With two games remaining in the season, the Ravens are starting to chirp about the playoffs and winning a Super Bowl. They are starting to talk about having a dominating defense and a multifaceted offense.
But it's Christmas morning, and the new year is almost upon us. It's time to look ahead and feel good about oneself. So, while the Ravens are close to making the playoffs this season, they'll definitely make it next season if Santa Claus delivered some much-needed gifts this morning.
Below is my wish list for the Ravens:
For general manager Ozzie Newsome: Better free-agent acquisitions in 2010. This past group was like getting a piece of coal in your stocking. Bah, humbug. L.J. Smith? Come on, man.
For coach John Harbaugh: A smaller doghouse. The Ravens have had so many players in there the past two seasons, it's a wonder they had enough on the field. It's one thing to be tough, but let's not get ridiculous.
For quarterback Joe Flacco: A big, fast wide receiver and the ability to step up or to the side in the pocket. At this point, Flacco still lacks a very natural part of the game in becoming a great QB.
For wide receiver Derrick Mason: An Oscar. After seeing him make the big catch against Detroit and then watching him hold his chest, keel over, die, come back to life and then sign autographs, there's not a better performer on the Ravens.
For inside linebacker Ray Lewis: Just be yourself. All this kissing and touching players takes away from Lewis' credibility. The real Ray is a cool dude with a huge heart. The other Ray is a made-for-TV special.
For outside linebacker-defensive end Terrell Suggs: More sacks. The Ravens didn't give him a $63 million contract for nothing.
For fullback Le'Ron McClain: More carries. He has the ability to dominate a game, especially in the fourth quarter when other teams get tired.
For tight end Todd Heap and running back Willis McGahee: New teams next season and expanded roles. Both these guys still have some juice left.
For safety Ed Reed: Good health the rest of the season and for life after football.
For defensive tackle Kelly Gregg: Another season in a Ravens uniform. With another strong offseason, that knee should be fully healed next year.
For defensive end Trevor Pryce: Continued success. This appears to be the last season for Pryce as a Raven, but he is one classy player. The NFL might want to hire him as a consultant for young players.
For inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe: Improved pass-coverage skills. Ellerbe, though, is getting better.
For cornerback Lardarius Webb: A speedy recovery. In a short time, he has brought a lot of excitement to Baltimore.
For defensive coordinator Greg Mattison: More creative schemes. Mattison has come up with some new wrinkles since early in the season, but he'll have to add some more, especially if the Ravens reach the postseason. But at least he has silenced some of his critics.
For offensive coordinator Cam Cameron: A map. Because he spent time in San Diego and Miami, Cameron seems to forget that the weather gets nasty around here in the winter. That's even more reason to run the football.
For special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg: A punt and kickoff returner he can call his own.
For quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson: A job as an offensive coordinator. He has paid his dues over and over again.
For trainer Bill Tessendorf and equipment manager Ed Carroll: Some recognition. These guys have been around so long and are so good that they are often taken for granted.
For former Ravens coach Brian Billick: A spot in the Ravens' Ring of Honor. There is little doubt he belongs with this special group.
And for Jamison, Ed and Kenny: A merry Christmas and a happy new year.