Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ravens Have a Simple Plan to get Back on Track

While Brian Billick spins his tales with the hope that they somehow mask the team’s problems, the players are acutely aware of what they need to do to right their purple vessel that is seemingly suffering from a malfunctioning rudder.

But the corrections won’t happen overnight. The problems won’t magically disappear when Billick and his troops step foot upon the hallowed grounds of the stadium formerly known as Candlestick Park. The ghost of Bill Walsh will not descend upon Billick’s pizza box play chart and illuminate the correct play to call.

What the team is hoping to do is correct their flaws over the course of the next three games and beat each of their suspect opponents enabling them to head into the bye at 5-2 and no worse than a game back of the Steelers. That is a simple and sensible plan.

The next three opponents are the 49ers, Rams and Bills who on offense rank 32nd, 29th and 31st respectively. On defense these three teams also reside with the bottom feeders with respective rankings of 20th, 24th, and 32nd.

And as inviting as that appears to a team like the Ravens with their fair share of flesh wounds, the team recognizes that it’s important for them to adhere to the age old cliché, “one game at a time.”

“This is a must win”, said Bart Scott when discussing this Sunday’s game against the 49ers. “We recognize that a win in October is equally as important as one in December.”

The wins in December will be much more difficult to come by – just take a look at the schedule.

For those that believe that the schedule makers were unkind to the Ravens, you’d better think again. The way the team is struggling this schedule is nothing short of a gift from above. A record of 5-2 heading into the October 28 bye would place the Ravens on par with the ’06 season.

The time, experience and hopeful wins leading up to the bye will allow the maturation process of the young offensive line to unfold paving the way for them to mesh even more as a unit. The time will provide for the further development of Antwan Barnes who has shown flashes of promise as a speed rusher. And of course the time will help Trevor Pryce, Jonathan Ogden and to a lesser degree Steve McNair and Samari Rolle to heal.

With a slightly more seasoned Barnes and the return of Pryce, Terrell Suggs will be set free from his sentence of constant double teaming. Suddenly a rather dormant pass rush might pack a punch once again.

On offense J.O.’s possible return and the valuable experience gained by his younger colleagues might help to open the team’s playbook more and it could translate into greater red zone efficiency.

And wouldn’t the possible aligning of these developments come together at the most perfectly dramatic and opportune time – under the bright lights of Monday Night Football on November 5 in Pittburgh against the Steelers for the divisional lead.

That’s the plan, one game at a time.

And it starts against Trent Dilfer and the 49ers on Sunday.

Bart Scott is right, this is a must win.

If the Ravens can’t take down their 35 year old former teammate who has a 61.6 quarterback rating over the course of the six seasons since he left Baltimore and who happens to be guiding the worst offense in football, then the Ravens really don’t deserve much this season now do they?

Win Sunday and let the plan unfold.

Lose Sunday and watch the season unfold.

It’s really that simple.


Anonymous said...

It's really that simple, huh?


Mike Riskin said...

I am hopful that we can go 5-2 into the BYE. I will say this, if we can't than we don't deserve to be in the playoffs... I just pray that Billick uses WillyMac, and Musa until their legs fall off. The best remedy for McNairs ailing arm and groin is a healthy dose of "Don't pass". Maybe we can even see a stretch play, or a pitch out? Boy, that'd be nice. I often wonder why Billick carries such a large playbook, when we really only see a few plays... none of whch have been fooling defenses at all. I hate to be the nay-sayer all of the time, but we are used to winning on Defense, and managing the game on Offense, and we are clearly well past that time here in Baltimore.. It is time to run the ball 15 different ways, take the big shots, and use playaction effectively (i.e. NOT on 1st down evertime!) For us to win and beat the Colts and Pats we need an offense, and we can no longer rely on Ray and the D to bail us out.....

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29
5-2 seems like such a dream, with what we have seen so far in 2007. However, if Billick will only Open up the Offense; and I don't mean turn into Dayrle Lamonica of the Old Raiders.. the "MAD BOMBER" of the 60's... We will have a chance to win. Common sense says that, when one part of the team is not working, then the other parts need to step up. I hear all of this "WE ARE NOT BUILT TO THROW THE BALL DEEP".. I say Bull; Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams can go get "IT" with the best of them,,given the Chance.
Come on, Brian... Give them the Ball.
Harry O 29