Remember Ravens Being Healthy? ‘Twas Fun Getty Images/Robb Carr

The Chicken Box Remember Ravens Being Healthy? ‘Twas Fun

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The time is now. The Ravens need to embrace this phrase if they hope to make the playoffs. They have a must-win game against Carolina on Sunday, followed by a must-win game at home against the rival Steelers the next week, before a bye. They need to go into the bye at 6-3 if they want to walk into the playoffs under their own power.

However, this article isn’t about that. This is merely a collection of my thoughts regarding what has happened this week in the NFL.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, The Chicken Box.

When Madden & the Real Thing Converge…

You get this:

This is probably the wildest thing that I’ve ever seen, and the fact that it happened for the Brock Osweiler-led Dolphins makes it even wild…er.

Glitches like this only happen in Madden. I had a decent amount to drink last night, so I figured that I was seeing things, until I logged onto Twitter this morning.

The game ended in a loss for Miami, but that was a phenomenal heads-up play by the much-maligned DaVante Parker.

DeAndre Hopkins makes a catch between his legs.

“Nuk” Hopkins is Simply. The. Best.

Don’t @ me.

Look at his body of work. Now, look at what DeAndre Hopkins has had at quarterback. Matt Schaub. Case Keenum. The Ryans, Fitzpatrick and Mallett. Brian Hoyer. T.J. Yates. Brandon frickin’ Weeden. Brock Osweiler. Tom Savage. It’s only recently that he’s had anyone worthwhile throwing him the ball, with Deshaun Watson.

Even with that rotating sack of flaming garbage at quarterback, Nuk has managed to have three seasons over 1,000 yards, one just under, and is on track for almost 1,500 yards this season. The only outlier was his rookie season, where he ‘only’ notched 800 yards on 52 receptions.

Antonio Brown has had Ben Roethlisberger. Julio Jones has had Matt Ryan. Odell? Manning. Nuk has had nobody until Watson.

Now you’ll see that he is the best in the league, bar none.

Ravens Work Out Some Running Backs

Names include Jamaal Charles, Charcandrick West, and Akrum Wadley. Many Ravens fans have been calling for the Ravens to trade for a running back, and the name LeSean McCoy has been thrown around a lot.

Personally, I don’t think that a running back will fix the run game woes that the Ravens have been experiencing. The offensive line has shown no signs of being able to open up running lanes, be it in zone blocking or power blocking. While a ‘different’ kind of running back (see: Wadley) would complement the running abilities of Alex Collins, and the pass-catching ability of Buck Allen, there would likely be no great increase in production on the ground.

If the Ravens are going to make a signing, or a trade, you’d like to see them focus on the offensive line, even if it’s just for depth, as James Hurst, Bradley Bozeman, and Alex Lewis are all banged up. This game is won in the trenches.

Nothing changes faster than the NFL

Seeing the Ravens’ injury report made me think a thought. How quickly things change.

Once upon a time, not too long ago, the Ravens were considered to be very deep at cornerback, with Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr, Tavon Young, and Anthony Averett. Then Smith got suspended. Averett got hurt. Humphrey was banged up. Jimmy has an ailing groin. Suddenly, the Ravens were left with barely a starting three, plus a latecomer – Cyrus Jones.

It’s not just the cornerback group. The offensive line is looking thin. At LB, Albert McLellan was added after C.J. Mosley got hurt. Rookie first-round pick Hayden Hurst went down.

Injuries can change the face of a team. The old mantra is next man up, but that can only be uttered so many times. Likely every Ravens fan remembers when Rashaan Melvin had to start at corner against the New England Patriots in the postseason. I’m sure they remember 21 players, mostly starters or key backups, being placed on IR in one season.

So when somebody tells me next man up, I tend to laugh. The mantra is a joke, because rarely is the next guy as good as the first.

Fans’ Impact on Writers/Bloggers

‘Fire Marty!’

‘Fire Harbs!’

Justin Tucker cost us the game!’

Joe Flacco cost us the game!’

All these and more have been said, or I have read them, since the loss against the Saints. I don’t know that fans realize the impact that they have on us as writers, bloggers, radio hosts, and podcast hosts.

They impact the sanity of most, if not all. Combating not only your own personal biases, deadlines, and coming up with useful (for some writers) content, but also the wild accusations, takes, or misinformation of fans, can take a toll.

I’ve seen fans take shots at analysts or reporters because they finally make a snarky comment, after being harassed and trolled for days by fans. I’ve seen people give up this industry because of the fan reactions. But mostly, I’ve seen the fans themselves get ridiculed over and over again for the ridiculous things that they say.

Now, I don’t mind giving my opinion and insight on things. In fact, I enjoy it. It’s one of my favorite parts of what I do. But there’s a point where you have to know that what you’re saying is inflammatory or flat out wrong.

My suggestion is simple: if you are not 100% certain of what you’re speaking on, don’t. Or, better yet, form it as a question, so you can learn something. If there’s one thing that I have learned, doing this for the last half-decade plus, it’s that there is always something else to learn about the sport, because it is ever-changing.

In short, make everybody’s lives easier, and make your own knowledge base deeper. It’s not that hard, it could save a career, and will certainly save your self-esteem.

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Michael Telford

About Michael Telford

I have been an avid Ravens fan since their inception, and have written about them for a little over 5 years. I live in the Midwest region nowadays, and keep up all year, with all things Ravens, as well as the rest of the NFL. You can follow me on Twitter (@LateRoundCorner) or find me in my Facebook group (The Baltimore Elite). More from Michael Telford

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