For various reasons, whenever it came down to the wire, last year, we pulled out the win.
This year, not so much.
We did miss Ray Lewis, maybe not so much for the physical play, but the emotional uplift. He is inspirational, and wildly passionate. I don't see that in these guys , anywhere.
We really missed Matt Birk - sorry Gino. not cutting it - at all.
Getting rid of Boldin was a mistake, he is strong enough to outplay any corner or safety and make the clutch play.
Let's not even talk about the running game. Where did that go? Could we trust Ray Rice with a 4th and 29 this year? Not so much.
I still think Flacco is worth it - other teams beat him up, a lot. He got up for more.
I will give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they were more hurt than we knew about.
Let's see what happens off season to make another run.
Still my team, heart and soul.
Agreed on all points, good post!
I dont think people really look at the fact that the O-line played out of their minds in the play-offs last year. I've never seen Mckinnie play like that game in and game out for any stretch of his whole career.
And while I agree about the inspiration of Ray Lewis, I also feel the O-line went and put the whole run on its back for Birk.
Seriously its such a huge difference in the offense and made the whole offense very hard to watch at times this past year.
Pre-Snap penalities should NEVER happen at home! The whole offensive line group (most of the time) were called repeatedly, and often by the same players mutliple times in one game. One of these penalties alone was enough to kill an entire possession. Not enough time to throw, or protection for Flacoo either who desperately needs just a little more time to throw to make him deadly accurate with a deep ball. The run game rarely had any running lanes and it beat our backs up pretty good all season having to fight on every carry.
So yes losing Birk cannot be overstated. You can lose receivers and other skill position guys, but if you solely watch the battle in the trenches like I do (former O-lineman here) then this season was not adequate for that whole group.
I've been watching highly rated centers going for years, and I wouldn't mind getting one by round 3 either. Especially if they are the best player available.
Lastly, on a side note I wouldn't mind seeing us move up 5-6 spots in the draft and grab a superior player that we really like and maybe get like a 12th overall pick. You never know it could happen, and it could be any position including wide receiver, corner, or pass rusher (already strong position groups) that Ozzie has stated that you never can have enough.
Edited by Dudeman, 02 January 2014 - 11:59 PM.