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No one person or event put the Ravens in this position

It's time for a little perspective here. There isn't one person or area that has put the Ravens into their current position; it's a culmination of things over the years, some beyond their control. There is no need for a massive rebuilding job, not in the modern era of the NFL.

It is panic time in Baltimore with the Ravens.

After five games, the Ravens find themselves in the unusual position of last place in the AFC North, so that means it's firing time, according to some fans. In no specific order, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti needs to dismiss either general manager Ozzie Newsome, or coach John Harbaugh, or defensive coordinator Dean Pees.

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And once that is done, he needs to fire himself.

Oh, yes, that will get it done. Six weeks into the 2015 season, the Ravens need to clean house in one of the NFL's top franchises during the past 20 years.

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It's time for a little perspective here. There isn't one person or area that has put the Ravens into their current position; it's a culmination of things over the years, some beyond their control. There is no need for a massive rebuilding job, not in the modern era of the NFL.

If receivers Steve Smith Sr., tight end Crockett Gillmore and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs played Sunday, the Ravens would have beat the Cleveland Browns. And if the Ravens had one more impact player at receiver or in the secondary, they might have won a couple of more games this season.

But the problem is that they have two impact players on the roster in quarterback Joe Flacco and Smith. Combined with the injuries, there is no margin for error and there have been plenty of mistakes.

No head coach will use injuries as an excuse, but they have played a part in the Ravens disappointing season. Suggs has been out since the first game, and Gillmore has missed the past two. Until Sunday, left tackle Eugene Monroe hadn't played since the first drive in Week 1 and Smith and fellow receiver Michael Campanaro weren't on the field against the Browns.

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Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and cornerback Lardarius Webb missed most of the second half against the Browns, so the Ravens were in a tough situation, even against Cleveland.

Depth is a problem throughout the NFL, which is why there is so much parity, and few quality teams. With so many new faces, the injuries affect the play calling and determine how aggressive a team can be in certain situations.

But the Ravens front office, particularly Newsome, deserves some blame for this 1-4 season. He gambled and re-signed aging players such as defensive tackle Chris Canty and Webb. Both have contributed little.

Newsome signed free agents such as safety Kendrick Lewis and cornerback Kyle Arrington during the offseason, but the Ravens haven't gotten much out of those investments, either. They don't have a shutdown cornerback on the roster, but remember, Harbaugh and Pees had to sign off on Lewis and Arrington, as well.

In the draft, the Ravens haven't selected a Pro Bowl offensive player since they took running back Ray Rice in the second round in 2008. The only defensive player drafted in that time to make a Pro Bowl was inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, a 2014 first-round pick.

Those things keep adding up through the years. And the Ravens' failure to draft and develop quality receivers since the team moved here for the 1996 season have been well-documented.

So on Sunday, that's why you had Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown as starting receivers. In the rotation, the Ravens had Chris Givens and Jeremy Ross.

Who?

That's the point. Receiver Breshad Perriman, the team's top draft pick this year, can't get on the field because of a knee injury and tight end Maxx Williams, the team's second-round pick, has been outplayed by Nick Boyle, the fifth-round selection out of the University of Delaware.

So, it appears this might be time for Newsome to huddle with his top assistants and scouts to develop some different strategies. This team is in need of more impact players and leaders.

But you could see this coming. When a team signs a franchise quarterback, like the Ravens did when they re-signed Flacco in 2013, there is often a drop-off in overall talent, like there was in New Orleans with Drew Brees or in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger. Quarterbacks take up so much cap space, it creates weaknesses in other areas.

The Ravens couldn't get in a bidding war to keep wide receiver Torrey Smith or outside linebacker Pernell McPhee this past offseason. Good players exit, and it takes time to develop or reload.

Add to that the tough early schedule this year, which includes five of seven games on the road, four on the West Coast.

It's just been a poor season. It happens. It is the opposite of 2012, when everything seemed to break right for the Ravens on the way to Super Bowl XLVII. This year, with the exception of Josh Scobee missing two field-goal attempts in Pittsburgh, everything seems to be going wrong, from the excessive amount of penalties and injuries to the lack of impact players.

All you can do is work through it. There are no quick, easy answers.

twitter.com/MikePrestonSun

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