The Ravens and their fans should feel pretty good about where the team stands after four weeks. Baltimore is sitting at 3-1, tied for first at the top of the AFC North, and in much better shape than they were at the same point in 2015. It hasn’t been pretty, but as the old saying goes, they don’t ask how they just ask how many.
But there’s been a fair amount of criticism following their first loss of the year. John Harbaugh butchered a couple of calls that cost the Ravens five points. Joe Flacco needs to live up to the expectations that come along with being one of the highest paid players in the game. The running game needs to continue to improve and Marc Trestman needs to take a hike.
Some of the criticism is fair, and some may be a bit of an overreaction. One topic that hasn’t been discussed much after last week’s game, however, is the state of the secondary. By the end of the season there’s a good chance it will be one of the biggest sources of fan frustration.
The Ravens did a lot of good things this offseason. The addition of Mike Wallace has paid major dividends through the first four weeks, and his chemistry with Flacco is evident. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him end up with double digit touchdowns.
And the addition of Eric Weddle has made a big difference on the back end of the defense. He’s the best free safety they Ravens have had since the departure of Ed Reed and he’s the unquestioned leader of the secondary.
The importance of Weddle ending up in Baltimore can’t be understated, but frankly it wasn’t enough.
It was no secret that the Ravens secondary was bad last year. Fantasy football fans were giddy when they saw their quarterback matched up against Baltimore’s unit. So why didn’t the Ravens do more?
Why in Week 5 are they already scrambling and signing safeties off of other teams practice squads?
Why is Dean Pees already having to answer questions about Shareece Wright’s status as a starter? Is it that big of a surprise to anyone that Shareece Wright isn’t that good?
Did the Ravens really think that Lardarius Webb was going to be the answer next to Weddle? Webb hasn’t had a good season in over five years.
Frequent readers of this website are probably tired of hearing me harp on the mistake the Ravens made when they kept Webb at his absurd $9.5 million dollar salary. But the things that are the most frustrating aren’t John Harbaugh’s bad week, or Joe Flacco’s up-and-down play. What’s most frustrating is how obvious it was that this secondary wasn’t going to be that good. And despite that the Ravens waited until the fourth round to take a corner and the only thing they did in free agency was re-sign Shareece Wright.
Sure, the secondary looked decent through the first four weeks, but look at who they played. Tyrod Taylor, Josh McCown (with one arm) and Blake Bortles isn’t exactly murderer’s row. And the first time the Ravens were tested by a team with a talented quarterback and a couple of good receivers? They failed miserably.
Fans have a right to be frustrated with Harbaugh’s poor judgement or Trestman’s shoddy game plan. But what will likely be the Ravens biggest Achilles heel will be their shaky secondary.
And that’s the most frustrating thing of all, because almost everyone saw it coming.