Thursday, October 11, 2007

AIRHEADS: Is All Ok With the Ravens or do They Need a Balancing Act?

Now and Zin, by Mark Zinno, ESPN1300

I have listened all this week about the Ravens offense. They can’t score in the red zone. Field goals aren’t enough. Steve McNair is hurt. We should start Kyle Boller. (Which I’d never thought I’d hear in this city!) And maybe some of this is true … heck, I can’t really make many arguments against it, but the question that remains to me is, why are people shocked???? This is a Ravens team that hasn’t averaged more than 24 points a game in any of the last seven years since they won it all. That 24 points per game came in 2003, when they won the AFC North crown. Last year when they won the division again, they scored 22 per game. All the previous years were less than 20 per game.

Does that mean that over 20 points a game equals a division title? Maybe. But what it doesn’t mean is that this team needs an offense to win. They need a defense to win … and they have that! A pretty good one that only gives up 66 yards per game on the ground. The Ravens don’t need to light up the scoreboard to win and be successful. They have to use their most reliable weapon, Matt Stover, to give them leads and let their defense win the ball game. I don’t know any Ravens fan who would choose the offense to go down the field to score a touchdown in the waning minutes of a game, rather than place the defense on the field to defend the end zone against another team. I would certainly choose the latter. History has told me that formula is a winner, not the other way around.

Look at the big picture. The Ravens have two very winnable games in the next two weeks. They have a chance to hit the bye 5-2 and a maximum only two games behind the AFC’s best team. None of that is bad! It’s time to focus on Ravens football and just winning games with defense. The offense will do what they need to do to help out along the way, but Ravens football has always been marked by defense. Is there a reason to change now?

You've Heard the Here's the Conn, by Jeremy Conn, ESPN 1300

After watching these past two weeks, the offense has worried me. I am not a Boller fan, but I have said if McNair is not healthy Boller should be playing. In my last blog I talked about how important it is to win early in the season, because the games in the second half get much more difficult. If the Ravens are going to the playoffs or to the Super Bowl, it will be McNair leading them.

Sure the defense was spectacular last week, and they will only get better with Trevor Pryce coming back. But you can’t always rely on the defense. You need a well oiled machine on both sides of the ball. The Ravens utterly dominated the 49ers, but still they were a Joe Nedney missed field goal away from losing.

Trent Dilfer had 8 yards passing in the first half.....8 FREAKING YARDS!!!!!! Somehow you still manage to win by only 2 points against the worst ranked offense in the league. I’ve said anyway you can get a win on the road in the NFL, I’ll take it. But I am worried about this offense. You only have to look back to last year when the defense held the vaunted Colts offense to five field goals to go with along with 3 fumbles by the Ravens that were lost. When you start playing top level competition, you will need defense AND offense to go hand and hand, to pull out victories.

So in my opinion, let McNair rest and put "JESUS IN CLEATS" in the ball game. Could a QB controversy start?....SURE... But if you watched this team last year, you would know if you are going to win it all, Steve McNair will be your starting QB. I think the Ravens will destroy the Rams this week. Lots of McGahee and a solid defense will lead them to a runaway win.

Maybe that will give them some confidence on the offensive side. Ravens 33-10.


Harryos29 said...

Mark and Jeremy,
Excellent Blog. I've written to LTRS TO TL til I'm Blue in the Face about this subject. I'm 63 years old and my dad started taking me to COLT games in 1957. That was when Baltimore knew what REAL OFFENSE Was.
I still say Billick is running Scared; of what? I don't know. If you play it too close to the VEST: you will loose sooner or later. I don't know who shouted BOO when Joe Nedney began to swing his leg...but that early Halloween trick got us one win.
Lets try something Different this week..something that has been sorely missing: A TOUCHDOWN PASS
Harry O 29

Frank Henneman said...

Billick does not play to WIN; he plays not to lose!

That explains why:
1 - He runs very laid-back, non-contact Training Camps.
2 - He plays his 1st string players very little in all the Pre-season Games.
3 - His passing game is built around very short, conservative passes of 2-5 yards.
4 - Willis McGahee is not allowed to run more often.
5 - The Ravens offense scores Field-goals, instead of Touchdowns!
6 - The Ravens shut down their offense....when they are winning a game!
7 - The Ravens "always under-perform"......and never beat the odds!

Go Ravens!