Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 Oct 2006

Fassel Finished as Ravens' Offensive Coordinator

In the AOL FanHouse, Michael David Smith writes that Ravens' offensive coordinator Jim Fassel is done in Baltimore.

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 17 Oct 2006

15 comments, Last at 18 Oct 2006, 1:35am by manning,eli


by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 1:15pm

I've heard of this Michael David Smith from somewhere...

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 1:22pm

Just watched Billick's news conference -- the story between the lines seems to be that Fassel refused to relinquish playcalling duties.

Given the static Ravens offense since the opener against Tampa, using the bye week to tweak the script -- especially if McNair has lingering affects from his concussion -- is the only move Billick could make. Knowwing that he and Fassel are (or at least were) friends means that something truly major is going on behind the scenes.

I would have to think that after the start they had, Billick isn't on the hot seat any more; so the real questions are:

What was so objectionable to Fassel? or

Has Fassel done this to clear the way to take another NFL head job when it comes up?

I don't think that any team likely to fire its coach would hire him mid-season, so there must have been a truly major disagreement.

If Boller is starting when McNair appears to be healthy and ready, I'm done with Billick. I've defended him long enough.

by sippican (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 1:29pm

I remember when Fassel got hired. They didn't call him the O coordinator. They referred to him as some other more highfalutin' nonsense title. As if he wasn't really "just" a coordinator now.

Doomed to failure from the beginning.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 1:32pm

That's because they had another offensive coordinator at the time. Fassel was hired as a consultant.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 2:41pm

Re: 2

If you're right about the playcalling, that's pretty ironic. After all Fassel was the guy that took that responsibility away from Sean Payton in NY. Worked out okay for Payton in the end.

by Josh (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 3:09pm

I'm impressed that the Ravens, despite a good record, are willing to recognize the offense sucks. Whether this helps or not, who knows.

by emcee fleshy (ATL) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 4:25pm

Hey, Mr. Blank, come look at this here.

See, you CAN fire an offensive coordinator in mid-season!

by johnt (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 5:00pm

2: I don't know why. Boller and McNair are basically the same quarterback, except Boller makes dumb moves mentally and McNair can't do it physically.

Consider why, when Boller came in, there were immediately more deep balls launched than in the previous 2 or 3 games. It's because McNair does not have the arm strength to throw a lot of routes anymore. Defenses know this. The two QBs are equally bad.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 5:05pm

#2: McNair had a concussion, I don't think he should be starting in two weeks. Anyways, maybe Fassel can get a job working for Dennis Green. I hear he's having playcalling troubles.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 5:35pm

Boller has his physical problems as well, as anyone who has watched him drop back only to trip over his own feet too often knows. I've tried to put him a positive light more than anyone on this board, but I don't think that all the problems he had are going to be solved by an abbreviated time watching McNair in practice and games. I really want to think that the fellow who played against GB and Minnesota last year is the one we will get, but that same guy followed that up with an atrocious game against Cleveland, and preceded it with a hack job for the ages in Denver.

At the same time, if there were too many cooks in the kitchen, as Fassel apparently intimated to Chris Mortensen, at least we have no further clutter around. This is Billick's offense, for better or worse.

As to who starts in two weeks, please note that I said "when McNair appears to be healthy and ready." Concussions are way too tricky to put a time frame on, so I expect Boller to take snaps in the Superdome (great, a tough road environment), but I'm praying for McNair.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 6:41pm

there's also this subtlety: let's say that the best way for the Baltimores to win this year involves a conservative offensive game plan to complement their defense (I'm not saying it IS true, but let's just say)

Fassel is still angling for a job somewhere, as OC or HC; you ain't gonna get a job as an offensive minded coach after "masterminding" a boring, yet efficient offense--you just aren't; it's possible that Fassel's future plans were not compatible with the current Ravens personnel

by cthoover (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 8:48pm

I gotta say I remain mystified as to way Fassel can't get another job in this league. He lead the Giants to a Super Bowl just a few years ago yet he has hardly gotten an interview the last two off-seasons.

This is not gonna help him.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Tue, 10/17/2006 - 10:21pm

I'm not sold on the idea that McNair is just another below average QB. I buy the Ravens coaches spiel that its really not fair to evaluate him until after week 8, at which time he should be fully acclimated to the system. Lets not forget, this a extrememly raw QB out of college who has only had one coach his whole career, which began slowly after extensive preparation.
At this point his arm strength isn't great, but its not a debilitating problem (check out his #s for last year). And SD thought they could crowd the line of scrimmage too, but McNair easily tossed a 45 yarder downfield to an open Mason who missed it because the sun was in his eyes (classic excuse), and this lead to SD's more conservative defensive playcalling the the 4Q.
He doesn't make Bolleresque decisions, and he rarely trips over himself, so I'm more than happy to give him some more time.

by Noble (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 12:08am

3: Pat's right. Fassel was initially hired as a consultant. Basically, he was Kyle Boller's coach.

by manning,eli (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 1:35am

if fassel who made kerry collins look less like jeff george and more like a wildly inaccurate dan marino for a few seasons of above mediocrity, cant make kyle boller a notch above mediocre then no one can. fassel is a good coach who should get a job soon...luckily i know just the place for him, the university of miami.