Reality: The Ravens traded Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers a year ago, an unpopular move in Baltimore.
Perception: GET OVER IT! Samuel Njoku, who covers the Ravens for the Examiner and CBS Baltimore tweeted a number of thoughts Sunday that speak the truth:
“You guys know Anquan Boldin wouldn’t have had this kind of success in Baltimore, right? And you do realize that Ravens would still be at home with Boldin on the roster, right?”
“There’s a good chance that if you had Boldin, you wouldn’t have Marlon Brown. You know, the younger… cheaper version.”
“With Boldin, Ravens wouldn’t have got Dumervil. They’d have brought more bodies to camp to find depth at LB. Maybe not enough space for WR.”
“And what about the defense? Dumervil would not be here. And even if playoff bound, the O-line isn’t good enough to win.”
Even the 49ers got into the act as right guard Alex Boone was asked after their victory if Boldin was worth a sixth-round pick. He said, “I think he’s worth a first-round pick, and I think the Ravens are really kicking themselves right now.”
When can we finally move on from this? Boldin is not a Raven. Yes, he had a very good season for the 49ers, but that doesn’t mean he would have had that same season with the Ravens. The Ravens did have problems on offense, but it dealt with the running game and with the offensive line… not the receivers. Plus, if you don’t trade away Boldin, the Ravens can’t sign Daryl Smith and Elvis Dumervil, both of whom were big contributors on defense.
When the trade happened last year, I didn’t like it. But you have to move on. The NFL’s salary cap forces teams to do things they may not necessarily want to do, but they have to do. That was the case with the Ravens last season, and it will happen again this off-season. Whether it’s Suggs or Jones or Ngata, the Ravens will make moves that will not make the fan base happy… but they will be moves they have to make to stay under the cap and stay competitive. So let’s move on from last year.
Reality: Jim Harbaugh is the first coach in NFL history to take his team to a Conference Championship Game in each of his first 3 seasons.
Perception: Jim basically told his brother John, “I see you and up the ante.” John led his team to a playoff win in each of his first 5 seasons as Head Coach. Jim hasn’t coached 5 years yet, but 3 NFC Championships and potential 2 Super Bowl games is a great start for a coach that seems to rub a lot of non-49ers fan the wrong way with his “childish” tantrums on the sidelines.
Reality: The Patriots became the 3rd team in NFL history to score at least 43 points in a playoff game without a touchdown pass.
Perception: As remarkable as this season has been for the Patriots, Saturday’s victory might be the most amazing. Not because they won, but they way they did it. The Patriots have lost so much this season… Vince Wilfork, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Danny Woodhead, Jerod Mayo… just to name a few. With all those losses and no real quality-name wide receivers, it appeared that the Patriots may be in trouble this season. But when you have Tom Brady as your quarterback, we have seen how it doesn’t matter what your supporting cast is. He is one of the all-time best for a reason. Usually the Patriots put their offense on Brady’s shoulders and make him pass it all over the place, never even putting a running back in the backfield. Teams just knew they were going to pass it. But with the emergence of Shane Vereen and the acquisition of LeGarrette Blount, the Patriots have a running attack that actually is productive.
This is something that I never thought I’d write… Tom Brady had just 25 pass attempts Saturday, while the Patriots had 46 rushing attempts. That stat still boggles my mind. The New England Patriots with Tom Brady behind center nearly handed the ball off twice as many times as he passed it.
This says something about Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick that may be different than John Harbaugh and whoever the offensive coordinator may be (Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell, or whoever). The Patriots look at their personnel and make their game plan based off their talents. The Ravens seem to try to make their personnel fit their game plan. That is not the right philosophy… the Patriots have it correct and that’s why they are in their 7th AFC Championship in 13 years.