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10 Reasons Why We'll Be Back in the Playoffs Next Year

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Here's my top ten reasons we'll be back in the playoffs next year, in an upwards progressing order or importance.

 

10.) One year removed from losing Raven idols Ray Lewis and Ed Reed

Explanation: If someone told me five years ago we'd be in the playoff race and barely fall short with an 8-8 record the year after we lose both Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, I would have thought that to be a positive. The fact that is followed a Super Bowl victory made it more disappointing in a way, but losing two players like that, especially one who was basically the heart beat of our team, definitely comes with an adjustment period.

 

9.) Young players learning from valuable starting time

Explanation: Players like Elam, Brown, Smith, the other Brown, etc got a lot of good and bad experiences to build upon this year. Hopefully we get a true FS and put Elam in the SS spot where he's more suited. Marlon could be poised for a breakout season next year. And Smith is playing like the shutdown corner he was in college.

 

8.) Hangover will wear off.

Explanation: I'm sure for the players who were retained from that winning roster, they probably thought things were going to pan out differently. I'm not suggesting that they didn't put in their all, but I'm saying nothing prepares you for being at the top and then having to defend that position with everyone gunning at you more than ever.

 

7.) Mediocrity in the AFC

Explanation: The most dominant team in the AFC got blown out in the Super Bowl...nuff said. Eisenberg wrote a good article about it after the Superbowl, and we're poised to make a comeback because we're going to be (see #6)

 

6.) Reinventing our offense

Explanation: I love Joe, but we rarely win when he throws it all over the place. The truth is, he and the rest of the team play better when we're focused on being a physical, wear you out offense that can throw an 80 yard bomb over your heads at a moment's notice. After how bad the running game was last year, I'd be shocked to see Ozzie not target offensive lineman and maybe even a running back in the middle rounds of the draft to put a notice out to Rice and Pierce that nothing is set in stone. But the improvement won't just come from new players, but from our new OC as well

 

5.) Missing playoffs will make our seasoned vets hungry again

Explanation: Well, duh.

 

And as K-dog added: "If any thing I will add to number five and that MOST of the team is pissed about an 8-8 record last year."

 

4.) Hopefully a healthy roster

The most overlooked story last year, largely overshadowed by our underwhelming offense (no run game and Joe being sloppy with the ball), was how many critical injuries we incurred. Jones, Pitta, Dickson, Brown, Rice, and other players missed anywhere from major time to at least a few weeks. Ngata again played hurt all year and Suggs fizzled out after week 10.

 

3.) In Ozzie we trust

 

2.) Softer Schedule, better Draft selection.

Explanation: There's a reason most teams don't make the playoffs five years in a row with three conference final appearances and a Super Bowl win: the league makes it hard. It finally caught up to us, but with the softer schedule and picking below 20 for the first time since the draft that nabbed Flacco and Rice, we're primed for a rebound.

 

1.) Joe Flacco. He had a tough year, but all things considering it could have been worse. Only Rodgers could have stepped in and played better, and that's a fact. Brady could have played better, but not with our coaching staff. Manning would have been injured 3 games in. Brees needs a good running game as much as Flacco does. Nay sayers be gone, Joe Flacco is what he is, and that's a championship caliber qb and I'm sure he's taking this offseason seriously to take time to hone his craft and prove that playoff run wasn't a fluke.

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Here's my top ten reasons we'll be back in the playoffs next year, in an upwards progressing order or importance.

 

 

 

3.) In Ozzie we trust

 

 

ENOUGH SAID.

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I have no argument for the entire post.

 

If any thing I will add to number five and that MOST of the team is pissed about an 8-8 record last year.

 

Too add on, Rice has something to prove.

 

Kubiak wants to hit the ground running.

 

John Harbaugh read the threads here and wants to prove the doubters wrong....

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The truth is, he and the rest of the team play better when we're focused on being a physical, wear you out offense that can throw an 80 yard bomb over your heads at a moment's notice.

 

You think we can beat Seattle by doing that? I say we have a shot. Seattle did not have to honor the deep ball really at all vs. Manning and they anticipated a lot of his routes on the first move. Denver did not use any double moves and Sherman even said that if they did, it would have worked. But Manning might not have had the arm strength anyways, but I think Flacco and Torrey would make them have to honor that deep threat.

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John Harbaugh read the threads here and wants to prove the doubters wrong....

I could see him talking to himself during the OC hiring process. "Hmm, these guys think I hire my buddies all the time huh. Fine, Gary Kubiak should put that to rest."

