On Thursday night, the Ravens will kickoff their 22nd season in Baltimore. In 22 years of existence, the Ravens have created their own history for the history books. In the short 22 years of existence the Ravens have won two Super Bowl ( 2012 and 2001 ), two conference championships, four division titles and ten playoff appearances. Pretty impressive for a team that has only been around for 22 years, huh. I would say so, but the tide has seem to of shifted. One playoff appearance in the last four years.
Baltimore was used to making the playoffs and making some deep runs at the beginning of the John Harbaugh era. Since the Super Bowl the team has taken a step back. That is one of many questions running through the fans head. It could be many scenario's as to why. The veteran leadership of Ray Lewis, injuries, and offense of line that is built like a college line, rotating offensive linemen out of Baltimore every other year, coaching, or front office? I personally think it is a mixture of all of the above.
When Ray Lewis was in Baltimore, he was the voice and face of the Ravens. Since his retirement, there has been a huge void. Ray was good for inspiring speeches and picking players up. Ray had that energy that everyone needs. Baltimore is still lacking that energy and we may never see that again. Ray had that influence that made you go out there and be a better player. On today's team, it seems like we have players just going through the motion.
Injuries have been a thorn in the Ravens side forever, even during the Super Bowl run. When LarDarius Webb tore his ACL, Corey Graham stepped up and delivered. When Anquan Boldin missed a few games, Torrey Smith stepped up and delivered. During the last four season, we've lost numerous key players to injury and no one stepped up to become that guy. The opportunity was there for backups, but no one stepped up to the plate. During the 2015 season, everyone was lost to injury. The biggest was Joe Flacco and Steve Smith. The Ravens went through four quarterbacks that season. I do not care how much you dislike Flacco, yes he does make bone head plays, but what player does not. It shows you how critical your quarterback position is. Say what you want, he give us the best chance to win. Could of been in the playoffs in 2016, but coaching mistakes lead to several loses. During that 2015 season, Steve Smith tore is ACL. Only one receiver stepped up in his absence, Kamar Aiken, who will be dearly missed. Baltimore has had a rotating door of corner back since Chris McAlister and Duane Starks. With the NFL becoming primarily a passing league, the Ravens have failed at finding the right cornerbacks. Jimmy Smith seems to get injured every season and we have no one to replace him.
Our offensive line reminds me of a college offensive line. We only have players on the line for 3-4 years.The longest tenured lineman is Marshall Yanda. Ronnie Stanely looks like he will become one of the premier left tackles in the league. Heading into the 2018 season only three linemen are coming back from last season. Yanda, Stanely, and Alex Lewis. Lewis is coming off of a season ending injury. Once again, the most critical position on the line, center will remain another question mark.
Coaching has to be better for the 2018 season. Smart coaching decision's have to be made. This might be the first year Harbaugh really has to coach and put on his big boy pants and have football smarts.
The 2018 season should be a make or break season for the Ravens coaching staff. Play time is over, it's time to put your money where your mouth is and get back to Ravens football, SMASH mouth football !!!!
If you would have told me Friday the Ravens would shutout Cincinnati in Cincinnati, I would have said you are nuts. Considering the Ravens have not w...