Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has shared the grand plan for the franchise going forward, or at least, he’s disclosed who will be at the helm.
General manager Ozzie Newsome, the only general manager the franchise has had in 22 years in Baltimore, will take a final lap around the course in 2018 before retiring to a consultant post.
Bisciotti disclosed that assistant general manager Eric DeCosta will succeed Newsome in the big chair after next season, a succession blueprint that has apparently been in the works for the last five years.
The existence of this plan explains the absence of corporate panic after this season’s inconsistent performance.
The front offices of a lot of teams looking at being out of the postseason for four of the last five years might have felt justified in cleaning house.
Heck, the Tennessee Titans, who beat the Ravens this year and made the playoffs dumped their coach after they lost in the second round to the New England Patriots.
But Bisciotti held firm and kept Newsome and DeCosta in their places for the coming year, knowing that Newsome would be retiring as general manager.
Bisciotti likely didn’t want to saddle DeCosta with a coach he didn’t want or didn’t hire himself, hence his resistance to fire coach John Harbaugh after this season.
That’s not to say that Bisciotti didn’t consider pulling the trigger on Harbaugh. The owner said firing the coach was "a consideration," but not one he wanted to make this year.
Bisciotti said he was proud of the way Harbaugh kept the team fighting in the midst of a midseason slump,
The owner said Harbaugh is under more pressure in 2018 than he has ever been in his life to succeed, but that pressure is internal, saying "I may as well replace him now if I tell him to make the playoffs or you're out of town next year. That's not the way we run business here."
Though both the offense and defense performed sporadically at alternate times throughout the season, the team did not seek to make wholesale changes at either coordinator position.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees originally announced his retirement from the game only to rescind and sign on with Tennessee to work with his son.
To a degree, the Ravens have earned some level of patience. Newsome, who made the Hall of Fame as a tight end, will likely be inducted again for his front office acumen, leading the franchise to two Super Bowl wins.
DeCosta has been highly sought after around the league, but has turned down all offers to stay in Baltimore. And Harbaugh is 94-66 in 10 seasons as coach here.
The hope for Bisciotti and Ravens fans is that Newsome will be taking a victory lap on the way out, that he will add the right combinations of players that will return the team to the playoffs for the first time since the 2014 season.
If not, this year’s plan for patience will have been for naught.
And that’s how I see it for this week.