Who is most responsible for a team's mental errors?
I perused a lot of the readers’ comments Monday that were connected to various Sun stories and blogs detailing Ravens’ fans’ frustrations with their team’s play.
There are some who are all over quarterback Joe Flacco, for whom they were universally ‘wacco’ earlier this season. There are a whole lot of fans crushing defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron as well.
And now John Harbaugh is getting lit up by a certain disgruntled segment of the Ravens’ fan base. Guess the honeymoon is over.
One of the criticisms of Harbaugh is that his squad commits too many penalties -- often of the reckless, undisciplined nature -- and that halts any momentum this team can muster.
No question, that the Ravens’ myriad penalties are killers. But here’s what I have trouble following: I don’t see why that is Harbaugh’s fault. Listen, if it’s clock management penalties or too many men on the field or simple preparation things that go wrong, by all means, blame the coach.
But personal fouls and execution penalties? Those should fall on the shoulders of the players. Professional players. This isn’t Little League or high school ball.
To me, it’s the same faulty logic that some Orioles fans had this summer when so many baserunning mistakes were made, and manager Dave Trembley was blamed.
Say all you want about having a team that is disciplined and prepared. You have the personnel that you have. And if those players go onto the field and do boneheaded things, if they can’t execute fundamentals, that’s on them. Bad game plans, terrible play calling, incorrect pitching matchups, blame the manager/head coach.
But not knowing how many outs there are or plowing into a scrum after the whistle blows is the responsibility of the people who get paid to play these games.
Ultimately, I know the head coach/manager is responsible for how his team fares. The buck stops there. I get that. But I am little befuddled why the players – football, baseball, croquet – aren’t hammered more by fans when they are the ones making the mental errors. Besides, of course, it’s just easier to trash the coach/manager than the guy whose jersey you bought.
It’s a soapbox I carried around during the baseball season and I am planting it at the foot of Ravens’ headquarters now. Am I way off here?
Daily Think Special: Who is most responsible for a team’s mental errors?