"A win is a win."
Boy, am I tired of hearing that one. The Ravens barely hung on to beat the woeful 49ers Sunday, and it is better than a loss. But it's about time to see some improvement. That's what disturbs me about the Ravens. After five games, they don't look much better.
People can point to the injuries, but that's really no excuse. Even with Jonathan Ogden and Todd Heap in the lineup through the years, this team has struggled to score in the red zone. Do you really think cornerback Samari Rolle significantly improves the secondary? Well, he didn't last year, and he is a year older.
The season is still young, and you don't want to see the team peak too early, but you'd like to see some gradual improvement. With the exception of the offensive line, the Ravens continue to struggle in the same areas.
There are still doubts about the ability of quarterback Steve McNair. He hasn't played well in the last six games dating back to last year, and the secondary is suspect. The Ravens have run up a lot of yardage on teams with sorry defenses, but still can't score inside the red zone. What's going to happen when they play the Patriots, Colts, Chargers and Steelers? They're going to have to manufacture some touchdowns, not just field goals.
The 49ers are terrible. Coach Mike Nolan wouldn't let quarterback Trent Dilfer throw downfileld, and rightfully so. He has no speed on the outside with his receivers. Shoot, I can outrun them. And two of the 49ers' starting defensive linemen are Ravens' rejects.
I know, I know. It's great to be able to go to the West Coast and pull one out. Yada, yada, yada...That's great if you're an average team, but the Ravens billed themselves as one of the league's elite. They said they put more "explosive" plays in the offense, and I've seen water guns with more pop and fizzle.
Championship-caliber teams mash opponents like the 49ers, and so far we haven't seen that killer instinct from the Ravens. Right now, they appear to be an average team and stuck.