A quarter of the 2015 NFL season is in and things already look bleak for the Baltimore Ravens. At 1-4, this is the worst start in franchise history. With the Cincinnati Bengals sitting pretty at 5-0 and the Pittsburgh Steelers two games ahead in a wild-card chase, the demise of the Ravens seems all but certain. Baltimore faces a myriad of problems, maybe the most they’ve had in team history which has led to thus far the worst outing in the John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco era.
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First thing’s first: poor Flacco. Even you’re a Ravens hater (I don’t know why you’d be reading this if you were), you can’t help but sympathize with Flacco. He has ZERO healthy targets. Not one. That Steve Smith gravy train was fun while it lasted. Back fractures have sidelined the 36-year old future Hall of Famer for quite possibly the rest of his entire last season in the league. Not the way we all wanted to see Smith go.
Thank goodness for Justin Forsett taking on an even heavier burden and effectively carrying this team. And my fantasy football team appreciates you as well. The starting running back, who turns 30 today, has double his rushing production in the lack of receivers piling up 150 yards against Pittsburgh and 121 against Cleveland. But even so, the Ravens will not survive with this formula.
Next, the defense. Oh man, this defense. You know, when you’ve been spoiled as a fan by your team playing top tier defense season after season, this defense is the stuff that breaks hearts. Or crushes, that might be the more appropriate term. Easily the worst defense in Ravens history, and last week’s showing against Cleveland was evidence as Browns quarterback Josh McCown ripped the Ravens secondary for 457 yards. I’m not sure if I’m watching the Giants or not sometimes.
It still hasn’t been over stated that we miss Terrell Suggs and badly. The biggest hole in this defense comes in the absence of the NFL’s most versatile linebacker. We weren’t too scared when Baltimore dealt away Haloti Ngata because we still had the edge rushing of T-Sizzle and Doom. The double teams Elvis Dumervil is currently seeing has him missing this team’s defensive leader the most.
This isn’t a team we’re used to seeing in last place. But are the Ravens really this bad? Is the season doomed? Well no, not exactly. Remember this is a team that historically drafts well, makes sound decisions, and develops talent. Every team goes through the phase of old age and turnover in the roster and the Ravens are still in transition after their second Super Bowl winning season. Ravens fans will simply have to weather the storm.
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