The announcement that John Harbaugh will be back as Ravens head coach came at 7 p.m. and apparently caught a number of coaches and team officials off guard. Maybe it would have been better if owner Steve Bisciotti would have tweeted it out.
Five years ago, the Ravens completed a remarkable playoff run that capped the careers of some of the franchise’s greatest stars and seemed to seal the legacies of coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco. But their attempts to reload for another run have not gone as planned.
It has been 15 years since the Ravens won their first Super Bowl. They won another in 2012, which is remarkable for a franchise that has been in existence for only 20 years. Often there are questions about which team is better, but maybe they can be tied into one. Can Ray Lewis of the 2000 team beat Ray Lewis of the 2012 squad?
The Ravens haven't played a good, complete game yet in 2015. A lot of people will point to the high number of injuries as the main reason for the 3-7 record, but that's just a convenient excuse. This team has to address a lot of internal problems in the future.
When coach John Harbaugh said earlier in the week that the Ravens' needed their offensive tackles to play better, it was affirmation of something that James Hurst already knew. Hurst replaced Eugene Monroe at left tackle early in last Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos and he struggled to block DeMarcus Ware, allowing seven quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. Ravens right tackle Rick Wagner had similar problems on the other side dealing with Von Miller.
Former Ravens safety Bernard Pollard, who now plays in Tennessee, had some thoughts on Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel flipping the middle finger to the Washington sideline last night on ESPN, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
"The Ravens aren't cheap," said Joel Corry, a former NFL agent who writes about the business of football for National Football Post. Now the team must face several complicated personnel and financial decisions.
The Ravens and New England Patriots have been on a collision course since last January, when the Ravens got revenge against their conference rivals en route to the Super Bowl. High-stakes games have defined this budding rivalry.
Although the Ravens left little doubt that quarterback Joe Flacco will line up Sunday against the New England Patriots despite an minor sprained left knee, he won¿t do so without taking a precautionary measure. A magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed that Flacco suffered a low-grade sprain of his medial collateral ligament, according to a source. Consequently, Flacco will wear a protective brace on his knee Sunday for the first time in his NFL career after being fitted for the equipment and started using it Wednesday during a light workout where he wasn¿t limping noticeably.
There will be a lot of talk about safeties this week with Ed Reed returning to Baltimore, Matt Elam earning a starting spot for the Ravens and Michael Huff trying to contribute off the bench. One player who probably won't be mentioned much is strong safety James Ihedigbo. But through two games, Ihedigbo has been a steady presence for the Ravens secondary.
Players described Pees as using his usual low-key tone during a defensive meeting following the Ravens' 49-27 season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos. But Pees had little difficulty finding plenty to correct for a defense that surrendered seven touchdown passes to Peyton Manning as he tied an NFL record.
As an encore, Flacco, who racked up team accomplishments since his rookie season in 2008, wants to take his individual game to the next level this season. It won't be easy with increased expectations and the loss of two of his favorite receivers. But if anyone can shrug off all this pressure, it's Flacco.
However, to some outside the organization, there remains a lingering question about how the Ravens will react on the field when things inevitably go wrong, when momentum shifts away and motivation is needed. That's where Lewis and Reed did some of their best work over the years.
With a formidable pair of edge rushers in Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, nose tackle Haloti Ngata and a handful of other pass rushers, the Baltimore Ravens appear to have what it takes to harass quarterbacks. But time won't be on their side Thursday night against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.