OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Convinced that the Baltimore Ravens’ sputtering offense wasn’t going to improve with Marc Trestman calling the shots, coach John Harbaugh fired his offensive coordinator Monday and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Marty Mornhinweg.
The move came less than 24 hours after the Ravens scored only one touchdown in a 16-10 loss to Washington.
“I just think we need a different chemistry in there right now to get to where we need to go,” Harbaugh said.
“I think we all know what it needs to look like. It’s what plays get called in certain situations, but it’s also the physicality of our offense, it’s the attack-mentality of our offense, it’s how we go about our business. Those are things that just weren’t getting there.”
And so, it was time for a change.
“We need to ramp things up,” Harbaugh said.
The Ravens (3-2) performed miserably on offense against the Redskins, who entered with the 29th-ranked defense in the NFL.
After scoring a touchdown on its opening drive, Baltimore added a field goal in the second quarter and was blanked in the second half.
During one stretch, the Ravens had seven straight possessions that lasted four plays or fewer. Trestman inexplicably abandoned the running game in the second half, even though Baltimore was averaging 5.7 yards per carry over the opening 30 minutes.
“When you go back and look at it, I feel like we were running the ball well enough to run the ball a lot more than we did,” Harbaugh said.
Trestman was in his second season as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator. Last season, the Ravens had the second-most total net yards in team history but went 5-11.
This is the second time during Harbaugh’s nine-year run in Baltimore that he fired his offensive coordinator in the middle of the season.
In 2012, he dismissed Cam Cameron after a loss to the Redskins and the Ravens ended up winning the Super Bowl.
There’s no guarantee that will happen again. But, as in that situation, Harbaugh knew it was time to make a change.
“It’s more about direction. It’s a big-picture type of a feel thing,” Harbaugh said.
“Are we heading in the right direction? Do I see us getting there doing the things we’re doing now? I think as a coach, you’ve got to assess that and make that call.”
By late Sunday night, Harbaugh was convinced that the Ravens will have a better chance to win with Mornhinweg running the offense.
Mornhinweg, 54, joined the Ravens as quarterbacks coach in 2015. Prior to that, he spent the 2013-14 seasons as offensive coordinator of the New York Jets. He was head coach of the Detroit Lions in 2001-02 before working as offensive coordinator of the Eagles from 2004-12.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to see where we can go with Marty,” Harbaugh said. “I know there will be some things that he’ll tweak, but the basic system is not going to change.”
Trying to find a balance between the run and pass would be a good start. Joe Flacco has thrown more passes than anyone in the NFL, but ranks near the bottom with 5.9 yards per attempt. The Ravens threw 47 passes on Sunday compared to only 19 runs — and that was in a tight game.
“We’re not putting enough points on the board, and we’re not putting enough yards on the board for the amount of times that we’re throwing the ball,” Harbaugh said.
Mornhinweg already has a close relationship with Flacco, who couldn’t mask his frustration after going 30 for 46 getting sacked three times against the Redskins.
“Our defense is putting up awesome plays week after week and we’re just running off the field,” Flacco said. “It doesn’t feel good as a quarterback, the leader of this offense, to do that.”
The Ravens will seek to snap a two-game skid and test out their new offense against the New York Giants on the road Sunday.