Part 2 – Aftermath of a meltdown…who stays, who goes, now what?

January 17, 2011 | Drew Forrester

What do you do when you’ve been to the post-season three straight years and you can’t make it to the Super Bowl?

You could do what the Orioles do every off-season when they’re lamenting how they once again went 65-97 and finished so far back in the A.L. East race they were lapped heading into September: You could complain about being in the AFC…or the AFC North.

But that’s not the Ravens style. The Ravens aren’t complainers. They’re in the AFC and they’re in the AFC North and they need to figure out the combination to this lock the Steelers have applied to them over the last three years.

And then you have the Colts. They’ll always be around with what’s-his-name at quarterback. Same with the Patriots. They’re not going anywhere, either. The Jets look solid. The Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs are all worthy of at least keeping an eye on.

So what do the Ravens do on the heels of another playoff dismissal at the hands of the Steelers? First, please understand I’m making all of these assessments and reactions based on the notion that there WILL be football played in 2011. If the CBA issue alters the NFL’s course of business next season, there’s obviously a chance some of the changes either WILL or WON’T happen based on the league’s new financial structure.

For starters, let’s get the coordinators discussion over and done with so we can move on to other pressing matters that are actually up for discussion.

As I reported via Twitter on Sunday around 8am, Ravens sources tell me John Harbaugh will retain all three of his coordinators in 2011.

That word was passed on to me by two team executives on Saturday night. On both occasions, the reaction was swift and similar in content. “John is very satisfied with his coaching staff and the coordinators aren’t going anywhere, unless, of course, they don’t want to return here.”

It would seem, with that information at our disposal, that Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg will all be on staff next season.

I opined a few weeks back that I thought Cameron would NOT be retained in 2011 if the Ravens didn’t make the Super Bowl. Personally, if I ran the club? Truth? I wouldn’t bring Cameron back. I think he showed time and time again that he either doesn’t have the right feel for the game from a down-and-distance standpoint or he’s just too much of a gambler for my liking when the clock and the score dictates a more conservative approach. Both of those examples played out on Saturday in Pittsburgh, where he followed through with an attacking mindset in the 3rd quarter even with Baltimore pinned deep in their own territory and losing momentum by the play.

But I don’t run the team and my opinion doesn’t mean jack-squat. John Harbaugh hires and fires his coaching staff and it appears he’s bringing his three coordinators back in 2011.

The ONLY point of contention with Harbaugh and his staff would be intervention from Steve Bisciotti, but one team source indicated on Saturday that Bisciotti too is pleased with Harbaugh and his various coaches and department heads.

“Now is not the time to overreact,” said a team executive in the hours after Saturday’s loss. “Having the owner step in and upset the apple cart after three successful seasons isn’t our way of doing things.”

OK, I’ll agree on that one. Three years ago John Harbaugh was hired to change the direction of the football team. He has done that, with help from Cameron, Mattison and Rosburg.

Now…here’s Drew’s opinion on what the Ravens need to do in 2011.

It’s simple in theory.

The Ravens need an infusion of speed.

They need a fast, stretch-the-field, reliable wide receiver.

They need a speedy, menacing defensive end who can put his hand in the dirt and chase after the quarterback.

And they’re in need of linebackers who can not only play the pass, but can chase the quarterback too when the blitz call has their number on it. Dannell Ellerbe, Jameel McClain and Tavares Gooden — all are decent-enough pro players. But none are the answer to the team’s linebacking issues.

The Ravens probably need a bigger, faster number one cornerback, but their defensive woes are more connected to pass rush than secondary coverage. With all due respect to the more-than-acceptable job that Chris Carr and Josh Wilson gave in 2010, neither of those guys (continued)