Baltimore Ravens Have Talent, Lack Mental Toughness

Alan BlackAnalyst IIINovember 5, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 24:   Anquan Boldin #81 of the Baltimore Ravens attempts to run past  Daryl Smith #52 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game at EverBank Field on October 24, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Right now there is no team in the NFL more enigmatic than the Baltimore Ravens

They have convincing wins over the Steelers, Jets and Texans, yet their two losses so far came at the hands of the Titans and Jaguars, teams far inferior to Pittsburgh, New York and Houston.

The Ravens' defense has four games in which it allowed 14 or fewer points. However, Baltmore's also given up more than 24 points twice. 

The Baltimore offense has scored 30 points or more four times, but it also managed just seven points against a Jacksonville squad that currently sits at 2-6.

On any given Sunday, the Ravens can be either the best team in the NFL or the worst.  This maddeningly inconsistent team obviously has talent, but is definitely lacking something quite important: mental toughness.

The Ravens have plenty of stars, from Ed Reed, Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs on defense to Ray Rice, Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin on offense.  What they don't have is a mentally focused, determined squad. 

It's almost unthinkable that any team with Ray Lewis as its leader could be this unfocused and inconsistent.  After all, you can count on one hand the number of players in the league who play with as much intensity and command as much respect as Lewis. 

The fact that not even Lewis can get this squad to stay focused is an indictment of the team as a whole.

The Ravens' inconsistency doesn't stem from just a few of its players—it's been a team effort. 

One or two players lacking focus doesn't account for the wild swings that Baltimore has experienced, thus making this a case of the entire team losing sight of its goals from time to time.

If Baltimore wants it enough, this season's AFC Super Bowl spot is theirs for the taking.  Given the inconsistency the team has shown so far this year, that's a pretty big "if."