As a Ravens fan in San Francisco, I get asked this question a lot. "How does it feel to have a team that sucks"? Typically, I just give them the finger as a joke (seeing as these people are my friends) and I tell them "Every Damn dog has it's bad day".
And it's true, while we can't win them all, at least look at our past success, which is part of the reason why most Ravens fans are so.... whiny. I look at things optimistically overall, but during the games I'm a lot like people on here... Angry and pissed.
Some people will blame Ozzie Newsome. Some Harbaugh, some Flacco.....
To an extent, it's all of their faults, but they made these mistakes for various reasons. And after awhile, you begin to realize that this was inevitable. I just finished watching SB 47. Whole game with my old man. And I want to get these three things out of the way.
1. That was NOT holding on Smith. Smith did make contact, but Crabtree made it first. Afterwards, Smith got KNOCKED DOWN.
And several experts actually agree with us on this one. Good no call, I stand by it.
2. The WRs did NOT make Flacco.
Flacco played lights out. SB was probably his second best game ever (other than the Denver game 3 weeks earlier). Some will claim that Boldin, Jacoby, Torrey, and Pitta made the guy. Reality is that while this was a pretty good supporting cast, none of these men are all pro superstars. The media makes them out to be just to piss on Flacco.
Boldin was a hell of a player, he was tough as nails, had great hands, ran good routes, could do a hell of a jump ball. He was also a good leader, but he isn't the all pro superstar that most whiny fans out here make him out to be..... And he was not worth $6 million.
People continue to complain that "Ozzie only got a 6th rounder".
Ever consider that's the only thing he could get? If he could get a 3rd rounder, believe me, Ozzie would've(though I do think Ozzie redeemed himself here by trading a freaking FOURTH AND FIFTH ROUNDER for a franchise LT. But the Jags are stupid so....).
I still think Ozzie was in the right with the Boldin trade..... But we will get to this.
3. The Defense SUCKED.
Many hate the Ed Reed leaving and the Ellerbe not being retained. But reality is we actually upgraded at several of the positions that we lost in hindsight.
Let's look at it shall we?
Dayrl Smith > 36 year old Ray Lewis. Love you Ray, but god you were old, slow, and couldn't tackle. Only reason you were still employed at the time is because you were a coach on the field. That's pretty valuable in today's league but we had to play Zone, you couldn't cover.
Smith was a lot better than Ray was in previous years. I miss the insane amount of football IQ Ray had, but we needed an upgrade in coverage.
The committee assigned to replace Ellerbe was actually pretty on par with him. And he wasn't very good this past season either.
Canty > Kemo....
Well, this is kind of cheating. We actually put all pro Ngata at NT. But he was so much better than Kemo that it's not even funny....
Jimmy >> Cary
I hate Cary Williams. I was hoping he would leave and he did! And Jimmy turned the corner this year in a way that I did not expect..... He played lights out and is only going to get better.......
Elam > Reed(at this point in his career).
Elam had his struggles the past season, but he did also have a few flashes. He was not bad this year like half of you think, and he was out of position. Reed couldn't do crap in run support anymore because he can't tackle. Elam's pretty good in this department and while he isn't the best in the coverage department, he's not nearly as bad as Pollard was.
Elam has his flaws, but Reed's body broke down..... Elam had an ok rookie season, while Reed was cut at one point in the year.
While Huff was a disappointment for Ozzie, we didn't throw a lot of money at him... Not much of a loss.
Digs > Pollard.
Digs: So much better than Pollard in coverage it's not even funny.
Elvis Dumervil >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Kruger.
Do I need to go on?
Yes, you read it right, Ozzie actually did our defense well with the Boldin Money...
So let's to the part of this essay that we should be talking about....
1. The Start of the Off season.
We traded Q. A good WR who wasn't worth the $6 million he was getting paid. With his money, we were able to get
It probably contributed to the Monroe trade somehow.
These three acquisitions made the defense better. Spears was the odd man out, and probably would still be on the team if not for Tyson actually playing well, and Huff... Well Huff was terrible.
2. The Draft.
We also drafted Marc Anthony, but he was cut.
Out of all these rookies the only one to get significant playing time was Elam. That's not a terrible thing, but we still have a few guys we don't know about..... Brown looked good in limited playing time, but again, limited. I do think he's our MLB of the future though, and Williams will prob start at NT next year.
Simon might become a situation pass rusher. Juice will be the H-Back next year in Gary's offense.
Wagner might start at RT next year... Some find this hard to believe, but he might do it.
KPL will play in the NFL for ten years...... He won't be a superstar but he'll be a rock solid dlinemen who is pretty good in the rotation.
Jensen is depth on the interior oline. Can never have too much of that....
All in all, we had a pretty good draft. Things were looking up until...
