"We have a history of retaining our players, especially players that have been productive," Ozzie Newsome said. "But also, we have a history of allowing our players to go out and maximize themselves in the market." (Kevin Richardson)
I think most of these end-of-season news conferences are pretty worthless, especially since the season ended more than six weeks ago. But there was one thing that owner Steve Bisciotti said that should be a major goal for the Ravens in 2015.
The Ravens need to have some playoff games at home. Forget all of this road warrior bravado. They need to get a couple of playoff games at M&T Bank Stadium, where they have been successful and where the home crowd becomes a big advantage.
It's great that the Ravens can travel and win, but it takes a toll playing on the road in Pittsburgh, New England and Denver in the postseason. It would be nice if Tom Brady or Peyton Manning had trouble communicating because of the crowd noise instead of Joe Flacco. The same crowd noise, besides getting the team amped up, is a major advantage for pass rushers like Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.
"I would say that the only blemish on our resume right now as a group sitting up here is that we haven't won our division as much," Bisciotti said. "We probably haven't performed [well enough in the division] as much, which doesn't give us … There's a reason why Joe Flacco has more away game wins in the playoffs than any other quarterback in history, because we keep sending his butt out there on the road. Until we actually win more in our division and start claiming some home games, we're doing something that hasn't really been done, historically, in the NFL, and that's win on the road and win all six of those years -- actually win a playoff game, most of them on the road."
"So, when we're critical of each other, we don't have to go far to look at our failure, and I think it's [division titles], probably. We have to beat Pittsburgh and Cincinnati more consistently, and we have to start claiming that AFC North title before we start looking forward to accomplishing greater things. That's a little bit of a smudge on our resume, and we're well aware of it. Obviously, Ozzie [Newsome] spent years building a team that can beat your division, right? When we took Jamal [Lewis], that's the first thing you said to me when we were drafting Jamal. My first year as a part-owner, it was, 'We need him to beat Pittsburgh and play in the AFC North.' We're aware of that. We need to focus, and we need to succeed at that a little more."