After listening to several members of the Ravens front office, including owner Steve Bisciotti, it seemed as if the team had a winning season instead of losing 11 of 16 games.

They made it appear as if everything was fine. The Ravens had a continuity theme and they were united on all fronts. Bisciotti even said he liked coach John Harbaugh today as much as he did eight years ago. Even though it was cold everywhere else in the state, the sun was shining over The Castle.


There were no ultimatums or idle threats. If I didn't know better, I'd think the Ravens were headed off to a wild-card playoff game instead of spending the day putting out such positive spin.

Actually, I agree with the owner. I wouldn't make many major changes either, not with a general manager and coach who have been to the playoffs in six of the past eight years.

But this group can't have another season like this, or there will be a shake-up. In fact, I still believe there will be some new additions to the coaching staff, but Bisciotti couldn't come out with a hard-line message Thursday because it would be similar to the one he put out two years ago. It wouldn't carry the same weight.

"Disappointed, yes. Mad, no," Bisciotti said about the 2015 season.

Right. We all know better. Bisciotti is an emotional, competitive man who can be impulsive at times. The Ravens have now failed to make the playoffs in two of the past three seasons. The annual "State of the Ravens" address is usually at least one to two weeks after the season, but they had to have this one early to quiet Ravens Nation.

And that's exactly what Bisciotti did. He gave them peace before any possible storm.

"One thing that I'm proud of is that we all view continuity as a strength," Bisciotti said. "Continuity doesn't stem from laziness. It comes from confidence. If you look through the league, the teams that have won since John came here — Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Packers, Patriots, Seahawks — they have the same people running the show."

He's right. Continuity is a key and if winners don't prove that theory, then just look at traditional losers like the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who seem to change coaches and general managers every season.

Overall, Harbaugh has done a good job here with a 77-51 record. He has played in three AFC title games and won the Super Bowl XLVII title. Newsome is regarded by many as the best general manager in the NFL even though some believe he has lost his fastball because he has drafted only one Pro Bowl player since 2008.

But with success comes capital and Newsome and Harbaugh have earned a reprieve, even though it's the second in three years. Bisciotti said the team will remain status quo in the way it does business and Harbaugh said there will be no changes on the coaching staff.

But that is still subject to change. Top team officials will meet again the Jan. 15 weekend at Bisciotti's home in Jupiter, Fla. It was at those meetings in 2013 where team officials took away some of Harbaugh's power as far as being involved in personnel decisions.

Everything can't remain status quo for a team that finished 5-11. But as for now, Marc Trestman will coordinate the offense and Dean Pees the defense again. Overall, Trestman did a decent job even though he could have been more committed to the run. The Ravens were ranked No. 14 in overall yards, averaging 359.3 per game, which is impressive considering they didn't have big-play receiver or a breakaway running back.

On defense, Pees put together a unit that was ranked No. 25 at the midway point of the season but finished No. 8 overall. The Ravens have a good front seven and can build around that group, but the secondary is still suspect. The Ravens still need to find better coaches for these players.

Newsome acknowledged the lack of playmakers at wide receiver Thursday, but didn't accept any accountability. But that wasn't part of the script. It was rose-petal day.


"You need to have some players that when the game is on the line, they have the ability to make a play," Newsome said. "We will be trying to add some of that to our team, but a lot of that can be done through development."

The Ravens have yet to ever develop a top No. 1 receiver. Bisciotti also talked about getting pass rushers for the 2016 season. That should be the No. 1 priority this offseason.

It's apparent that Harbaugh and Newsome had spoken with Bisciotti, and he bought into what they were selling, which is why he attempted to explain why the Ravens missed Terrell Suggs so much. According to Bisciotti, if Suggs had played he would have made the linebackers and secondary better in coverage.


Warning to owner: Don't buy into the injury stuff.

Suggs played last year and teams still threw over the middle against linebackers C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith because they didn't get enough depth in their drops. With Suggs in the lineup the previous two years, cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb still had problems finding the ball.

As far as improving the present secondary, Newsome said the best move was to shift Webb to safety. He wasn't kidding. He also said the Ravens might be tight against the salary cap this season because they signed guard Marshal Yanda, Jimmy Smith and punter Sam Koch within the last year.

Newsome's motto of "right player, right price," will still be in place.

Maybe that's a good thing. Or maybe in the immediate future Bisciotti might ask Newsome, which I didn't get a second chance to do Thursday, why this team hasn't had a lot of success in recent drafts. Or maybe the Ravens might add another scout or two in an effort to find better offensive players, or maybe they might play to their past strength of drafting defensive players.

Regardless, if those questions were asked Thursday, the Ravens would have had a unified front. All of them stayed on an even keel. There wasn't a sense of panic, not even a slight sense of urgency.

But over at The Castle, they all know better. There are only 32 NFL owners, and they form a nice little boys club. Some of them are in the business for money, but Bisciotti loves to win, too. He didn't deliver a tough message Thursday, but he didn't need to.

Losing is unacceptable.

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