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Gashman

Philosophy Going Forward....How would you build the team, O or D?

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The 2000 Super Bowl Champions were built on the model of being a tough hard nosed Smash Mouth football team, featuring a Top Defense, a strong running game, and a game manager at QB that scored enough points to be ahead, and allow the defense to shut the door and close out the game.

This was the foundation for the Ravens organization after we figured out in the early days scoring 30-40 points with Testeverde wasn't getting the job done, and even if this team wasn't able to score many points, the D and special teams would step up and the majority of the Offensive play calls were designed to get us at least better field position, and getting us even 3pts was a bonus, forget td's lol!

Now that we are in the twilight of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed's careers, I believe we are at a crossroads.

We have Suggs, Ngata, Pollard, Webb and hopefully Upshaw as a nice foundation to continue our trend as a dominant defense, injuries have hurt us this year, as well as the loss of key players like JJ and Redding. The book is still out on players like Kruger, Ellerbee and McClain as to see if they will be able to keep stepping up and become real Ravens. (My definition for a real Raven Defender is if you are on the line, are you getting double teamed? If you are a linebacker, can you stuff the run and are receivers afraid to cross the middle? If you are a DB, do they throw away from you, and can you lay the wood, and wrap up?)

On Offense, we have a ton of resources. I believe talent wise we have what should be the makings of a top notch offense. Some improvements on the line would be helpful, but overall we should be a top 5-7 Offense based on personnel.
That being said, with the exception of the Cameron and Harbaugh families, the majority of the media both locally and nationally, and the fan base think our talent is being wasted and under used. Just ask yourself this if you don't agree, WHERE WOULD OUR OFFENSE RANK IF BILL BELECHIK WAS OUR HEAD COACH?

That being said, the leadership is failing our offense, and thus our whole team suffers as a result, time of possession and poor 3rd down conversions hurts our defense in the worst way.

IMO, we would be undefeated if old BB was our HC and overseeing or running our Offense?, which brings me to my point.

Since we are unwilling to run a spread offense with the talent we have, or at least design plays to get the ball in our best players hands, RR and TS, do we need to keep paying these guys? Why even spend the $$$, when if we had spent it on Defense, we could go on calling the same plays over and over and be in much better shape. Maybe even draft a bruising back to go back to smash mouth.

So the question here is, how would you build this team from here if you were sitting behind one of the big desks in the castle?
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We have a bunch of young guys with high potential of both sides of the ball. However, the defense is older than the offense. We need this draft to be focused on defense, and hope that the offensive players continue to develop and progress. We need to reload on defense.
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[quote name='K-Dog' timestamp='1354817672' post='1248117']
Is BOTH not a good answer?
[/quote]

It is, however salary cap dictates in most cases a choice.....to resign Flacco will come at a cost...will it be Ed Reed or Boldin?

Think of this in terms like that. Then think of the money sitting on the bench on Offense, Williams, Doss, even Ray Rice last week. We sure could have used JJ or even Ben Grubbs this year, but the signing of Ray Rice didn't leave enough $. Looking back, no Ray Rice but Grubbs blocking, JJ setting the edge and Pierce running the ball. Would that have been better? This is where I am going with this thread.

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We have one of the most talented defenses of the decade and haven't one anything since the turn of the century.

Maybe its time to take notice and change it up. An offense that scores points, a defense that gets turnovers and is solid in the redzone not letting up points.

Wait? Isn't that what we have when we go no huddle on offense?

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I believe with all of my heart that our offense can be a dominant weapon and just tire out defenses i would try to solidify the Offensive Line. Our defense can exist just as we have it if our offense plays up to it's potential. Release Birk, renegotiate Sugar Rays contract, let Reed walk (keep Idehegibo and keep Graham with Webb to make our CB's strong. Let C. Williams go and decide if we are keeping Boldin or Jones. Keep Pierce and Rice as a tandem, what a great pair. Find a reliable LT and Keep Oher away from the LT spot. The must is in KEEPING Leach. I know the next one will be very unpopular but replace Cam or Harb's. One of the two have to go. If Harb's cannot pull in the reigns and keep Harb's in check then one of them have to go and i would opt for tossing Cam or bring back Flaccos security blanket QB coach as without him Flacco is like a kid trying to solve a rubiks cube. Without someone holding his hand he makes very bad decisions. He needs point to point instructions as his thought process is awful in pressure situations.
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i'd hope we'd actually get a balance for once.
2008 - 2011 (bad offense, elite defense)
2012 (bad offense, bad defense)
2013 (top 10 offense, top 15 defense? is that too much to ask?)
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[font=trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif][i]I think we've got enough young up-and-coming talent on the defensive side of the ball. Kruger, McClellan, Suggs, Ngata, Cody, Smith, Williams, Webb, Upshaw, etc. -- it is just getting them time to play & keeping them healthy that is the problem. When you look at our defense, they don't perform like an all-star defense, but there isn't a guy on that defensive squad I wouldn't take in a first round, honestly.[/i][/font]