3. Pitta's Injury.
Our season died right here.... I was optimistic, but knew we were done. A QB can recover from losing his best weapon, but not recover from losing his second best to go with it...
Dallas Clark was serviceable, but all in all, we probably win a few more games with Pitta. The offense would go from inept to below average (which is sadly an upgrade). We would win one or two more games.
4. Marlon Brown's emergence(Start of the regular season).
There were a few positives to the season. Jimmy's (finally) breakout year, the defense improving, but Brown was the surprise NOBODY expected. He was our redzone threat. He was pretty effective at times, but has yet to reach his ceiling. He wasn't bad, but not what we needed. He wasn't a possession move the chains WR. But he was a target who put 6 points on the board.
He was needed.
5.The Monroe Trade (Midseason Blues)
Our offensive line was bad all year round. But Ozzie upgraded here. Monroe is a good LT. Now, with KO going out, life got harder, but we got a much needed upgrade. He was good this year, and we need to do everything to keep him around.
6. Flacco is not invincible(His injury)
Last two weeks of the season Flacco was not himself, and you could tell that.... His legs were the best weapon we had all season, and when they went down, we were screwed.
That was basically our season right there.......
So what Happened?
While the D did blow a lot of 4th quarter leads, that was more that they were the very definition of gassed. Not a scheme or personnel thing. The Defense still improved massively. They were not the reason for our failure this year.
You can't preform at your best if your exhausted.
Losing Boldin hurt, but it's not the death wound most people thought it was... It actually helped us a lot come to think of it. It let us retool the defense and become better.
But we as fans were emotional.... We curse Ozzie for being foolish to trade our best WR away.
But if you look at it now, you understand why Ozzie Did it.
Ozzie Newsome understood that we could not win the SB again with the roster we had. The defense almost blew the SB and they were getting older. Ellerbe wasn't worth the $35 Million he asked for, Ed Reed was old, Cary sucked. That team wasn't good enough to win two in a row.
So what did he do? Ozzie blew up the team by making a hard sacrifice to make. He went into a two year rebuilding plan, and traded away our best WR. He used that money to retool the defense that was so much better than 2012's that it's not even funny, and went with the youth movement......
And looking at it, that was the right thing to do. If we had resigned Reed, Ellerbe, and retained Boldin. The defense would probably be getting destroyed, and Flacco would have to throw 50 times a game to come back from behind. Even with a good supporting cast, we have no balance on the offense(which we didn't anyway so it's not like it matters), and while Flacco's stats would be spectacular, we would probably lose 2-3 more games. After the season, we would end up letting Boldin walk, seeing as resigning all three would send the team into cap hell. We would've never gotten Monroe, and chances are the Oline would've been far worse than it already was with Mckinne being there for the full season.
Ozzie made some good calls that hurt us in the short term but help us in the long term. Our defense looks to be good this up and coming season if we get Dayrl back.... Which I think we will. We are not in cap hell, we just can't afford to retain everyone. We would be in cap hell if we had done what the rest of you had wanted.
The other reason that he did this was because of Joe Flacco. He needed to be paid. And some call it the worst contract ever, I call it economics.
Basically, the market dictates your value. If you want to be successful in this world, you have to be skilled. Flacco is pretty skilled, and if we didn't pay him $120 million, I guarantee you that some team with a lot of cap money, desperate for a QB would have. But, and I'll only say this once.
He was worth every penny.
And guess what, so was Rodgers, so was Ryan, so was Romo, so was CUTLER.
Why? All four of these QBs are good enough to win the Big one. You can't win the Big one without a QB.
Two of them already have, both in very impressive fashion.... The only guy that wasn't worth it was Stafford. I don't think he's good enough to win a SB. He's pretty average if you take Megatron away from him.
And because of this we had to let Q go. And the Oline unexpectedly tanked, our starting TE got injured.
To put it in short, we sucked because we got hurt, and Ozzie hit a bad one in the 2012 draft(Gino). Our running game was completely decimated.
We probably make the playoffs if we have a running game. It may be a QB driven league, but the run sets up the passing game. If either fails that is a recipe for disaster. We brought in a run game guru to fix that.
We're a playoff team if we fix the run game. We're a SB caliber team again once we retool the supporting cast for Flacco.
We failed in all honesty because the running game failed. Losing Pitta and Boldin sucked. That's a fact, it just did. But we failed to make the playoffs because we could not run the ball effectively.
Our supporting cast was not terrible, but it wasn't ideal either. It would've been somewhat successful with a run game. But it didn't have one, which is why we were at home.
And by the looks of it, the front office and Harbs understand this as well. They're already on it. And honestly, who gives a crap if John was "forced" to do it. The important thing is that KUBIAK IS HERE.
I don't have the answers, I'm a speculating fan, but if you want the truth on why we failed to make the playoffs again, that's the truth.