Written by: Peter Coolbaugh
I have had a few days to simmer and stew, but it does not help. There were 4 divisional playoff games last weekend and all the teams I wanted to win (Bears, Packers, Jets) won except the game that mattered most. Ravens infuriated their fans with another postseason meltdown and worse - a loss to the hated Steelers who now have a 3-0 record against this Baltimore franchise in the playoffs.
Yes, the cheating Patriots are gone although it means I had to swallow my disdain and root for the Jets. Classic franchise rivals Chicago and Green Bay advance too, with crybaby Favre home looking like a fool while is old team keeps moving forward. So there is a certain satisfaction seeing New England, Philadelphia, and other franchises I despise now sent home, but the pain of seeing the Ravens blow it again is difficult to bear.
First off, we had a huge lead. Huge. And then the mistakes came, again and again. Interceptions, a fumble, and a D who could not prevent the scores.
Is it no coincidence that since Rex Ryan left following the 2008 season our DEF has gotten progressively worse? Is it all him? Or did Father Time play a role too? And for the 2nd year as Jets head coach, his team is going further in the playoffs than the Baltimore Ravens.
There has been a lot of speculation about the future of Cam Cameron as OC for the Ravens but that was muted when Harbaugh announced his retention. Funny that with all the weapons and with Cameron, Saunders, and Zorn all on the offensive staff we still were worse than 2009. Is it the play calling or is it the players?
I for one am still not convinced that Flacco is your future. Maybe have him compete for the job next year with Bulger. Despite winning a lot of regular season games, he seems to crap out at the most inconvenient times. A Dan Marino or Joe Montana he is not.
And then we have the aging defense. Should the DC be the scapegoat for the dip in excellence? If Rex was still here could they be better? Honestly, I do not know. Age and injury take their toll on anybody over time and maybe the time in the sun for the glorious Ravens D has passed.
I am not a coach or a trainer, so I do not know for certain.
Losing never sits well. If you are a real fan, you hate to lose and for the end to suddenly arrive. The Ravens have done very well as a franchise since 2000. 7 postseason appearances in 11 years. Not bad at all. Throw in a Super Bowl win and you have a very elite franchise.
But when you fall short of expectations, the questions are always going to linger. Do you still have it in you? Can you bounce back? The offseason for the purple and black begins now with roster and coaching staff evaluations and overhaul. It could be a very different-looking team come August.
PS - Baseball spring training opens in a month. That should take our minds off the NFL for a while.
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