[font=trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif][i]Offensively, I think the line need works. Sure, we've got some young guys there as well and they had sparks of gelling this season but nothing that seemed to carry from game to game. Perhaps game planning was part of it. Also, I think we need to start looking at a new TE as well. Nothing against Pitta or Dickson, but either they aren't opening or they aren't being targeted. Either case, they're not being utilized like Todd Heap. Lastly, we need someone else to compliment Boldin. We've got Torrey and Jacoby stretching the field on the outside, Boldin and Pitta working the inside but again, there is just something wrong in with the TE position being targeted. I believe we get a fourth WR, (Doss isn't it) and we should be OK.[/i][/font]

[font=trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif][i]Just my opinions.[/i][/font]

[font=trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif][i]~ CosmicRedPanda[/i][/font]
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i think we should go with the D unless we get rid of CAM, no matter who u bring on offense they gonna suck under cam, even if u bring the whole denver offense and let cam run it, they will suck big time,
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Their is something about a good Defense that attracts me to it. I like the fact the other team fields an offense, but cannot move the ball especially against the ravens 2000 D.
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[font=trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif][i]And the one key point I forgot to mention on my previous post, it would help to work on the offensive side of the ball because the majority of the reason our defense is failing -- is because our offense can't keep them off the field.[/i][/font]

[font=trebuchet ms,helvetica,sans-serif][i]~ [s]Malkavian Raven[/s] Cosmic Red Panda[/i][/font]
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[quote name='omar586' timestamp='1354830294' post='1248287']
i think we should go with the D unless we get rid of CAM, no matter who u bring on offense they gonna suck under cam, even if u bring the whole denver offense and let cam run it, they will suck big time,
[/quote]
This. Its no coincidence that our two most successful year we field top 3 defenses in points/yards and had high sack totals. I'd work on the defense and Oline if we are to keep Cameron. Building the skill positions is a waste of time. We have 3 good WRs and Cameron throws to Leach more than he does Jones. Why beat your head against a brick wall?
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[quote name='Bltravens' timestamp='1354833858' post='1248327']
We have 3 good WRs and [b]Cameron throws to Leach[/b] more than he does Jones. Why beat your head against a brick wall?
[/quote]

Who put Cameron under center anyway? That seems like a real silly package.
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If we were to keep the same staff, than i would ignore the offensive side of the ball and only focus our resources on defense and special teams. My reasons are this: Whenever we add a new talent to our defense or special teams we see the benefit right away. We bring over Jacoby Jones and boom, he's in the pro bowl. We Keep Anthony Allen to be a lead blocker and you see him blowing people up. On defense we bring in Corey Graham, and boom he could be our starter for the rest of the season. When we signed Corey Redding that side of the line showed tremendous improvement... see where I'm going with this, we aren't even spending money on the best free agents available and we see the results!

... but on the offensive side of the ball... I dont know what it is, but we bring in T.J. Who's your mama and we get nothing, we sign Lee Evans and I won't even go there. Vonte Leach was a hot commodity but he doesn't even touch the field anymore. We could have the same offense with a rag tag, bottom of the barrel group of players most of the time. Our offense now holds too much of our cap to perform the way that it has been, so if the defenseive and special teams side of the ball are the only sides that show results, they will be the only sides getting top quailty players installed.
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[quote name='RivenHale' timestamp='1354834996' post='1248351']
Who put Cameron under center anyway? That seems like a real silly package.
[/quote]
Good point
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So I am resigned to the fact that Cam will keep calling the same crappy plays, which means the offense will continue to sputter. I can't stand the fact we still have him here, but it's not my call.
Therefore, I say let's get our D back to form, and restock with some good players. Let's trade up this year and get a top 10 defensive beast. I am sick of trading back and ending up with scrubs like kindle and Cody. The Kuypers of the world thought Cody was a reach back then anyway.

