It’s a situation we all know very well. Late in the season the Ravens went into a meaningful game that they should have won and they came away empty handed.
It’s the same old story year after year, and it’s left me feeling dumb for believing anything would change and dumber for continuing to believe it will one day.
You have different subsets of fans at this point. The eternal optimists, the Chicken-Little’s and the analysts. I have and always have been an optimist that analyzes the situation objectively.
Objectively, I think these Ravens have a problem.
Where do I start? The defense has been hit by the injury bug hard. Terrell Suggs missed significant time to an Achilles injury and has now incurred a torn Biceps. Haloti Ngata has been hampered by injury all season. Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb went down in the same game and Jimmy Smith is missing time due to a procedure to repair a nagging groin injury. It’s hard to expect this unit to be championship caliber with so many replacements in the line up.
The offensive line is mediocre and unorganized. We get it; Bryant McKinnie is a turd with no work ethic. But his addition to this offensive line is necessary because it makes three positions better. Oher is a better right tackle than KO and KO has to be a better left guard than Jah Reid. This change could help improve the line but one of the biggest problems would still remain. Matt Birk has been a great player for a long time but he is no longer that player. He struggles to get push in the run game and does not hold his ground in pass protection. It will be hard to win in the playoffs with this line.
Cam Cameron and the offensive system are worn out. It’s not working. Maybe Cam isn’t the culprit behind the under achieving offense. At the outset of the season it looked like Baltimore’s no huddle attack would be a force to be reckoned with. They were putting up big points and dictating to defenses with tempo and variety. After a few shoddy road performances the no huddle has all but disappeared. Perhaps Cam pushed for the no-huddle and now Harbaugh is holding him back. Whatever it is, the dynamic is wrong and the offense is not scoring like it should. Joe Flacco has an elite arm and has shown himself to be a quarterback that can come through in the clutch but he doesn’t look comfortable right now. We’ve seen this system for five years and have no significant progress to show for it. I swear it’s getting less imaginative every year. I don’t trust that this offense can produce in multiple postseason games.
Those are the key problems but there are more. We’re doomed. Destined for a one and done playoff appearance. I don’t know if I can stomach the heartache that I know I’m destined for over the next month. But I’ll keep watching and cheering and wishing for this team to beat the odds. Even if those odds are one in a million.
You can call me Lloyd Christmas -“So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”