During the bye week many who cover the team took a long look in the rearview mirror to study and rehash what has gone wrong so far for the 2015 Baltimore Ravens. Some have offered first half report cards, RSR included.
But really the first half failures boil down to three things: 1) A defense that can’t get off the field; 2) Lack of playmakers; and 3) Injuries. It’s really that simple.
Where the Ravens have been is history. It can’t be undone. It’s regretful.
And the only value in regrets lies in the lessons they provide and how one uses the lessons to fix things going forward. But it will take some time – perhaps even a couple of seasons to truly get back to competing for the franchise’s next Lombardi.
So with this in mind, here’s a forward-looking Good, Bad, Ugly & The Megan Fox.
Joe Flacco will finally crack the 4,000 seasonal passing yards plateau despite his no-name receiving corps. He’ll finish with 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and a passer rating of 85.3…Justin Forsett barely breaks 1,000 yards rushing…Buck Allen will emerge a bit more and clip the 500 rushing yards mark on the season. He’s currently at 163…The greater commitment to running the ball opens things up a bit more for Gillmore, as Crockett cracks the 50 catch, 600 yards mark.
Real quickly, which Ravens are tied for the team lead in sacks? You may have guessed CJ Mosley as one but the other? Lawrence Guy – both have 3. That changes in the second half as Elvis Dumervil gets untracked a bit (currently with 2.5 sacks) and finishes the season with 8…Tim Jernigan had an uneven first half but he’ll bounce back, doubling his tackle output so far (11) in the second half and adding another 3 sacks to finish with 5.5…Brandon Williams will continue to perform like a Pro Bowler but will be slighted by voters because of the bad defense he plays on…Jimmy Smith rediscovers the form he had prior to 2014’s Lisfranc injury.
Kamar Aiken will draw opponents’ best corners (think about that!) and he will finish the season as the team’s top receiver barely eclipsing Steve Smith, Sr.’s marks of 46 catches and 670 yards. Unfortunately it will take him all 16 games to do so. Smith did it in 5 full games and 2 partials…Nick Boyle will catch more balls than the once-heralded Maxx Williams leaving many to question yet another draft pick…Eugene Monroe’s struggles will continue and when all is said and done he’ll grade out lower than Carolina’s Michael Oher for the season. Currently Monroe ranks 25th and Oher 30th per Pro Football Focus…Kelechi Osemele will play his last game as a Raven this December. Same for Courtney Upshaw.
The Ravens have averaged 23.8 points per game during the first half, good for 15th in the league. With the cold weather approaching and 2 of the top 5 defenses visiting M&T Bank Stadium (Rams, Seahawks) the second half average will fall to just a notch above 21…John Harbaugh’s once high hopes for Marlon Brown come crashing down with the reality of a 20 catch season. He now has 13.
Kendrick Lewis will lose his job to Terrence Brooks. Kyle Arrington’s struggles will continue and both will be reminders of Ozzie Newsome’s worst offseason…Opposing tight ends will continue to rack up massive yardage against the Ravens. Tyler Eifert, Jimmy Graham and Travis Kelce will all crack 100 yards receiving against Dean Pees’ unit…Justin Houston, Carlos Dunlap, Robert Quinn and Michael Bennett will each sack Joe Flacco no less than two times each…The Ravens go 3-5 in the second half to finish at 5-11.
THE MEGAN FOX
The team’s best players on the season, two of which * will be the Ravens’ only Pro Bowl nominees are: