-dovey phase of his relationship with Baltimore football fans isn’t quite over ….. it should be.

Honesty can be a very sobering reality. And, I think Harbaugh owes Baltimore’s fans – the true STAKEHOLDERS – some answers. And, “yes” or “no” answers, or the patronizing “that’s a good question” response, without truly answering the query on his flagship program, does not begin to address the problems.

Is there one single factor leading to yesterday’s loss? Of course, not. But, some patterns of problematic areas have developed, and it’s fair to seek the Ravens course of action …. AND they should be held to task on past decisions.

There was plenty of blame to go around, yesterday.


It sounds like the Ravens are nowhere near leveling fingers in each other’s direction, following numerous shortcomings. And, if so, we have every reason to believe they’ll find a way to correct things – IF they have the pieces to do so.

That’s a helluva huge IF …..

Derrick Mason blamed himself and the total offensive effort. I like a man who looks in the mirror for reasons – he and his offensive cohorts will be just fine. While 7 points is hardly enough positive production, at home, the Ravens haven’t had problems moving the ball before this game.

Stopping opponent’s quarterbacks and receivers from racking up crucial yardage has been THE PROBLEM and it’s getting uglier. Of course, this is probably due to the virtual reality that EVERY prospective opponent’s Offensive Coordinator knows that Dominique Foxworth slips and falls as much as Kyle Boller.

It’s been more than a month of Sundays since the season started, and there is no indication the breakdowns in the Ravens secondary are attributed to anything other than the personnel not doing a satisfactory job.


Why do I relate Coach Harbaugh directly to this problem?

He’s the boss.

It begins with him. It ends with him.

I’m sure a few readers are wondering when I’ll mention the “CM” factor. Yep, that’s code for Chris McAlister. It’s hardly responsible to write about the secondary’s failures (it is what it is ….) without mentioning guys who are no longer here, like McAlister, Jim Leonhard and Bart Scott.

Leonhard and Scott left for more money …..

McAlister just left – to, perhaps, drive a truck …..

But, seriously, to mention McAlister is credible – whether you like him or not. That said, I’m not about to suggest Chris McAlister should be playing for the Ravens. To be blunt – such a statement would be utterly stupid.

Chris McAlister hasn’t suited up in nearly a year. It’s obvious nobody wants him. He hasn’t done anything to convince anyone to even give him a chance. I suspect he’s just gonna be remembered as one of those guys who’s long on talent, but remarkably short on common sense and humility. There are plenty of examples …..

I don’t know the truth(s) behind Chris McAlister’s departure– and neither do YOU, right? I appreciate the input of numerous reporters who’ve speculated on the situation. But, I think it’s prudent to expect some clarification from Coach Harbaugh, himself.

We’ve all heard rumors about the events leading up to Chris McAlister becoming an Ex-Raven. Whatever the reason, it’s unfair to McAlister and the Ravens for someone who is not privy to the circumstances – or someone who has never even spoken to McAlister or Harbaugh to speculate or expand on the rumors.

However it is not unreasonable for Coach Harbaugh to discuss such reasons or any reasons, for that matter, which would’ve led to dismissing the troubled, but talented cornerback, in ultimate exchange for Domonique Foxworth – who is not getting the job done.

Foxworth was beaten in the San Diego game. He was beaten in the New England game. And, God knows he was beaten yesterday. Forget kissing any babies, Foxworth was kissing the turf or inhaling Chris Henry’s and Chad Ocho Cinco’s dust ….. take your choice !!!!


The Ravens chose to dump Chris McAlister. Perhaps, it was a good decision. The Ravens chose to bring in Domonique Foxworth, and pad his bank account with a prospective $27 million contract – with $16 million guaranteed.

It’s not looking like a good investment.


Ravens fans pay a lot of money – in hard economic times – for competitive, entertaining football. They deserve it. And, when a former Pro Bowl player gets unceremoniously dumped – only for us to witness his replacement make great money, without a quality on-field return, questions should be asked and answered.

On Sunday, Domonique Foxworth was the defender on Chad Ocho Cinco’s receptions of 21, 16 and 9 yards. But, most importantly Chris Henry torched him for a 73 yard gain, on a reception that saw Foxworth commit pass interference AND he quit on the play – only to kick it back into gear and track Henry down just short of the end zone.

A little, too late, Dom …..

In retrospect, after 2 straight losses, I think it’s pretty obvious the Ravens have been living very dangerously through the first 5 games. While Joe Flacco and the Offense appear markedly enhanced over last year, the Defensive Secondary is very suspect.

Someone must answer for it.

Chris McAlister is on-record saying John Harbaugh wanted him gone. Rumors seem to substantiate McAlister’s claim. John Harbaugh isn’t saying anything. Steve Bisciotti has guaranteed Domonique Foxworth enough money to pay the next ELEVEN Nobel Peace Prize winners.

So far, the return on investment has been highlight footage and 7’s – ON THE WRONG SIDELINE.


Regardless, Coach Harbaugh needs to start talking about the problems and solutions – even if they’ve failed. The cliché’s and coach-speak are getting old. Then again, so is seeing Domonique Foxworth getting beaten, every week.

Give it to us, Coach – we can take it. How bad could the news be? In fact, how bad could the job ever be? Be assured, some people will always be in much worse situations. Believe it ….