Bring the Swagger Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens

Street Talk Bring the Swagger

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The Tennessee Titans players chanted “Easy Work! Easy Work!” following their victory over the Ravens in the divisional round of the playoffs, a source told Tony Lombardi, Editor-in-Chief of Russell Street Report.

Indeed, the Ravens were never really in the game.

It was a disappointing performance after the best regular season in franchise history.

The Ravens need to gain the type of swagger enjoyed by the Titans on that day.

They certainly have the talent to dominate opponents.

“Are we capable of winning the whole thing next year? Absolutely, without question.” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said, “Now we have to go do it. And that’s what we’ll be working to do.”

Going forward, the Ravens will ultimately be judged by their success in the postseason. After one-and-done playoff appearances in the past two years, it’s time for the team to take the next step and make a deep playoff run.

Despite being unanimously named the league’s Most Valuable Player last season, quarterback Lamar Jackson is now facing some scrutiny after being under center for both of those playoff losses. It’s perhaps an unfair judgement considering he’s only 23 years old and was the driving force for the team to even make the playoffs the past two seasons.

Harbaugh is quick to point out that both Peyton and Eli Manning had five losses in their first five playoff games before they won a matchup. Hall-of Famers Joe Montana, Steve Young and Brett Favre didn’t start a playoff game until their third seasons. Drew Brees and Troy Aikman didn’t have postseason success until their fourth seasons.

Jackson also hears those whispers and that’s dangerous for his detractors because he takes special satisfaction in silencing his critics. He was preparing to get to work as soon as he packed his bags for the offseason.

Harbaugh knows Jackson will shake off that playoff disappointment.

“He doesn’t lack for any confidence. I can tell you that,” Harbaugh said. “He understands what it means to take responsibility. And he also has a great sense of urgency to be successful and what it takes to be successful. So, no, Lamar [Jackson] doesn’t lack for confidence. He’s not doubting himself, if that’s the implication that those people are making. I don’t see that at all.”

This is a critical offseason for second-year general manager Eric DeCosta. The Ravens are few playmakers away from potentially putting together another dominant season. The team is also fully prepared to make the necessary adjustments to keep opponents off-balance.

[Related: See All Our Prospect Profiles at Ravens Draft Central]

The players and coaches are also embracing the pressure of being one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this upcoming season.

While the Ravens are in the bottom third of the league with their salary cap, the situation is still better than previous years. DeCosta has the acumen to spend wisely and add the necessary pieces.

That swagger will get bolder with each victory.

“We have had some things that we have had to work against, salary cap-wise and roster-wise and things like that.” Harbaugh said. “Guys have left in free agency, those kinds of things. I think we have done a remarkable job of building this team to where it is right now. I am really proud of what we have been able to do, on the personnel side and the coaching-scheme side. What we have been able to build with the guys that we have had and get the most out of our players [is impressive]. So, let’s take that and move forward.

“That gives me a lot of confidence where we are going forward. We have a few more resources in front of us right now. We have good draft resources; we have great cap resources that we haven’t had in the past. So, we have a chance to build our roster in a way that we haven’t been able to maybe in the last large number of years.”

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About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich

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