By Matt Vensel
11:44 AM EST, December 18, 2012
This feature appears every week on the Baltimore Sports Blitz. It’s just like “What They’re Saying About the Ravens,” but it includes blogger Matt Vensel saying something about what those people are saying. Got it?
--- Don Banks of Sports Illustrated wonders if the Ravens used up the rest of their magic on 4th-and-29.
“The Ravens are failing every test in December so far, miserably. Baltimore is injury-depleted and grasping for answers on defense, and nothing about last week's firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and the elevation of quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell to the post did anything to fix the team's offensive issues,” he wrote. “In the ultra-successful five-year John Harbaugh coaching era, this is as low as we've ever seen the Ravens plunge.”
Matt’s take: I thought something special was going on with the Ravens after the improbable win over the San Diego Chargers -- some of the guys in the locker room thought that, too -- but it appears that I was wrong. If not for that football miracle, the Ravens would be on a four-game losing streak right now. This is no doubt one of the lowest points of the Harbaugh era, but it’s not his fault. They are past their breaking point with all these injuries.
--- Pete Prisco of CBS Sports says Joe Flacco’s performance Sunday is proof that Cam Cameron wasn’t his problem.
“That move to fire [offensive coordinator] Cam Cameron really paid off for the Ravens,” he wrote. “What changed? Nothing. Joe Flacco still can't show he's an elite passer, no matter the coordinator.”
Matt’s take: Flacco’s performance was not pretty, but I don’t know that you can draw that conclusion from one game, especially when it came against the NFL’s hottest team. Prisco might end up being right -- either way, I’m guessing he already had that conclusion typed up before kickoff -- but I plan on giving Flacco a fair chance, with a full offseason with the team’s new offensive coordinator, before I draw that kind of conclusion.
--- John Eisenberg of BaltimoreRavens.com said that one game against the Denver Broncos isn’t enough to judge Jim Caldwell.
“It’s far too soon to assign the team’s change in offensive coordinators a grade. It obviously wouldn’t be a good one after this, but one game isn’t enough of a sample size. In any case, the change from Cam Cameron to Jim Caldwell certainly didn’t provide the jolt the organization desired,” he wrote.
Matt’s take: Agreed. I know we all want to know for sure whether Cameron or Flacco is to blame for the quarterback’s struggles. But the answers aren’t going to come overnight. Try to give Flacco and Caldwell a chance, at least until season's end.
--- Jamison Hensley of ESPN wonders if Flacco’s pick-six late in the first half will make the Ravens reconsider resigning him.
“While you scratch your head over the play call, Ravens fans were pulling their hair out over the pass. Flacco wanted to throw the fade, but it was slow to develop. Instead, he was late on an out-pattern pass, which even [Chris] Harris said he never expected Flacco to throw,” he wrote. “This isn't the type of play you expect out of a quarterback who has won a playoff game in each of the past four seasons. This is the type of play, however, that makes you wonder whether the Ravens are truly committed to Flacco for the future.”
Matt’s take: I wrote Monday that placing the franchise tag on Flacco may no longer be a formality, but I would be stunned if he wasn’t here in 2013. At the very least, he is an above-average quarterback with oodles of talent and maddening inconsistency, something that at least half the teams in the league wouldn't mind putting up with. The Ravens pretty much have to keep him around for at least one more year to figure out what they have in him -- and what they can ultimately get from him.
--- Clark Judge of CBS Sports says that another win seems improbable right now for the reeling Ravens.
“Do these guys win again? I'm serious,” Judge wrote. “Probably. But that's mostly because Cincinnati remains on the schedule. The Bengals haven't beaten Baltimore and Pittsburgh in nine straight games and were drilled by the Ravens in the season opener. But after watching Denver shred the Ravens 34-17 on Sunday, tell me why anyone should believe this is a team going anywhere when it gets to January. Because it's not.”
Matt’s take: I hate to admit it, but this thought started to cross my mind before the Broncos game, and based on comments from a few of my followers on Twitter, the thought started to cross the minds of some Ravens fans a couple of weeks before that. I would still be surprised if they didn’t find a way to win another game, but I can’t point to one game -- not even Week 17 -- and say with total confidence they will find a way to win.
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