I cannot explain why, but offensive coordinators often get more heat in our AFC North community than head coaches.
The offenses of the Baltimore Ravens (4-1), Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1), Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) and Cleveland Browns (1-4) have all had their early struggles. Therefore, we added a new feature to the AFC North blog: a perodic ranking of the division's offensive coordinators.
Keep in mind rankings will fluctuate based on performance, play calling and overall success.
1. Bruce Arians, Steelers
Analysis: Despite the Steelers being ranked No. 29 in total offense, Arians has looked good by making the most of what he has during Pittsburgh's 3-1 start. Many didn't think a power running game was possible under Arians, who likes to air it out and spread the football around. But Arians did a solid job altering his system to make running back Rashard Mendenhall the focus in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's absence. Now Roethlisberger is back.
2. Cam Cameron, Ravens
Analysis: Baltimore's offense has underachieved early. But after racking up 415 yards against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, it appears the Ravens are starting to look like the explosive team many expected. Cameron was smart to go back to Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice. When Rice is great, everyone's job is a little easier.
3. Bob Bratkowski, Bengals
Analysis: Cincinnati is putting up yards (351 per game). But when you look closely at the Bengals' offense, this team has a lot of issues. Sunday it was the passing game and quarterback Carson Palmer (three interceptions). Previously, it's been the running game or lack of pass protection or too many penalties, which falls on the coaches. Bratkowski's play calling also has been shaky, which isn't helping.
4. Brian Daboll, Browns
Analysis: Daboll has less to work with than any other offensive coordinator in the division. Therefore, with no receivers and inconsistent and injured quarterbacks, a No. 25 ranking for the offense is expected. But in saying that, passing the ball nearly twice as many times as running it Sunday wasn't a sound strategy against the Atlanta Falcons (4-1). That's a recipe for disaster. Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme threw a pick six in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Daboll and this staff can't seem to put together good plans and/or make the proper adjustments it takes to win close games.
Do you agree with our offensive coordinator rankings through Week 5? How would you rank the AFC North's OCs?