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I almost feel guilty for piling on here. That the Ravens are truly a bad team is obvious. Well, let me amend that. The defense is still better than average, even though it's getting neither the  quarterback pressure nor the turnovers to which Baltimore fans have become accustomed. But injuries have had a lot to do with that and making due with a patched-up secondary continues to hamstring defensive coordinator Rex Ryan.

But, of course, defense isn't the issue, Steve McNair, who has played well and bravely through much of his career, seems to have aged 10 years since the Ravens lost to Indianapolis in the playoffs 10 months ago. When they signed him before the 2006 season, the Ravens thought they were leasing at least an efficient starting quarterback for two, maybe three years. Instead, it was just one.

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Here's the bottom line, folks. That window of opportunity you always hear about, the one that some astute Sun football writers have been warning us is closing?

It appears to have closed. Slammed shut.

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The decision-makers at the Castle have to think hard about whether tinkering with this team, tweaking it here and there, can make it a contender again or whether substantial rebuilding is what's needed.

A lot depends on Kyle Boller. Brian Billick can't put that decision off any longer, obviously. Even Boller's interception, when he replaced McNair in the fourth quarter was a refreshing change of pace. Instead of being stripped of the ball, at least he was firing it into the end zone. He followed that with a touchdown drive that, even if it meant little, at least rescued the Ravens from the embarrassment of a shutout.

The Ravens haven't led in a game since they beat St. Louis back on Oct. 14. Next, they play at home against Cleveland -- a much better team than most people expected. Then, there's a three-game gauntlet of San Diego, New England and Indianapolis. Right now, Baltimore easily could be 4-9 by the time you're doing last-minute holiday shopping and six wins for the season seems about what fans can expect.

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