OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- One of the reasons why Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh fired offensive coordinator Marc Trestman this week was to spark a sluggish attack.
Recent NFL history says this will happen.
Over the last five seasons, the five teams that fired their offensive coordinator during the season produced a 24-12 record (.667) after doing so, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Since the start of 2012, only one team had a losing record following the in-season removal of an offensive coordinator.
"We need to ramp things up," Harbaugh said. "We need to do some things differently."
Prior to the Ravens, the last team to fire its offensive coordinator was the Buffalo Bills last month. After replacing Greg Roman with Anthony Lynn, the Bills have gone 3-0 and averaged 26.3 points per game.
A move of this magnitude can energize players. It also can put more accountability on players. It essentially serves as a wake-up call to the entire locker room.
"When you see somebody go, you see somebody essentially get fired, it lights a fire under everybody," tight end Dennis Pitta said. "You understand that nobody’s job is safe, from the head coach down to the long snapper."
Harbaugh said the new coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, will put his imprint on the offense. He has altered some of the terminology. He has tweaked some of the meetings. After his first full-contact practice in the job ended Wednesday, Mornhinweg had Joe Flacco throw to receivers Kamar Aiken, Breshad Perriman and Chris Moore in the red zone for an additional 20 minutes. Baltimore has scored the third-fewest touchdowns inside the 20-yard line this season.
Can there be noticeable changes to how the offense looks one week after switching offensive coordinators?
“I sure hope so," Harbaugh said. "That’s the plan."
No team understands the positive effects of firing an offensive coordinator than the Ravens. In 2012, Harbaugh removed Cam Cameron from the job in December and promoted Jim Caldwell.
After a slow transition -- Baltimore lost four of its last five regular-season games -- the Ravens went on a tear in the playoffs, compliments of a new play-caller. Joe Flacco turned in Joe Montana for four games and the Ravens averaged 31 points en route to a Super Bowl triumph.
"Making the change just kind of sparked whatever it was that got us going," Pitta said. "Whether that was a sense of urgency or whatever it was, it got us going. Hopefully this will do the same thing. Hopefully we have a similar result, and we can go all the way to the Super Bowl. That would be nice.”