Old school smashmouth football needs some beef on the Oline.
We have Leach, which is key, I think Flacco's contract will cost us Oher, so we need look at O line too.
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[quote name='RivenHale' timestamp='1354834996' post='1248351']
Who put Cameron under center anyway? That seems like a real silly package.
[/quote]

Betcha' there will be gaping holes in the O-line fir that play.
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[quote name='The Raven' timestamp='1354817317' post='1248111']
We have a bunch of young guys with high potential of both sides of the ball. However, the defense is older than the offense. We need this draft to be focused on defense, and hope that the offensive players continue to develop and progress. We need to reload on defense.
[/quote]

The Defenses overall average age may be more than the offense but the unit we have fielded this season has struggled because of Youth & Inexperience. Just look at the roster, players on defense that have started or played significant time with under 5 years of experience as a PRO that list includes : L.Webb (4yr), Kruger (4yr), A.Jones(3), McPhee (2), Cody(3), Ellerbe(4), McClellan(2), C.Williams (4), J.Smith (2), Upshaw (1), D.Tyson(1).
Guys like Kruger and McPhee have displayed that they are still situational players that haven't become compete 3 down defenders able to play solid and consistent against the run and pass.
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The Offense actually has some talented skilled players, and they actually fit well together because of their different skill sets and abilities. We've got one really sure handed TE in Pitta but he gets hurt every other game because on the rare occasion a pass is thrown in the middle to him he is left out to dry and take a big hit. Dickson is highly inconsistent makes a spectacular catch then drops an easy one, but the 2 TEs should be able to exploit LBs and safeties in coverage. Boldin should be used used in the Slot WR role more frequently whether he lines up in the slot or motions to slot, so that he can have space around him to work with to prevent defenders from using the sidelines as a boundary or an extra defender, even in his younger days in Arizona Boldin was lined up often in the slot to prevent CB from holding him down the field, but after 3 seasons with the Ravens we still rarely utilize him in this manner, basically it would be like a team trading for Welker or V.Cruz whom both play about 70% of snaps from Slot position then just sticking them on the outside against the teams top corner all game long saying run 10 yards down field and make a jump ball catch as if you were 6'5" Calvin Johnson or Vincent Jackson, or Brandon Marshall.
Even if Boldin played mainly in the Slot J.Jones and Torrey Smith as outside options are still very good.

But the offense never works in routes to have the WRs play off one another, so that different Route combinations causes defenders to choose whom to cover. It's amazing how the offense flashed its potential and steadily came back down to normal Cam Cameron Ihop menu play-calling
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[quote name='jdynamite' timestamp='1354845707' post='1248579']
The Offense actually has some talented skilled players, and they actually fit well together because of their different skill sets and abilities. We've got one really sure handed TE in Pitta but he gets hurt every other game because on the rare occasion a pass is thrown in the middle to him he is left out to dry and take a big hit. Dickson is highly inconsistent makes a spectacular catch then drops an easy one, but the 2 TEs should be able to exploit LBs and safeties in coverage. Boldin should be used used in the Slot WR role more frequently whether he lines up in the slot or motions to slot, so that he can have space around him to work with to prevent defenders from using the sidelines as a boundary or an extra defender, even in his younger days in Arizona Boldin was lined up often in the slot to prevent CB from holding him down the field, but after 3 seasons with the Ravens we still rarely utilize him in this manner, basically it would be like a team trading for Welker or V.Cruz whom both play about 70% of snaps from Slot position then just sticking them on the outside against the teams top corner all game long saying run 10 yards down field and make a jump ball catch as if you were 6'5" Calvin Johnson or Vincent Jackson, or Brandon Marshall.
Even if Boldin played mainly in the Slot J.Jones and Torrey Smith as outside options are still very good.

But the offense never works in routes to have the WRs play off one another, so that different Route combinations causes defenders to choose whom to cover. It's amazing how the offense flashed its potential and steadily came back down to normal Cam Cameron Ihop menu play-calling
[/quote]

Cam would rather have Todd Heap block, and Boldin running the deep 9 route and Leach on a check down......what's wrong with this picture?
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I think part of the issue with the Ravens is that they have less success drafting offensive talent than defensive talent. This has gotten much better though recently with Flacco, Rice, Yanda, Pitta, Pierce and Osemele (early indications on the two rookies). Despite those solid picks, our offense has yet to be consistently explosive. I feel like we know what we have with Rice more so than with Flacco. If the FO decides to give Flacco the big contract he's looking for, than it would make sense for them to continue building around him. Not to say that they wouldn't acquire some defensive talent, but the offense would take up most of the cap. The question is whether or not the Ravens would be able to have a good enough offense then to dominate games and whether or not they'd be able to stop anyone while having a far less talented defense than in the past.

I am a dedicated Ravens fan, but beyond being a Ravens fan, I am a fan of a particular style of football. That style is not finesse, and it's not bend but don't break defense. Rather it's, "we are going to run it down your throat, dominate the trenches and play great special teams." Sounds familiar right?

