Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh
The Lamar Jackson Effect
The Ravens locked up their division and home field throughout the playoffs by week 16. As many will credit Lamar as the reason for Baltimore's success, John's decision to promote Greg Roman from TE's Coach to Offensive Coordinator for the 2019 season has also proven to be a match made in heaven while paired with Lamar Jackson.
The Greg Roman Promotion
Greg Roman was the OC with John's Brother Jim in San Francisco from 2011-14. While in San Francisco, Roman, credited for the development of Colin Kaepernick, who took over for Alex Smith midway through the 2012 season. Kaepernick would not relinquish the job to Smith, which led to a Smith trade to Kansas City for their 2013 2nd round pick. Similar to the recent Lamar Jackson ascension, Kapernick compiled 17 wins in his first 23 starts while completing only 59% of his passes. In 2013, the Kaepernick led offense would make it to the Super Bowl, where they would lose to John Harbaughs Joe Flacco led Ravens.
While The Kaepernick Parallels are similar in theory, Lamar Jackson has proven to be a more accurate passer (66% in 2018, 63% in 2019) and a more explosive athlete rushing for an NFL record 1206 yards surpassing Michael Vick for the most rush yards by a QB in a single season. The system used by Roman is the same system he implemented with Kaepernick while in San Francisco.
Embracing and Trusting In Analytics
One of the lesser discussed innovations that John Harbaugh implemented was his use of analytics. John hired Daniel Stern, a Yale grad and behavioral economics major in 2017, to assist the Raven's analytics department. It was not until this season that John Harbaugh extended his responsibilities to the press box, where he would help with analytical decision making.
In 2019 Stern would be appointed to provide win probabilities based on each situation throughout each game. For example, when the Ravens face a 4th down and two from their opponents 45-yard line, Stern from the press box will provide a win probability percentage to John Harbaugh through his headset based on the decision to go for it, or not. John then makes the final call from the field.
As a result, the Ravens are far more aggressive, leading the NFL in 4th down conversion rate (71%), converting 16 of 22 attempts, ranked second in 3rd down conversion rate (60%), ranked number one in total first downs per game (24.1). As a result of each of those mentioned above, the Ravens rank number one in time of possession per game (34.47). The Raven's aggressiveness of going for it on 4th and short has paid off by extending drives and keeping their defense fresh and off the field. It has also led to more trips ending in TD's rather than field goals.
John Harbaugh's ability to change has led to the Raven's success in 2019. They are currently the front runners to win the Super Bowl. Because of this, Harbaugh will receive a lot of postseason recognition for the team's success, and that is why we are naming him the Football Scout 365 NFL coach of the year in 2019.