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While watching the Wildcard Games this past weekend a couple of things immediately came to mind:
1. The NFL is very mediocre
2. The mediocre Ravens aren’t that far away from being a playoff contender
The 12 remaining teams are supposed to represent the league’s best. Without Derek Carr, the Raiders are quite pedestrian, the Lions seem quite cowardly and the Dolphins look more like concussed guppies.
How did Matt Moore manage to sit out just one play after the headshot from Bud Dupree? He returned to the field faster than you can say “concussion protocol”. Dupree should have been tossed. He got away with another head shot earlier in the game when he came in off the defensive left edge untouched and delivered a shot on Moore that resulted in an incomplete pass.
Making matters worse, after Dupree was flagged, Jay Ajayi came to the defense of his quarterback and shoved Dupree. He was flagged for the shove and the resulting penalty was the same as Dupree’s. Since it was a dead ball foul it set the Dolphins up with a first and 25, effectively eliminating the benefit of the Dupree penalty.
So this is how Referee Craig Wrolstad controls a game? His crew’s collective effort throughout the contest was poor and if not for the Dolphins’ wretched performance, their shortcomings would receive a lot more attention today had the game been close.
It was hard not to think that it could’ve been the Ravens hosting that soft Miami squad at M&T yesterday and now preparing to take off for Kansas City. Only the “Immaculate Extension” stood in their way. Seriously, that’s what they are calling the Antonio Brown touchdown that finished the Ravens on Christmas Day.
When you measure the Ravens against the Steelers the clubs are evenly matched save the Killer B’s. If the Ravens are going to take that next step, they need playmakers. The Steelers have them, the Ravens don’t. It’s that simple. Find a way to get an edge rusher, a reliable starting corner and a big play wide receiver – NOW!
Not next year, not after John Harbaugh becomes the Ravens newest former head coach…NOW!
And if the draft provides the opportunity to pick such players, don’t shy away from questionable character if you think the leadership in the locker room is strong enough to absorb the character red flags and help the rehabilitation. Noah Spence should have been a Raven.
Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun
Some NFL knuckleheads never learn, especially a career knucklehead like Joey Porter. That clown just can’t help himself. How Mike Tomlin thought that this career sourpuss who whined incessantly, could be helpful as an assistant, is a reflection on Tomlin who for my money, seems to be nothing more than a cheerleader.
In case you missed it, Porter decided to throw back a few after the Steelers Wild Card win and was arrested outside of The Flats on Carson in Pittsburgh hours after the Steelers’ 30–12 win over Miami. He was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest, public drunkenness and terroristic threats.
You can’t even make this ish up.
Three Games and a Clunker
The divisional round of the NFL Playoffs has 3 interesting games and a clunker – the latter being the Texans at the Patriots where Tom Brady & Co. are listed as 16-point favorites. What will Bill O’Brien do when Bill Belichick puts the clamps on Jadeveon Clowney and DeAndre Hopkins? Patriots will cover and then O’Brien will look for another job where he can continue his career as a crotchety head coach.
As for the other games I like the underdog Packers (+4) beat Dallas straight up and they’ll head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons who will cover the 4 ½ point line and take out the Earl Thomas-less Seahawks. In Kansas City the hosts will cover the 2-point line and barbeque the B’s.
What Will Mr. B. Say?
Tomorrow the Ravens host their annual State of the Ravens presser at 2PM. Yesterday I was a guest on Press Box’s Fantasy/Reality Show and was asked by KZ (Ken Zalis) and Reeta Hubbard what I hoped to hear from owner Steve Bisciotti.
I really don’t expect Bisciotti to reveal any of the team’s specific intentions but what I do hope to see is a ticked off owner. I want to see anger in his eyes. I want to see it in his body language. I want to hear it in the way he answers questions. Watching how bad some of the teams are that made it to the dance can’t be consoling, only agitating to the Ravens highly competitive Big Cheese.
Wasted Away Again?
When I look back to the Ravens during the 2003-2007 period, one marked (or marred) by the presence of Kyle Boller, you can’t help but think that the Ravens wasted 5 years of a defense that was far better than their record, due to an offense that couldn’t hold up their end of the deal or their end of the locker room. I’m starting to think the same is true of Joe Flacco.
There’s no denying Flacco’s physical gifts. But the blueprint that he’s been forced to follow has been too inconsistent and too multiple. In other words, he’s had too many voices in his head with too many coaches with varying viewpoints. Consequently, the Ravens too often seem to take one step forward and two steps back.
Unfortunately, Flacco doesn’t have the kind of defense today to help overcome the team’s offensive flaws – flaws that continue to appear each season but seemingly never corrected. He did during his rookie contract, but not anymore.
Could the Ravens be wasting away the best years of a talented quarterback who just can’t get his head on right.
It’s not too late, but it’s about time this team gets it right.
The Ravens next offensive coordinator won’t report to John Harbaugh.
Who Are The Ravens?
While at a party this weekend I met a couple who had their 13-year old son with them. He’s a Seahawks fan from Baltimore. I spoke to a 4th-grade teacher who has several students in her class that are fans of teams other than the Ravens.
Surely losing affects the outlook of impressionable kids. But I also think identity, or the Ravens lack thereof, prevents such kids from connecting with the team. The Ravens were once brash and physical. They had a swagger and were defined by a dominant defense. They were the Baltimore Bullies.
What are they today?
Kids want to know.
So do I.
Hey KZ, maybe that’s the question I’d like to hear Steve Bisciotti answer.