I know that rule changes over the last however many years, have favored the offense and in particular the passing game. That's why we see rookies throwing for 300 on regular occasion and backup QBs putting up obscene numbers when given the chance to play. The Ravens FO can either decide to go with the trend of the league and try to exploit recent rule changes by becoming an offensively focused team or can decide that they will be able to score more easily with even a mediocre offense and therefore build a team that can stop people.

If I were building the team going forward I think I would painfully and reluctantly let Joe walk next year if he's set on the 100 million dollar type contract. It would be really tough, because I love Joe and know that he's the best quarterback that we've ever had. Then I may also look at renegotiating Boldin's contract. Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce and another big bruiser type via the draft. I would also look to replace Birk with a center that can maul.

To replace Flacco I would try to find a QB who could throw the deep ball effectively since most of the passes would be off of play action. ( This is what Flacco did primarily his rookie year anyways and is what Cam usually reverts too when he gets in his conservative mode). The WR's would still be Torrey and Jones so we'd have speed enough to burn teams deep and Pitta as a security blanket for the QB .

On defense I would gear the team towards having a very disruptive pass rush. Having Suggs is not nearly enough. Neither is Kruger, Upshaw or McPhee. I would look to change the defense to run more hybrid looks so that more athletic players could be on the field at the same time. (Sort of like Houston does with their one-gap system in a 3-4 alignment) This gives you the chance to have more pass rushers on the field rather than having three two-gapping D-lineman. For example you could have Kruger and McPhee at DE's, Upshaw and Suggs at OLB spots and Ngata as the NT ready to penetrate into one of the A-gaps. This allows the defense to be aggressive rather than reading and reacting so much.

The corners would play a lot of man, so they'd need to be pretty legit as well. Webb would be fine, as would Williams most likely. Jury is still out on Smith at this point.

If the Ravens do decide to go with Joe as the future of the franchise, I think they'd benefit from running a Tampa 2 type scheme on defense, since it's a relatively simple scheme that you don't need as many good players to run. (Think the Colts under Dungy) There only really great players were their DE's and one safety. Their corners and DT's were never studs and they were able to plug new players in rather seamlessly because the scheme was so simple.
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[quote name='AlaskanRavensFan' timestamp='1354859913' post='1248760']
I think part of the issue with the Ravens is that they have less success drafting offensive talent than defensive talent. This has gotten much better though recently with Flacco, Rice, Yanda, Pitta, Pierce and Osemele (early indications on the two rookies). Despite those solid picks, our offense has yet to be consistently explosive. I feel like we know what we have with Rice more so than with Flacco. If the FO decides to give Flacco the big contract he's looking for, than it would make sense for them to continue building around him. Not to say that they wouldn't acquire some defensive talent, but the offense would take up most of the cap. The question is whether or not the Ravens would be able to have a good enough offense then to dominate games and whether or not they'd be able to stop anyone while having a far less talented defense than in the past.

I am a dedicated Ravens fan, but beyond being a Ravens fan, I am a fan of a particular style of football. That style is not finesse, and it's not bend but don't break defense. Rather it's, "we are going to run it down your throat, dominate the trenches and play great special teams." Sounds familiar right?

I know that rule changes over the last however many years, have favored the offense and in particular the passing game. That's why we see rookies throwing for 300 on regular occasion and backup QBs putting up obscene numbers when given the chance to play. The Ravens FO can either decide to go with the trend of the league and try to exploit recent rule changes by becoming an offensively focused team or can decide that they will be able to score more easily with even a mediocre offense and therefore build a team that can stop people.

If I were building the team going forward I think I would painfully and reluctantly let Joe walk next year if he's set on the 100 million dollar type contract. It would be really tough, because I love Joe and know that he's the best quarterback that we've ever had. Then I may also look at renegotiating Boldin's contract. Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce and another big bruiser type via the draft. I would also look to replace Birk with a center that can maul.

To replace Flacco I would try to find a QB who could throw the deep ball effectively since most of the passes would be off of play action. ( This is what Flacco did primarily his rookie year anyways and is what Cam usually reverts too when he gets in his conservative mode). The WR's would still be Torrey and Jones so we'd have speed enough to burn teams deep and Pitta as a security blanket for the QB .

