Better than the Monday paper: Ravens draw line in the sand

January 24, 2011 | Drew Forrester

the Ravens can’t beat Roethlisberger.  Cam Cameron didn’t drop that ball in the end zone, Anquan Boldin did.  Cam Cameron is a REASON why the Ravens didn’t win, the same way Greg Mattison, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin, Lardarius Webb, and John Harbaugh were reasons.

If you can’t understand that, then you REALLY don’t understand sports.  I’m sorry if that’s too harsh, but it’s the truth.  No one individual player – in a team sport – is ever responsible for a win or a loss.

All that said, the Ravens have to understand that based on the bar they’ve set, great expectations follow.  If they were 5-11, 6-10 and 8-8 every three years, a 12-4 season and a 2nd round playoff dismissal would be met with a parade downtown.

But it’s not like that in Baltimore.  In the span of 15 seasons, the Ravens have produced a reputation as a contender, a legitimate teach to watch and a championship hopeful.  That’s reality.

So while the Ravens front office might be disappointed with the vitriolic response after the choke job in Pittsburgh, they should be privately pleased as punch that the city cares enough to be THAT angry.  The Orioles haven’t angered the city as a whole in 10 years or so.  No one cares enough to get that angry anymore.  Well, except for me, maybe.  And I’m a nut job.

The Ravens have to understand that fans these days are smarter, wiser, more educated and far, far more “invested” in the team than they were, say, 10 years ago.  They watch the games and opine accordingly.  Sometimes, God forbid, the fans are actually right.  Seven years ago, most of the folks who went to M&T Bank Stadium said “Kyle Boller stinks”.  Turns out they were correct.  So, while the fans shouldn’t really have a say in what moves are made or aren’t made, their opinion on team matters shouldn’t be dismissed “just because” they’re ticket buyers.

But…and this is always hard for them to accept…the fans have to understand that the team’s front office and coaching staff really DOES know more than they do.  Much more.  Times ten.  And even though it’s easy to watch the game(s) and make an assessment on players, coaches, schemes, etc., nearly every single judgement is made post-game, when it’s easy to play armchair quarterback once the result is in.

The Ravens won last week’s fight by a knockout when Bisciotti provided that well-crafted sentence about the team not being willing to sacrifice someone for the sake of the fans.

The fan base wanted blood.  They wanted someone to pay for that epic meltdown in Pittsburgh.  Someone had to be sacrificed, as Bisciotti noted, to soothe everyone’s heavy heart.  It didn’t happen.  And no, John Matsko wasn’t the sacrificial lamb.  He was gone regardless of what happened in Pittsburgh.

People wanted Cam Cameron’s head last week.

Most fans said, prior to the Thursday press conference, “Once Bisciotti meets with Harbaugh, he’ll lay down the law and tell Harbs ‘you’re going to a new offensive coordinator, kid’ and we’ll get what we want as a fan base…which is a new guy calling the offense.”

Wrong.

Steve Bisciotti reminded everyone last Thursday that the fans pay the freight, but that’s where their involvement ends.

It’s John Harbaugh’s team and his coaching staff, a point driven home by Bisciotti’s remarks.

I see both sides.

Clearly.

Both sides have a right to feel the way they do.

Now, the only thing that matters is that the Ravens fix their team.  They need better players on offense.  And they need better players on defense.

If they fix the team, even with Cam Cameron staying on board, will anyone really care HOW they did it?

I know I won’t.

I just want them to beat the Steelers when it counts next year.

And I think the fans are owed that, too.

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