Baltimore Ravens: What Needs to be Fixed


I had my first rock star moment last night since coming into The Baltimore Wire family and writing about the Baltimore Ravens. After finishing a highly entertaining Dallas Cowboy loss, my girlfriend and I decided to stop for a nightcap with a few friends at Hound Dogs in downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

There I was approached by a gentleman I had met once before years ago who told me he had read two of my articles I tweeted. Once I finally calmed myself from feeling flattered we engaged in a lengthy conversation discussing several teams in the NFL. It’s the little things in life, people.

After a serious talk about the NFC North and AFC North, I realized while a number of my colleagues at the Wire are doing pieces on player evaluations and mid-season reports, I think it’s important we look at the areas the Baltimore Ravens needs improvement most.

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5-3 isn’t a bad start to the 2014 season for the Baltimore Ravens. Still, with a bye in their back pocket, the Ravens look good having capped off the first half of the season.

I’m a little concerned over the recent loss to Cincinnati, as we see the Ravens fall from ninth place to 15th place in the power rankings.

I’ve been praising Joe Flacco for his cannon arm and game management skills, Steve Smith Sr. for defying age and the laws of nature, and the newly vaunted Ravens pass rush which is the best I’ve seen since 2009.

So why 5-3 and not 7-1 or 6-2, as I had projected at the halfway point of the season? What’s lacking here?

Baltimore ranks eighth in the league in rushing (128 yards per game) and 13th in passing (247 yards per game) to have the seventh-best offense in the league. Don’t seem to be too many problems there. Flacco’s seven interceptions and 90 quarterback rating aren’t the greatest numbers, but no cause for alarm.

The Ravens are seventh in rushing yards allowed (90 per game) and 22nd in passing yards allowed (256 per game) to have the 13th ranked defense in the league.

And I think we’ve found our problem.

Giving up the big pass is a major concern for the Ravens. Baltimore has allowed four passes of 40 yards or more, tied with Seattle for most in the league. And with Matt Elam leading the league in missed tackles, it’s clear the Ravens’ safeties are struggling in coverage.

The point was driven home in their 27-24 loss to the Bengals on Sunday when quarterback Andy Dalton connected on a 53-yard pass that rookie safety Terrence Brooks never even gave himself a chance to defend.

The deep ball in critical situations should have Baltimore worried as they head into Pittsburgh this Sunday for a division showdown. Will the Steelers exploit this weakness? Ben Roethlisberger is coming off the best performance of his career after outscoring the No. 1 offense in the league.

The looming cloud of poor coverage still lurks over the Ravens. If this isn’t addressed soon, we are looking at a considerably less successful second half to the 2014 season.