Forum: "Steve and Ozzie stepped in on that one."

John: "Son of a..."

 

I did like the reason you provided though. :D

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I really believe, that we would've been in the playoffs, if our OL would've atleast played average. If the Ravens OL can back to being mediocre, we're already championship contenders. The ball is in your court Castillo. Better prove Harbs right.

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I have no argument for the entire post.

 

If any thing I will add to number five and that MOST of the team is pissed about an 8-8 record last year.

 

Too add on, Rice has something to prove.

 

Kubiak wants to hit the ground running.

 

John Harbaugh read the threads here and wants to prove the doubters wrong....

 

Good points!

Hopefully Rice has a rebound year, we really missed those 4 & 29 esq plays this year.

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You think we can beat Seattle by doing that? I say we have a shot. Seattle did not have to honor the deep ball really at all vs. Manning and they anticipated a lot of his routes on the first move. Denver did not use any double moves and Sherman even said that if they did, it would have worked. But Manning might not have had the arm strength anyways, but I think Flacco and Torrey would make them have to honor that deep threat.

 

Heck, we almost beat Seattle in their house a few years back.

Granted a lot has changed, but I think stylistically we match up better than the Broncos did. In fact, people who picked the Broncos over the Seahawks really only had one reason: they thought Manning was gonna play out of his mind, and he didn't.

 

Although I certainly didn't predict a blowout to the degree that it happened.

 

To be honest, if the running game was at least average this year, and Joe cut down like 3 of his turnovers, we'd be in the playoffs.

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We also won't carry the title as Super Bowl champions. Teams always give their best against each other but it's different when facing the defending champs.

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Heck, we almost beat Seattle in their house a few years back.

Granted a lot has changed, but I think stylistically we match up better than the Broncos did. In fact, people who picked the Broncos over the Seahawks really only had one reason: they thought Manning was gonna play out of his mind, and he didn't.

 

Although I certainly didn't predict a blowout to the degree that it happened.

 

To be honest, if the running game was at least average this year, and Joe cut down like 3 of his turnovers, we'd be in the playoffs.

 

Exactly, I feel we can get after their front 7 while holding their safeties back with the deep ball and if they creep the safeties up then boom we go over the top with Torrey. We need a good running game to do it but I think that would be our best strategy.

 

Heck if we had an O-line we would be in the playoffs this year. If we fix that, we will be back in it again.

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We also won't carry the title as Super Bowl champions. Teams always give their best against each other but it's different when facing the defending champs.

 

That was a tag in number 8 :)

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Lower expectations = less of a heart break when ravens miss the playoffs at 9-7.  After this past season not sure how the ravens will play in the upcoming season.

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If Castillo fails, someone other than Castillo will be fired.

Yep...pretty much.  Pathetic but true.

 

4.) Hopefully a healthy roster

The most overlooked story last year, largely overshadowed by our underwhelming offense (no run game and Joe being sloppy with the ball), was how many critical injuries we incurred. Jones, Pitta, Dickson, Brown, Rice, and other players missed anywhere from major time to at least a few weeks. Ngata again played hurt all year and Suggs fizzled out after week 10.

Yep...and NFL media lost all credibility the instant they pretended we weren't hampered by injuries.  That's why I'm blaming the "Top 5" QBs for everything going forward.  Two can play the delusional game.

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I understand the optimism but will add a reminder that a few years back an 11-5 record missed the playoffs. I also understand the opinion about the weakness of the AFC but it only takes one season for that to change. I am hopeful that they make playoffs but will not be surprised if it doesn't happen. Besides, we don't even know who will be on the team in September.

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Everyone except Jimmy Smith and Justin Tucker had an off year. Some of it was injuries, some of it was a change in system, some of it could've been Super Bowl hangover. Basically everything went wrong for us in one year - the coaching, the personnel, the injuries (to a degree), the system, the learning curve associated with a heavy roster turnover, the weather (which inhibited our strengths moreso than other offenses), the target of being the Super Bowl champs... We should do better this year because we have a higher draft pick and easier schedule than the talent of our team would indicate. It's the parity effect. Down one year, up another.

 

Unless something crazy happens, like Joe gets hurt or Rice has his legs on backwards and only rushes for negative yards (except for a rare positive gain here and there).

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Rice has his legs on backwards

 

Take a moment out of your day and get the visual on that.  Legs on backwards but running forwards.

 

Seriously funny image right there.

