Lombardi's Way LOMBARDI’S WAY: GROUNDHOG DAY

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Through four games, the Ravens managed to do what only two other teams could do so far this season — stay unbeaten. After last night’s defeat in Denver they’ve fallen from that lofty perch and now find themselves in a soul searching mode and with an offense that has no clue.
 
Let’s face it, their 4-0 record resembled a house of cards and had the potential to fall at any time. And last night it did fall from a mile high on a national stage.
 
Perhaps the offensive brain trust of the Ravens bought into the late game heroics of Steve McNair and they figured that if they could keep the game close, McNair could pull it off again and again. We hear Brian Billick talk about being happy with the balance of the offense. Sure it’s balanced all right. It stinks equally when running or throwing.
 
The Ravens offense is like Groundhog Day. The same things keep happening over and over and over.
 
Many believed, myself included, that the Ravens could be a dangerous team. Courtesy of the defense, they were able to post that 4-0 start and the thought was they could be scary good if and when the offense starts to gel. This offense is hardly gelling. If anything it’s curdling and they seem to be doing very little about it.
 
"It’s like a storm is coming, a storm is coming, and you’re not getting ready for it," said Derrick Mason. "We weren’t ready tonight. It was evident. Because when you’re winning, it’s all fine."
 
Read between those lines!
 
Is there complacency on the Ravens offense? Are they not doing what they need to do to improve offensively? When will it change? Will it change? Are they that arrogant to continually run the same bland offense with the same bland plays with the same degree of predictability and hope that the results will be different?
 
That’s actually Ben Franklin’s definition of insanity: doing the same things over and over and expecting the results to change.
 
And the results haven’t changed. Steve McNair was thought to be a possible mentor for Kyle Boller. It looks like it’s the other way around because the lines are certainly starting to blur between 9 and 7.
Maybe it’s the system. That and Billick are the only common denominators in over a half decade of offensive ineptitude.
 
Under Billick and Fassel last year the Ravens ranked 24th on offense and this year they are ranked 29th. I didn’t ever think we’d miss Matt Cavanaugh. The 2006 version of Brian Billick’s offensive machine partly vindicates both Cavanaugh and Boller.
 
When will the insanity end?
 
Why is Jamal Lewis in on passing downs? Why is he in on running downs any more for that matter?
 
Clarence Moore, now there’s an element of surprise. Let’s see, he can’t go over the middle so why is he suddenly in the game in the red zone? Gee, you think the Ravens might be planning a jump ball toss into the end zone? Hey and while we’re at it, let’s surprise them even more and throw at the game’s best corner.
 
Look if you see it and I see it, how can the Ravens not expect opposing defensive coordinators not to see it after pouring over hours and hours of game film. Why do they even bother watching the film? The Ravens dictate what they’re going to do with their personnel packages anyway.
 
Is it the play book? Is it that limited? Or is it the equivalent of picking songs from a juke box that exclusively features Debbie Boone?
 
You light up my life…you give me hope.
 
Is there hope for this offense? They certainly have the personnel at the skill positions to succeed but they better start utilizing their collective talent in a way that produces better results. Jonathan Ogden is visibly frustrated on the field, looking skyward for answers after yet another gain of 1 by Jamal Lewis. Derrick Mason is certainly not holding back.
 
"It’s very, very disappointing. Whoever tries to sugarcoat it, they don’t need to be in this locker room, coaches included. All of us have to take the blame, head man included. It’s a problem, and we have to fix it as an offense, somehow, some way."
 
They better, otherwise this offense won’t believe in itself and it will implode and meltdown only to be followed by a defense that will do the same, weary of carrying all the weight.
 
Maybe last night was for the best and that cold hard slap in the face from a blustery Denver night is exactly what the Ravens’ offense needs. Maybe now they can really tighten the screws and elevate the offense to mediocre and then maybe the Ravens can be the dangerous team that many believe they can be.
 
But we’ve heard this all before, we‘ve been here before.
 
This must be Groundhog Day, right?

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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