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Jim Fassel 'Steps Down' i.e. Avoids Humiliating Firing

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The first news of the day, and it's not exactly trade related, was that Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel has stepped down. Fassel is best known for his time served as the head coach of the New York Giants, leading his team to the Super Bowl before losing to the (now previous employer) Ravens.

Brian Billick is crying somewhere. No more Jim Fassel in Baltimore.

Fassel is widely regarded as an 'offensive genius', much like Norv Turner. Maybe he was back before I became as avid a fan as I have of the NFL, but I don't remember him ever coordinating or coaching a highly explosive offense.

I'm not sure what this will mean for Baltimore. They have been in somewhat of an offensive rut the past several weeks, but I don't think that's a product of bad coaching. I think it's a matter of personnel.  With Jamal Lewis nowhere near the force he was a few years ago, the Ravens running game just does not strike fear into opposing defenses like it once did. As a result, it's been harder for All-Pro TE Todd Heap to be as effective in play-action.

Maybe a fresh face will infuse some life into the Ravens offense, but it is more likely that they will have to spend several weeks molding a new identity while they acclamate themselves to a new coordinator. The Ravens do have their BYE week this week, but their next game is a trip to the Super Dome, where the Saints are undefeated thus far.

After a promising 4-0 start, it's better than even money that the Ravens will find themselves 4-3 after Week 8, with their lead in the AFC North all but gone to either the Steelers, Bengals, or both.