Baltimore Ravens: It’s 2013 All Over Again


Nov 2, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton (11) scores on a forty-seven yard touchdown pass against Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb (21) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens’ offensive line can’t block anybody, their secondary gets burnt consistently, especially in big situations, and there are no answers in sight. The calender reads 2014, but it sure looks like 2013 for the Baltimore Ravens.

In two consecutive weeks, Joe Flacco has looked rattled due to consistent pressure and the lack of a running game. Against the Bengals, the Ravens lost their only competent cornerback, and now they look like they’d have trouble slowing down a Division III team, or worse yet, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Yes, this sure looks like 2013.

The calender reads 2014, but it sure looks like 2013 for the Baltimore Ravens.

The offensive line is the engine that made the Ravens’ offense go the first seven weeks of the season. Without that engine, the Ravens have been lifeless.

There are no excuses for the line. They got no push on multiple third-and-short opportunities the past few weeks. People can complain about the Ravens’ passes on third-and-short, but with the offensive line incapable of providing push, Gary Kubiak doesn’t have much choice.

Coming off an injury, Eugene Monroe looks as stiff and unathletic as Bryant McKinnie did at the start of the season last year. Kelechi Osemele doesn’t look much better now than the hobbled version of himself we saw last year, which is a shame because he looked like a Pro Bowler early in the season. Jeremy Zuttah, who started the season so promisingly, is getting pushed around on a consistent basis just like Gino Gradkowski once did.

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On the plus side, Marshal Yanda is still Marshal Yanda, and Rick Wagner doesn’t get flagged for holding three times a game like Michael Oher did last year.

Defensively, the story is even worse than 2013. The Ravens have no chance to stop anybody with their current secondary. Dominique Franks blows coverages every game, and even when in position, he struggles with the ball in the air. Damian Stewart has the speed of a 1960’s Volkswagen Beetle, and Matt Elam has hit just as hard as one, having missed double-digit tackles this season.

Is there hope?

Offensively, I don’t see why not. If the offensive line regains its early season form, the whole unit will function significantly better. Flacco will be less flustered and thus make fewer mistakes, the running game will open up the play-action passing game and Justin Forsett could go back to making defenders look like matadors. As Monroe and Osemele heal up, this unit should improve.

Defensively, let’s keep it brief. No. No, there is not hope for this defense. Even with Jimmy Smith, the Ravens are so bad at defending the pass that they will never be an above-average stop unit.

As the Ravens racked up wins earlier in the year, I wondered to myself if this could be a Super Bowl contending team. The conclusion I eventually came to was that the Ravens could be, but the secondary needs to step up. That hasn’t happened, and other units have only regressed.

The last time I chalked up a season as lost, the Ravens won a Super Bowl. Hopefully, they prove me wrong yet again. They have to escape the spectre of 2013, though, before that can happen.