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I understand the optimism but will add a reminder that a few years back an 11-5 record missed the playoffs. I also understand the opinion about the weakness of the AFC but it only takes one season for that to change. I am hopeful that they make playoffs but will not be surprised if it doesn't happen. Besides, we don't even know who will be on the team in September.

 

Exactly!

 

#Mili

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Very well put. I knew 2013 would be a rebuilding season. I was hoping 8-8 or better. We were close on a few games but we weren't making it happen like we were in 2012 season.

 

I'm excited to see what 2014 season has in store for the Ravens!

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Every Super Bowl team after winning seems to have a hangover most of the time. Hopefully the Ravens will be back on top of the throne in 2014! Great points!

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Exactly!

 

#Mili

 

 

I understand the optimism but will add a reminder that a few years back an 11-5 record missed the playoffs. I also understand the opinion about the weakness of the AFC but it only takes one season for that to change. I am hopeful that they make playoffs but will not be surprised if it doesn't happen. Besides, we don't even know who will be on the team in September.

 

 

Lower expectations = less of a heart break when ravens miss the playoffs at 9-7.  After this past season not sure how the ravens will play in the upcoming season.

 

 

We got some work to put in. This season I want no excuses, just get it done.

 

You guys act like we're the Browns or something. Lighten up. 

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A healthy Pierce and Rice duo is what I think the number one reason will be. Joe will put up average numbers but we will get our running game and defense back to playing physical. A solid oline and dline is where it will start. Monroe back and watch out for new comer on the oline from the draft.

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A healthy Pierce and Rice duo is what I think the number one reason will be. Joe will put up average numbers but we will get our running game and defense back to playing physical. A solid oline and dline is where it will start. Monroe back and watch out for new comer on the oline from the draft.

I wholeheartedly agree. Over the past 6 years we have been at our best with a strong running game and a really good defense. Look back and you'll see our passing offense was never ranked in the top half of the league. That isn't going to suddenly change in yr 7 for Joe. He is who his stats say he is as far as being a passer is concerned. But - he can function VERY WELL when he has a strong running game and a healthy Ray Rice.

Also - the loss of Matt Birk was incredibly big. I had no idea how impactful that would turn out to be. I am watching what the Ravens do at the Center position with greater interest than what happens at WR. We need to solidify that OLine or the new receiver won't really matter.

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I wholeheartedly agree. Over the past 6 years we have been at our best with a strong running game and a really good defense. Look back and you'll see our passing offense was never ranked in the top half of the league. That isn't going to suddenly change in yr 7 for Joe. He is who his stats say he is as far as being a passer is concerned. But - he can function VERY WELL when he has a strong running game and a healthy Ray Rice.

Also - the loss of Matt Birk was incredibly big. I had no idea how impactful that would turn out to be. I am watching what the Ravens do at the Center position with greater interest than what happens at WR. We need to solidify that OLine or the new receiver won't really matter.

 

Adding on to this, I think Joe isn't ever gonna be the guy who can just rack up stats throwing it around, but with the right people around him and for the first time a real experienced coordinator, I think he can hit that 30-35 touchdown range, and he's basically got to 4000 yards already. Even if he doesn't, Joe's real strength is that he's a big moment qb. Regular season domination isn't in his DNA, but get him into the tournament and we've seen what he can do. It's not shameful to say Joe needs help. To be honest, we saw how good Manning's 55 regular season touchdowns were in the Superbowl: it means squat. All that matters is playoff wins and rings. Joe is built for getting those because of how cool he is under pressure, and the fact that when he's on he can make any throw, and he's shown time and time again how clutch he is.

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You guys act like we're the Browns or something. Lighten up. 

No but some of the "reasons" seem like excuses for the mediocre year we had. San Fran was in the Super Bowl last year and got a tough schedule but they were back in the NFC Championship game this season. Playing easier teams might help you get to the playoffs, but does it actually prepare you for them? If you beat the good teams, maybe you are more battle tested. I also don't put much stock in the "hangover" theory either. In the 70's, how come the Steelers never suffered that Super Bowl hangover? Lastly, injuries happen to many teams, we suffered a lot last year too, and Seattle had their share this year. You have to win, even with the injuries.

 

I agree with a lot of your points, which may increase our chances (for example some of the younger players getting more playing experience last season and us drafting a little higher this season), but we got work to do. I was disappointed in the play of a few guys last season and IMHO some are better than that. Honestly, I would like to see some more fight this coming season.

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