On defense I would gear the team towards having a very disruptive pass rush. Having Suggs is not nearly enough. Neither is Kruger, Upshaw or McPhee. I would look to change the defense to run more hybrid looks so that more athletic players could be on the field at the same time. (Sort of like Houston does with their one-gap system in a 3-4 alignment) This gives you the chance to have more pass rushers on the field rather than having three two-gapping D-lineman. For example you could have Kruger and McPhee at DE's, Upshaw and Suggs at OLB spots and Ngata as the NT ready to penetrate into one of the A-gaps. This allows the defense to be aggressive rather than reading and reacting so much.

The corners would play a lot of man, so they'd need to be pretty legit as well. Webb would be fine, as would Williams most likely. Jury is still out on Smith at this point.

If the Ravens do decide to go with Joe as the future of the franchise, I think they'd benefit from running a Tampa 2 type scheme on defense, since it's a relatively simple scheme that you don't need as many good players to run. (Think the Colts under Dungy) There only really great players were their DE's and one safety. Their corners and DT's were never studs and they were able to plug new players in rather seamlessly because the scheme was so simple.
[/quote]

I'd like to run the Tampa 2, but running it well requires a few things.

1. An offense that scores a lot of points consistently.
2. An offense that can both score quickly and run long drives
3. A defense with a consistent pass rush.
4. Quick linebackers that can cover and hit hard.
5. Bend, but don't break.

We only meet the fifth criteria.
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I think you are providing a false choice, build around offense or defense. It all comes down to who is available in the draft. We should and do take the best player regardless of position. That means we build up everywhere we can and see what sticks.

That said there are choices to be made in the case of players at a similar talent level and who we resign. To me defensive players have always seemed to be cheaper and fall further in the draft, so the I'm all for getting the best value which is usually defense with the exception of DE and CB.

Given the choice I always think o-line because they are the foundation of the offense. I'm always amazed at how teams forget this or ignore it. Look at the Bears, Steelers, Chargers, and Eagles all of which have good players at the skill positions and dirt at the o-line (Steelers are young there). What good is paying a QB and WR big bucks if the line is terrible? Oppositionally a great line makes everyone look good and a veteran immobile pocket passer can look great if protected and there are quite a few of those hanging around free agency every year at a Ravens price.

Answer: Build around value and all ties go to the line.
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I would like to see us draft defense early. But where should we go? Up on the line with someone like DE Alex Okafar out of Texas who the Ravens are projected to draft Or should we go coverage with someone like CB Ricardo Allen out of purdue who runs a 4.45 and is expected to fall to the second round.
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So how did we land, offense or defense. I hope we go defense as stated earlier as we will seemingly need to minimize scoring until Joe can show he can carry a team. Match score for score like Brady. It seems he coasts until the opposition continues to keep up then he pours it on. Joe has trouble scoring let alone reigning it in and scoring at will. Once we had the 50 plus score game he lit it up week after week to show he could do it. Thats where i want to see Joe playing at, at that level.
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[quote name='The Raven' timestamp='1354861021' post='1248769']
I'd like to run the Tampa 2, but running it well requires a few things.

1. An offense that scores a lot of points consistently.
2. An offense that can both score quickly and run long drives
3. A defense with a consistent pass rush.
4. Quick linebackers that can cover and hit hard.
5. Bend, but don't break.

We only meet the fifth criteria.
[/quote]
Upshaw could be the start to the 4th criteria if that helps at all
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[quote name='FreckleNate' timestamp='1354915934' post='1249163']
Upshaw could be the start to the 4th criteria if that helps at all
[/quote]

Nope. Upshaw is not quick and coverage is not his strength at all! If he fits any role in the Tampa 2 style it's as a pass rusher.
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I am hoping that Upshaw slims just a bit and gains the speed to go from sideline to sideline. I like strong backs but hope he gains some more speed and take JJ's place sealing the edge.
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I don't think we build around any one area but become complete. We need:

If I had to choose, I would choose the following scenario:

We have a so-called "elite" QB.
A dominant offensive line for said QB.
A stable of very effective pass rushers.
An excellent front 3 or 4 of the defense.

The CBs, WRs, RBs honestly don't matter as much anymore. I mean, they are important but a solid OL can give an elite QB time to throw and any WR worth their pay can get open EVENTUALLY. A RB can run behind a dominant OL that opens the holes. They say you give a QB enough time someone is open. They say you give a RB a good enough OL there will be a hole.

On defense they say an effective pass rush makes a weak secondary strong. It's true. If we constantly pressure the QB without the blitz they won't have time to throw or they will throw a pick or incompletion.

Then again, that's a perfect team. No team is perfect.

I would say we need to focus on QB, OL, DL. Everything else will fall into place if those areas are covered. We might even have the QB. I personally think we do. Until the Ravens move on from Flacco he is our QB. I want to see him get a new OC with a better OL.
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