No Excuses for the Ravens Struggles

| October 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

Ravens As fans of the Baltimore Ravens, we have been spoiled. We have seen two Super Bowl wins, three sure-fire Hall of Fame Players, and a playoff appearance every year for nearly the last decade. This year, however, has been different as fans are wondering if it is time for the team to “play for the draft pick” as a playoff appearance seems very, very unlikely. 

I love the Ravens and will always support them, but there are no excuses for the team’s struggles this season. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the wake-up call they need to revamp the organization on the field. If not, there will be many more seasons of “head scratching” and making excuses.

In case anyone missed it Sunday morning, the Jacksonville Jaguars scored 34 points against the Bills and grabbed their second win of the season. Why am I bringing this up? Because anyone who watched that game would see that even the lowly Jaguars have more playmakers on the offensive side of the ball than the Ravens do. Say what you want about Joe Flacco, but he is a very above average quarterback and the franchise would not have won their second Super Bowl without him. However, he has absolutely no weapons around him and there is nobody to blame for that other than the organization.

Sure, nobody could have predicted Breshad Perriman would get hurt and miss significant time, but who says that you can only select one playmaker in the draft? Multiple teams have multiple playmakers and can plug in a backup quarterback or lose their “#1” receiver and still have success on offense. For years the Ravens have prided themselves on finding “diamonds in the rough,” but they have yet to find that play-making receiver in their prime. 

I am sick of hearing, “how many Super Bowls have Julio Jones and Dez Bryant won?” or “why would you give up a draft pick for Brandon Marshall?” Football certainly is a team game, but those are franchise-changing players who can make a very good franchise an elite franchise. Instead, I guess I will listen to people try to defend how the offense is struggling because Michael Campanaro is injured. Other teams take chances to address areas that are weak, maybe it is time the Ravens follow suit.

As much as I just lambasted the offense, they have scored points this season, but the defense has given them all back and more. This is by far the worst defense the Ravens have had since their first few years in Baltimore and, again, there are no excuses. Dean Pees is the coordinator and, yes, he deserves some blame, but find me a coordinator who could do significantly better with this lack of talent.

The Jets already had a very formidable defense and secondary and yet they went out and acquired Darrell Revis. What did the Ravens do? They relied on Jimmy Smith to get healthy and brought in Kyle Arrington and Kendrick Lewis. If this is your biggest weakness on defense, why wouldn’t you at least entertain the notion of bringing the best player at that position in the league? I know you cannot acquire everybody and there are salary cap implications, but if you are very weak in one aspect of the game and you don’t address it in the draft then how can you justify not trying to get significantly better? 

The best way to overcome a weak secondary is to get pressure on the quarterback and last year that is what made the Ravens defense successful. However, that is not the case this year. Yes, Terrell Suggs got hurt, but realistically at this point in his career he is no longer an elite pass rusher. So how do the Ravens try and replace Suggs? Do they make the secondary better? Do they talk to a non-contender about trading a pass rusher? No, they bring in Jason Babin, who has recorded only 16.5 sacks in his last four seasons and was not even in the league when the Ravens signed him. Babin was active for only two games before eventually getting cut.

I am not an NFL GM by any means, but I am not going to get sit back and defend moves like the Babin move by saying ,“ it’s the NFL, you just can’t sign free agents, that’s the best they could do.” Really? Babin was the best they could do?  Teams find ways to bring in much better plays than him to replace injured players all the time so it definitely can be done. For years the Ravens have struck gold finding the player who “nobody else seems to want,” but sometimes you just need to go out and give up a lot to get an impact player.

The Ravens 1-5 start to the season is nobody’s fault but their own and it has been in motion for the last few years. In the 2012-13 season, the Ravens reached the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl, which masked a lot of the flaws of the team, none of which have really been addressed. They got hot in the playoffs and had some good fortune which doesn’t mean they didn’t deserve to win the Super Bowl, but by no means did it mean they were a GREAT team. They followed up the Super Bowl season by bringing back basically the same team and finishing 8-8.

Last season the Ravens fell just short of advancing to the AFC Championship, but in my mind it was the same 8-8 team that had just over achieved last season. Gary Kubiak turned Justin Forsett into a 1,000 yard rusher, Elvis Dumervil contended for the single season sack record, and the Ravens made a run in the playoffs, but did anyone really believe that the roster they brought back this season was an elite NFL roster?  This will be the second time in three seasons that the Ravens won’t make the playoffs and it might be a sign of things to come.

Let’s hope I am wrong.

Still want to blame the injuries? Check out these numbers.

About the Author:

I have spent my entire 30 years living in Maryland and I love everything about this city. Despite the bad reputation the city has, Baltimore will always be a special place to me and I love living here. There is nothing better then Sunday afternoons at M&T Bank Stadium and summer nights at Camden Yards when the Yard is packed. You can find me all over the city so don't hesitate to share your opinion of me good or bad. Who knows, if you see me out maybe I will buy you a Natty Boh. Lets go Ravens and Lets go O's!!! Follow me on Twitter at @MRomanell.
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