Sure, offseason additions have been key in turning a suspect unit into one of the NFL's best. But nothing has contributed more to the re-emergence of the Ravens 'D' than getting back their disruptive man in the middle.
A year after he set numerous NCAA records, garnered a groundswell of support for college football's highest individual honor and finished leading Navy to an unprecedented run of success, Keenan Reynolds is working on his skill set in near anonymity.
Having already served a four-game suspension to end his rookie season, Ravens tight end Nick Boyle will now be banned for the first 10 games in 2016 after again being found in violation of the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Ravens rookie outside linebacker Za¿Darius Smith is being credited with getting a hand on Jacksonville kicker Jason Myers¿ 26-yard field goal miss on Sunday, at least within the team facility in Owings Mills.
With 10 interceptions through nine games, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is on pace to throw 18 picks for the season, which would be eight more than he threw last season and the second most that he's thrown in his career.
Top league officials might ignore some of the issues because the NFL is a money-making monster gobbling up billions every year, but the on-the-field product has dropped in quality. A lot of games have lost appeal. Officiating has been horrendous and seems to get worse every week. Injuries continue to mount, especially to star players who are disappearing as fast as the fundamentals.
If you watch the Ravens long enough during this 2015 season, you'll inevitably get a reminder of why a season that once held such most promise has dissolved into one of the most disappointing years in franchise history.
It's mistake after mistakes after mistake. Even until the end, when the Ravens couldn't connect on a last-second pass in the back of the end zone.There is still the strong criticism that this team lacks playmakers and that's true. But that was only part of the problem in the Ravens' 26-18 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
For the first time all season, the Ravens scored on their first drive. But they needed to settle for a field goal by Justin Tucker rather than a touchdown partly because of a curious call by referee Ronald Torbert.
There's seemingly no surefire recipe for success in building an NFL secondary, but one thing could become abundantly clear when the Ravens face the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have found a formula that works for them, while the Ravens haven't.