Last Monday, Baltimore had the chance to show everyone watching around the world why they deserve to be included in the six teams the AFC will send to the playoffs in January.
Once again, they managed to disappoint an entire fan base, while proving their critics’ main talking points all season long, to be correct.
While it is safe to say the Ravens peaked too early in the season, the recent sloppy games the team has strung together when they desperately needed wins, is reason enough to say they don’t deserve to be counted in the playoffs.
Let’s examine some of the major factors that have led me to dismiss this team from playoff contention.
First, and foremost, the Ravens’ utter lack of urgency throughout the latter portion of this season has left many fans wondering (including me) if they even want to make the playoffs.
Baltimore had the chance to put the Packers away numerous times during the penalty infested contest, but they couldn’t overcome troubles of their own. The 12 penalties for 135 yards that Baltimore amassed ultimately prevented them from being competitive in a game that was closer than the final score suggested.
Revisiting the Ravens’ self-destruction at Lambeau Field Monday night, the team’s offense, on average, took 23 seconds to break the huddle, with the play clock often reading one second at the time of the snap.
In essence, Baltimore was milking the clock the entire time they were playing from behind. The team was sluggish from start to finish, and the play-calling from Cam Cameron was predictable and ineffective.
The realities of the Green Bay game are important to bring up, especially if anyone thinks the Ravens should be rewarded for their recent dismal performances.
Outside of the poor play on the football field, the Ravens’ front office failed to make the necessary adjustments to the roster when injuries started to take hold of the team.
Take in part what the Saints did recently, when they realized injuries to their secondary might cost them crucial games down the road.
What did they do? They brought in two solid veterans to fill the gaps, one player being Chris McAllister, a former Raven and perennial Pro Bowler.
Ozzie Newsome and company never entertained bringing McAllister back to Baltimore, sighting that he wasn’t in “football shape.”
Even in the face of the Ravens’ own injuries and terrible play at corner, this idea never crossed anyone in the front office...I can guarantee you that much!
So how did the Ravens address their painfully obvious disposition at defensive back? They did absolutely nothing. They stuck with “green” players who have yet to prove themselves in an NFL game, let alone in the playoffs.
Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh stuck to the notion that speed and youth at that position would somehow help their ailing pass defense.
The stubbornness amongst most Ravens assistants to address problems on defense, transformed a once-proud squad into a bunch of underachievers.
If anyone in that office believes the defense can carry this team through the playoffs as they once did, should be barred from the NFL permanently.
All of this is simple math, really. With the production on offense up by only 25 percent from last year, and the defense yielding 70 percent more yardage to opponents, the numbers aren’t where they should be.
This is especially true with a young quarterback in Joe Flacco, who’s had to endure unnecessary pressure due to the drop-off in defensive production.
Another key point often overlooked by many, is the fact that Flacco hasn’t been dealt a mentor…a veteran quarterback under whom he can develop.
The blame falls squarely on Ozzie for not installing some sort of system for Flacco in Baltimore. So the end result is Flacco will undoubtedly have to put in more work than the average second-year quarterback.
Still, with all of the adversity and lack of weapons at wide receiver, Flacco has managed to have a decent sophomore season.
It’s extremely uncomplicated to keep finding faults with the Ravens’ organization this year, and reasons why they really don’t deserve to make it to the post-season.
Unfortunately, there are space constraints on Bleacher Report servers, and I don’t want to run the risk of filling them up with my ongoing rants.
I will say one thing. I’ve always held some form of hope for the Ravens this year, and was always quick to their defense. I can no longer consciously do this, and at the same time be taken seriously in this sports community.
So to all of you Ravens fans out there, we’ll have to wait for the off-season to see how the team tackles these issues.
Even if the Ravens win out the rest of their schedule and make the playoffs, I still stand by my point.
Baltimore doesn’t deserve to play with the AFC’s elite in the postseason.
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