PiR: Young Ravens Getting Valuable Reps

Street Talk PiR: Young Ravens Getting Valuable Reps

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REALITY: The Ravens are 4-7 and in 3rd place in the AFC North; 12th place in the AFC.

PERCEPTION:  No, I do not think the Ravens have any shot at the playoffs, but it’s pretty astounding to think that they are just a play or two away from being over .500 and in the thick of the playoff race, even with all the terrible injuries they have suffered.

The Ravens have lost all seven games by one score or less. Four of those losses came after the Ravens had a lead in the 4th quarter. Think about that… if they don’t lose those leads, they are 8-3 and just one game behind the Bengals for 1st place in the AFC North and the #2 Seed in the AFC. They are that close to being that good, but on the other hand, they are just that close to being 0-11. The line between winning and losing in the NFL is just that razor-thin.

REALITY: With Monday Night’s win, John Harbaugh become the winningest coach in Ravens history.

PERCEPTION:  While the Ravens of course haven’t had that many coaches, it’s still a big deal for Harbaugh to have 86 wins in just 134 games. It took Brian Billick 152 games to get to 85 wins. Ted Marchibroda won 16 out of 48 in three seasons.

A lot of Ravens fans are frustrated with the way this team has performed this season (and some would say last season too), and they blame Harbaugh. I look at it much differently. Harbaugh has kept the Ravens together and motivated through many struggles. The Ravens have lost more important players than any other team in the NFL, but somehow are continuing to find ways to win and not throw in the towel on the season. They are not fighting and bickering amongst themselves. Yes, Harbaugh does a lot of “Rah Rah” during press conferences and interviews, but hey, it works. The Ravens continue to fight and play hard, even though it seems they have nothing to play for, and are playing with back-ups at QB, RB, and WR.

Everyone in the media and around the NFL agrees that Coach Harbaugh is one of the best. I just wish Baltimore fans would realize it and get behind him. We are lucky to have a great coach who has helped keep this team together.

REALITY: The Ravens have blocked a kick in 5 straight games.

PERCEPTION:  They have blocked a punt, extra point, or a field goal in their last five games… that’s impressive. Those are the things that make a difference in close games. According to Elias Sports, the Ravens are only the second team in NFL history to win the game with a “kick-6”. The only other time was back in 1985.

Special Teams are important to a successful team, and the Ravens have continued to find ways to be successful in that part of the game. Kick-off returns, punt returns, and blocking kicks are just as important as turnovers. They will change a game in a heartbeat, as they did on Monday.

REALITY: Ravens young players produced well Monday Night.

PERCEPTION:  That is good news for the future of the Ravens. Kaelin Clay was not even on the Ravens at the start of the season. Neither was Chris Givens. Kamar Aiken has really struggled, but is very slowly learning and growing. Nick Boyle looks great. Javorius Allen is proving to be a great draft pick and Terrance West could be a great steal off waivers. Shareece Wright played a great game in the secondary. Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan continue to show everyone that they are the future of the Ravens defense. Brent Urban could prove to be valuable.

If you have been worried about the aging Ravens, these young guys are getting some great reps that will help the team next year, and isn’t that what we are playing for?

REALITY: The Ravens travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins Sunday.

PERCEPTION:  The all-times series is tied at 6-6, with the Dolphins going 6-4 in the regular season, but the Ravens winning both playoff games.

The worst game in this series was in December 2007, when the Dolphins were 0-13, and the Ravens went into Miami and lost in overtime 22-16.

The Dolphins are 28th in the NFL in total defense, including being 21st against the pass and dead last against the run.

If the Ravens O-line can help open up the holes for West and Allen that they did on Monday night, they should run the ball down the throat of the Dolphins. If Trestman can stick with the run, then Baltimore should win this game, 27-21.

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Joe Polek

About Joe Polek

Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. He lives in Maine from 2001-2012, where he met his wife and had two daughters. He now resides in Columbia, SC where he has left TV/Radio and is the South Carolina Marketing Coordinator for Bojangles' Restaurants. Joe is a huge sports fan, but most importantly he lives and breathes Baltimore (and Maryland) sports. He routinely gets back to Baltimore for a Ravens and Orioles game once a year. A couple of his highlights were being at the final game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, and also sitting in left field for “2130”, and “2131” (Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak). Find Joe on Twitter at @JoePolek. Joe is a huge sports fan, but most importantly he lives and breathes Baltimore (and Maryland) sports. He routinely gets back to Baltimore for a Ravens game once a year, and while living in Maine, went to Foxboro and Fenway whenever the Ravens or Orioles came to town. A couple of his highlights were being at the final game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, and also sitting in left field for “2130”, and “2131” (Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak). Find Joe on Twitter at @JoePolek. More from Joe Polek

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