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.