PiR: Injury Bug Biting Ravens Yet Again

Street Talk PiR: Injury Bug Biting Ravens Yet Again

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This is Part 2 of Perception is Reality this week. Click here for Part 1.

REALITY: Marty Mornhinweg made his debut as Offensive Coordinator for the Ravens.

Perception: In the first nine minutes of the game last Sunday, it looked like Baltimore would love the Mornhinweg offense. The Ravens marched down the field on the first drive on 10 plays and 70 yards for a field goal. After a Giants fumble, the Ravens went 30 yards in six plays for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

But then the offense stalled out for the next two quarters when we saw Joe Flacco go back to dinkin’ and dunkin’ down the field. Flacco has the strongest arm in the NFL and Mornhinweg needs to take advantage of that. In the second half of the Giants game, you could see the benefits of it. Even if the pass is not completed, the NFL rules make a Defensive Pass Interference call so likely that you might as well just chuck the ball downfield.

We saw some difference in the plays that Mornhinweg called last Sunday from what we saw under Marc Trestman, but there were still some terrible calls. The QB sneak at the end of the 3rd quarter. The toss to the left on the 4th down to start the 4th quarter. Both of them were just awful. You need one yard. Why run back a couple yard and five yards to the outside? You just need one yard straight forward.

However, one close game is not enough to judge a Mornhinweg offense. Let’s give him a few more games, especially after the Ravens bye week, when he has had some time to get acclimated.

REALITY: The Ravens had 15 penalties for 111 yards this past Sunday.

Perception: This reminded me of the famous Ravens implosions of past seasons. Yes, they had a tough time even fielding a secondary on Sunday, but that’s no excuse for the penalties. It was ridiculous and, yes, some of that falls on coaching, but you can’t blame the coaches for the players doing dumb things on the field.

The players have to do their jobs, and right now there are not that many Ravens players doing their job well, outside of the kicker and the punter.

REALITY: The Ravens have struggled with the injury bug all season.  

Perception: It is beginning to look a lot like last year. The injuries are mounting for the second straight year. The offensive line and secondary depth have really hurt the Ravens this season. Plus, with Elvis Dumervil struggling to stay on the field, and now Terrell Suggs injured, you can add the entire defense to the lack of depth concern.

Some of this is on Ozzie Newsome. Ravens fans knew there was a lack of depth on both the Offensive Line and in the secondary during the offseason, and some moves were made to help that, but evidently it wasn’t enough.

Frankly, I’m shocked we haven’t seen more moves made this week. I really expected to see Ozzie do some shuffling after what we saw last Sunday, but that wasn’t the case. We’ll see how they recover Sunday.

REALITY: Joe Flacco missed practice Wednesday and Thursday.

Perception: Flacco has soreness in his right throwing shoulder. Flacco said it was best to take Wednesday off and see how things felt. He also said that it was nothing to worry about and that he should play Sunday.

Flacco said, “I think a little bit of rest right now is probably the best thing.”

Well, I guess he needed more rest, because he missed Thursday’s practice too.

I see the Ravens and Jets game on Sunday being another ugly one. The Jets are starting Geno Smith which should make a terrible team no better. If the Ravens, who play sloppily enough, have to turn to Ryan Mallet to lead the offense, this could be one terrible game to watch Sunday.

But if there is a team that the Ravens should beat no matter who is playing quarterback, it’s the Jets. Flacco or Mallet, the Ravens should win this game.

REALITY: The Ravens lead the all-time series against the New York Jets 8-1.

Perception: The Jets won the series debut in 1997 in overtime. Since then, the Ravens have won eight in a row against the Jets including a 19-3 win in 2013.

The Ravens offense is 20th in yards per game and 24th in points per game, while the Jets defense is 23rd in yards allowed per game and 25th in points allowed.

The Jets offense is 26th in yards per game and 8th in points per game, while the Ravens defense is 3rd in yards allowed per game and 9th in points allowed.

The Ravens are 3-3 after the first six games…six games that were all winnable. Before the season started, I said they had to be 5-2 after the first seven games. This is a “must win” game, as the toughest part of their schedule is ahead. The Steelers, Bengals, Patriots and Cowboys are on the horizon.

I know I’ve predicted a Ravens win every week so far, and that hasn’t turned out very well, but I just can’t see the Ravens losing this game to fall below .500. They just cannot lose to the 1-4 Jets. Believe it or not, the Ravens are only 1 game behind the Steelers for first place in the AFC North, and the Steelers will be without their QB for 4-6 weeks.

Sorry folks, but Sunday is a must win.

Ravens win 24-13.

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Joe Polek

About Joe Polek

Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. He lived 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 @JoePolek.

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