Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ravens' fans raise bar of expectation?


After a poor showing during the preseason games Ravens’ fans lowered their collective bar of expectation for the 2008 season. The bar’s level was also influenced by a national media that holds little hope for the Ravens this year. But as we’ve learned things change quickly in the NFL and hopes can be dashed at the same time expectations can soar particularly under the microscope of Week 1 of the NFL season. Just ask the New England Patriots and New York Jets.

Realistic expectations for the Ravens are probably not much different today than they were back in April after the draft. While improving and certainly building towards the future, the Ravens are somewhere between a 5 win team on the low side and a 9 win team on the top side. However should they stay healthy, the 2008 version of the Ravens could be similar to the surprising 2003 squad.

Back then rookie Kyle Boller coupled with Anthony Wright helped direct the Ravens to a 10-6 finish and their first divisional crown. Yet as we all know, most of the credit for that title belongs to Mike Nolan’s defense led by DPOY Ray Lewis. If Rex Ryan’s ’08 defense can stay relatively injury free and perform like the ’03 defensive squad, the Ravens could have another rookie quarterback help guide them to a divisional title, particularly when you consider the talent around him versus the 2003 squad. But with an aging defense that features six starters in the 30+ club (Pryce, Reed, Rolle, McAlister, Lewis & Gregg) a clean bill of health throughout the season is a long shot.

And while we are on the topic of long shots, do you think Marvin Lewis will survive this season in Cincinnati? His team did not look prepared and they seem to be on the verge of an implosion. And sorry Marv, you have to take that field goal in the fourth quarter against the Ravens. That score makes it 17-13 and suddenly you’ve turned up the heat on a rookie quarterback who then would have had to respond. After all isn’t that usually the game plan against green QB’s? You had a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and you blew it! When Bengals’ owner Mike Brown decided to bring Chris Henry back despite Lewis’ public statements to do just the opposite, it was clear then that the former Ravens’ D-Coordinator was skating on thin ice. The thaw continues for Lewis.
Photo by Sabina Moran

7 comments :

Anonymous said...

Pretty funny considering you were leading the "we suck and will win 4 games" charge all preseason. As for Cameron, I've been one of Billick's biggest defenders but I never understood the ridiculous mindset of "our defense is great so let's not screw it up on O". Shouldn't a great D allow you to take MORE chances on O knowing they're there back you up?

Eric

Anonymous said...

this is a team littered with young talent...grubbs, brown, yanda, gaither, flacco, rice, mcclain, ngata, barnes, landry, figurs to name just the obvious. heck, even players that i've written off, derek martin and adam terry seem to be playing well now.... newsome takes a lot of flack but his last four drafts have paid dividends (except for cody, chester, and david pitiful). If the core veterans stay healthy, this is a team that is built to improve over the course of the season and beyond.

Tony Lombardi said...

Eric,

Let's see if you can man up and put your money where your mouth is...find any piece on this site where I suggested 4 wins or give me a sound bite where I even suggested it. While I doubted my initial prediction of 7 wins after a rather horrific preseason littered with injuries real and imagined, don't put words in my mouth!

So I challenge you to find/prove where I said or wrote what you suggest and if you do, I'll get you a pair of tickets to a Ravens game on me. I'll give you a couple of days to search the site. And being a man of your word I'm sure that if you accept this little friendly wager and fail to provide what you allege, you will happily meet me with a pair of tickets of your own.

And when I win the bet, I will happily donate those tickets to a local charity.

That said, I'm in agreement with you on taking more chances when supported by a great defense.

Anonymous said...

actually, i thought tony was one of the more optimistic gloom and doomers all off-season. particularly during his insightful descriptions of the all the positive changes regarding the coaching, practices, etc.

Anonymous said...

My expectations went from 3-4 wins to possibly 5-7 wins.

Anonymous said...

Tony
I've got 2 tix for this week. If the hurricane hits they're all yours! As for your "semantics" you doubting your 7 wins prediction didn't sound like a change to six to me. It sounded clear to me to mean four or five.I challenge anybody to read your columns during the preseason and tell me you still sounded optimistic we would win 6 or 7 games. If so I'll gladly get on the short bus and go back to get my reading comprehension skills fixed.

Eric

Anonymous said...

For me...I had the Ravens as one of the 5 worst teams in the NFL heading out of the preseason. Now, I'd say they're probably among the 10 worst teams in the NFL. But a lot of that hinges on how well Joe Flacco continues to progress; how many injuries pile up over the course of the season; and how well Rex Ryan manages the defensive schemes.

(Just as an aside...every time Tony posts something on this blog, a security warning about secure/non-secure info pops up. Why is that?)