When the “State of the Ravens” press conference was taking place at the Under Armour Performance Facility in Owings Mills, Md., many speculated that run game coordinator Juan Castillo would be handed his exit papers by the Baltimore Ravens organization.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh announced that not only would Castillo be sticking around with the team, but his title will change as he will become the offensive line coach for Baltimore in 2014.
This came as a shock to many as his zone-blocking schemes seemingly pigeonholed the Ravens as one of the worst running teams in the league in 2013. The offensive line and backfield never gelled as expected in comparison to the success Baltimore saw with more of a power running style.
“I can understand why Juan is a lightning rod right now because the way we set up the structure, and then we go into the season and we have our worst-ever year running the ball and he’s got that title,” Harbaugh said at the presser. “That’s on me. When we hired Juan, the idea was to add another great coach into our mix. Juan functioned as the lead offensive line coach last year. That was his job. The title was a way to have three great offensive line coaches in our mix right there.”
While that statement may make your blood boil, think about what this means for offensive line coach Andy Moeller. The guy has been with the organization for six seasons and is being supplanted by Castillo when he was virtually in charge from the get-go, and the results were the worst they’ve been in the Harbaugh era.
Sure, a season-ending back injury to Kelechi Osemele didn’t help anyone’s cause, but the offensive line drastically underperformed in comparison to 2012 when Castillo was not present. Castillo did have some nice years in Philadelphia as the Eagles’ offensive line coach from 1998-2010, but his style didn’t work in Baltimore and that was apparent with the product on the field.
Is this another buddy-buddy situation with John? Remember what happened with Cam Cameron?
That may be Castillo’s fate if the line starts off with abysmal performances like they did this past season. Just because Harbaugh knows Castillo from a previous work experience and it was a good one doesn’t guarantee that the success will continue at a new opportunity. Castillo’s leash will likely be short as a tremendous amount of pressure has been placed on his (and Harbaugh’s) shoulders to turn this front five around.
Sometimes, the coaches have to have the right horses in the race. That’s where Ozzie Newsome and co. can step in and take care of business during the NFL Draft and free agency.