Ravens Need A Leader

January 05, 2014 | Tom Federline

The City of Baltimore and Ravens fans were spoiled. We have been spoiled since the Ravens came to town and Game One of September 1996. The guy that secured the middle linebacker position and posed as a motivational speaker for 17 seasons, spoiled us. You are not going to replace a Ray Lewis in one year. You are not going to replace a Ray Lewis in two years. Ray can be replaced, everyone is replaceable. It’s a matter of who and how the team adapts to their approach. What seperates leaders from the average person is communication, passion and the ability to reach a performance level that 99% of the population simply cannot attain. There just aren’t that many Ray Lewis’ out there. So Ravens don’t lose him.

Now Ray-Ray wasn’t running solo in providing the leadership role on the field. He had a little help along the way. How about starting with Art Modell. Then how about some other notable teammates; Jonathan Ogden, Matt Stover, Micheal McCrary, Ed Reed, Matt Birk, Derek Mason, etc. Feel free to add to the list. Did anyone see any consistent leadership qualities from any current Raven on the field this year? How about the sidelines? How about up in the Owners Suite? The Ravens use to have leaders, they all gone.

Week by week it became more apparent – no one was going to step up and take the reigns Ray Lewis had left on the wagon. You would think at the very least, the coach would attempt to take command. Yeah right. You would think at the very least, the rewarded 20 million dollar per year quarterback, would step up into that role. Flacco is a winner, he is not a leader. You would think that in the year following a championship season, there would be player candidates graciously accepting a move into that role. Yeah right. Most of the Ravens games this past year were embarassing. The Ravens finished 8 – 8 and in my book, they should have been 3 – 13. Nice way to follow up a Super Bowl win, huh?

Did they actually, beat any team this year? I can think of one. And really up unitl 2:30 left in the first half, that game was typically sloppy and up for grabs. The Ravens finished that game by beating the Houston Texans, Game 3 of the season, 30 – 9. Luckily, I was there to witness it. It just so happened Ray Lewis was in the house, also. It was Ray Lewis Day – he was getting inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor. Hmmmmm, convincing win with Ray in the house – interesting. The Ravens were a mediocre to poor team this year. After getting fed up watching the Ravens ineptness, I would turn the station and witness the majority of other NFL teams actually moving the ball with confidence and wondering to myself – Why can’t the Ravens do that?

The Ravens year of 2013 was definately a ride of “Good Times/Bad Times” – Led Zepplin). 2013 started off “Good”, but ended up “Bad”. The Super Bowl Run/Ray Lewis’ last ride, was better than good – it was awesome. The 2013 regular season was challenging to watch. They were lucky to survive without losing face. Actually they did lose face, right out of the gates – Game 1 vs. Denver. The season was a bust. Thirty-three minutes of the Texans game and two minutes five seconds of a Vikings snow game. The rest, was a waste of time. There were some positives: Justin Tucker, Marlon Brown, Justin Tucker, Daryl Smith, Justin Tucker, Jacoby Jones, Justin…..ok, dig the reoccuring theme? The kicker was as close as the Ravens got to a Leader.

Ok, you win the Super Bowl and the team gets dismantled. So who do you rely on? Front office? Yes, do your job and replenish. Coaches? Yes, that should go without saying. Did any of that happen? No. The Front office blows it, recogmize and correct next year. The Coach doesn’t step up – that’s a big problem. The guy who rode Rays coat-tails, did not step up. When Flacco did not step up, when Suggs did not step up, when Rice did not step up, somebody had to and nobody did. Come on, John Horribaugh, you maybe paid the least compared to star players, but it is your job to at least get those overpaid steroid boys to show up and perform.

The Ravens need a leader or two on the field and they need a leader on the sidelines. Right now, they have neither. Gut checks are in order, (along with a revamped offensive line). Candidates: Defense – Elam. Offense – it has to be Flack Nut. Coaching? – I’m not a John Horribaugh fan, never have been. Can the Ravens get his brother Jim? Now there’s a coach in my book.

We were spoiled. The only game the Ravens actually WON, Ray Lewis was in the house. Hmm???? Hey Ray, whatcha ya gonna do when you get done playing TV analyst? Let’s start out with Director of Player personnel and Motivational Speaker, then linebackers coach and Inspirational speaker, then defensive coordinator and Motivational speaker. Then by that time, hopefully you would have mentored somebody to take over the reigns. Who knows? There just may come a day, when Ray Lewis on the sideline again. If not on the sideline, get him under a lifelong contract as part of the organization. Front office….. step up! Nobody else did.
T-minus 53 days until O’s first Spring Training Game.

D.I.Y.
Fedman

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5 Comments For This Post

  1. unitastoberry Says:

    As a kid I saw this same problem as Unitas was traded away to San Diego. The only problem then was we had this new owner named Irsay who was a drunken idiot. This current owner seems to have sanity with a billion dollar plus empire to boot. Your right Tom this team was basically a ruddderless ship in 2013 but it still managed to be in the mix until game 16. I thought that they would implode in December bit they put a win streak together to be 8-8. I have to give Harbs some small credit for that. Maybe we can build on it in 2014?

  2. Fedman Says:

    Unitastoberry,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. That’s one way to reel in a disgruntled Ravens fan. Mention the name Irsay! That is something we should all be grateful for……..It’s not as bad as it was back then.
    So disappointing after a Championship season. The team was dismantled with key players. Still waiting to the hear the real scoop on the Boldin “trade”.
    Something to build on for 2014 – besides an offensive line, looks like they may be looking for a new offensive coordinator. Have read Caldwell has been considered for a couple head coaching jobs. 2014 – Can Flacco lead?
    Thanks for the reality check. Keep ‘em coming.

    PEACE

  3. unitastoberry Says:

    The Bouldin trade to save pocket money then give it to Leech to have him sit on the bench? You bet it was more than money it was personal.
    Joes leadership is minimal imo.

  4. JC Says:

    Dan:
    Good topic. Agree with some points, disagree with others.
    Ravens definitely needed some player leadership this year and didn’t get it. When your best candidate is the kicker, you are in trouble.
    It’s not the coach’s job to be the leader in the locker room. That’s not his place. Got to be a player. Ozzie’s definitely got to regret some of the personnel moves, but he certainly was right on Ed Reed. That really worked out for Houston didn’t it?

    As far as the Harbs brothers, John is definitely the ying and Jim the yang. Polar opposites. I’ll take John over the whiner Jim every time.
    (See Super Bowl final drive)

    Next year, someone needs to step up and Joe is too much of a Cal Ripken type leader. OK for baseball but not gonna work in football.

    As for Ray, never work as a coach. Motivator yes, coach, no. Remember Frank Robinson’s attempt at managing? No one was good enough for his standards. Think you will find same with Ray.

    I’ll take 2013 Ravens season musical reference from the pride of Arbutus (not Jim Schwartz) David Byrne “We’re on the Road to Nowhere”

  5. Fedman Says:

    JC,

    Agree to disagree. Obviously different definitions of what a coach is. Give me a coach “whining” with passion over a “coattail rider” any day. If Ray Lewis wasn’t playing or on team last year – there is no Super Bowl for the Baltimore Ravens.
    Can Ray coach? Doubtful – he’s on another level. Just need his presence.
    All I know is Mishael Miller is gone and that is a shame. His delivery of the National Anthem prior to the majority of Ravens home game was unique and quite invigorating. A cool tradition I hope the Ravens front office doesn’t blow this off season. Can Anquan Boldin sing?
    Super Bowl prediction – Last year they went with Ray. This year it’s looking like Peyton.
    Thanks for the feedback. Keep ‘em rolling.

    PEACE

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