As the Ravens barrel their way toward another mediocre season, the winds of change are swirling in Baltimore.
The Ravens have missed the playoffs four times in five years and some of the same rhetoric is resurfacing this season.
“We have everything we want in front of us.”
“We need to control what we can control.”
There is the constant positive spin by the organization. I’ve seen stats from BR.com the last few days showing that coach John Harbaugh has the best record of any active coach coming out of the bye week. There was another story making excuses for the Ravens’ three-game losing streak, referencing the high-quality opponents.
It’s familiar territory for Ravens fans in recent years and it’s become downright exhausting.
Some argue that it’s better to be a Ravens fan than a Browns fan or a Jets fan. However, being the fan of a mediocre team can suck the life out of you — just look at the amount of empty seats at M&T Bank stadium.
The Ravens are stuck in a vicious cycle, somewhere between ordinary, unexceptional, and unexciting. Every year fans, including myself, get excited about a team that seems to have made positive changes in the offseason.
Each season, we are met with virtually the exact same situation as the team reaches the homestretch. A record that’s teetering a game or two over or under .500, a testy head coach who lashes out at the media because his seat is warm and a quarterback who statistically falls in the bottom quarter of the league.
Each August, we get excited again at the hope of a fresh start and maybe a return to some January football, but it simply never happens.
This cycle is fueled by the constant pressure to win right now. It affects everyone from the front office to the coaching staff. When the team misses on draft picks, like Terrence Brooks and Breshad Perriman, they have to invest cap space and resources in players like Eric Weddle and Michael Crabtree.
While Harbaugh knows it’s probably in the franchise’s long-term interest to play Lamar Jackson instead of Joe Flacco, he can’t pull the trigger. Harbaugh knows that he won’t be part of that future if he doesn’t make it to the playoffs this year. The Ravens have been stuck in this cycle since winning the Super Bowl. They’ve existed in mediocrity and that’s worse than committing to a rebuild and maybe going 4-12 for a year or two before things start heading back in the right direction.
Again, it has become exhausting and has probably impacted attendance more than a few guys taking a knee one time.
The rhetoric is frustrating, the cycle is exhausting and it needs to end.
Whether or not Jackson is a part of that we don’t know, but we need to find out and it needs to start this week. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, like any smart business man, has always left the football decisions up to the football people. But maybe he needs to get involved and put pressure on the coaching staff to commit to Jackson for the rest of the year.
Even when the Ravens had simply bad teams, the interest in the team was never this low. The average product that’s been put on the field the last five years taken the fun out of Sundays for fans. A strong finish and winning a wild card would simply mask the bigger problems the franchise has had the last five years.
It is time to hit the reset button – and the sooner the better.