It’s been quite a week so far in Baltimore, as a large majority of Ravens fans skip from firing-the-defensive-coordinator to cutting-the-place-kicker to trading-for-anyone-because-he-can’t-be-worse-than-what-we-have-now.
Baltimore is no longer The City That Reads. Rather, it’s The City That Panics.
So…here’s my advice to all of you — take four days off and report back next Monday ready for duty.
It’s officially “bye week” for the players now. They’re off until next Monday. Makes sense for the fans to take a breather too.
Fact: The Ravens aren’t firing their defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison. They haven’t thought about firing him. Not for one second. He’s staying.
Fact: Steve Hauschka missed a 44 yard field goal last Sunday. He’s not the first guy to do so. In his second NFL game in 1996, Adam Vinatieri went 1-for-4 in a 17-10 loss to the Bills. He turned out to be OK, huh? Hauschka didn’t choke last Sunday. He didn’t “gag it”. He missed a kick. On the flip side, had Hauschka made the kick last week, would that have guaranteed him a 13-year run in the NFL? No. It was one kick. Tiger Woods didn’t win in his professional golf debut in 1996. I’d say things have worked out fairly well for him. If Matt Katula would have snapped the ball over Sam Koch’s head on that field-goal attempt with 2 seconds to go last Sunday, would you endorse cutting him? Of course not. Unless you’re a dummy, that is. Hauschka will miss other kicks too during his NFL career, by the way. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Fact: The Ravens have a good team. They have some internal issues to iron out right now and when the players return next Monday, you can bet they’ll find a hard-charging coaching staff armed with new ideas and thoughts for improvement over the last 10 games. As long as Joe Flacco stays healthy, the Ravens are a solid bet to make the post-season again. Look around the league. Teams with really good quarterbacks usually make the playoffs. Teams with bad quarterbacks don’t. The Ravens have a really good quarterback. They’re still a playoff-caliber team, despite the world coming to a end and all after that defeat in Minnesota.
Fact: Fans are reactionaries. That’s not quite as bad as being a Democrat, I guess. (I’m kidding…I’m neither Republican nor Democrat because I’ve never understood how you can tell the difference. People are people, as Depeche Mode once sang.) Anyway, fans almost always over-react. It’s what they do. If you weren’t over-reacting, you’d be a Molecular Science professor somewhere and you’d spend your Sunday afternoons drinking green tea and grading papers. Fans over-react when their team wins (“we’re great, no one can beat us”) and when their team loses (“we might not ever win again unless we fire/cut XXXX right now”). This week has been no different. Thankfully, the professionals in charge of the team don’t over-react. They’re rational and contemplative and hard working — among other things, and unlike the fans who say “fire this guy, cut this guy, change this and change that”, sports professionals tend to be much more even-keeled about things. That’s why they do what they do. If they over-reacted, they’d be buying season tickets instead of selling them.
Fact: This is a different defense without Rex Ryan. It has to be, he and Greg Mattison are different human beings. I’d like to remind all of you that Sir Rex The Great was also the Defensive Coodinator when the Ravens stumbled and bumbled their way to a 5-11 record in 2007 and Rex’s defense got lit up more than a doobie at a Dave Matthews Band concert. Rex was a very good defensive coordinator, don’t get me wrong — but it wouldn’t be out of line for him to send Ray Lewis a check every other week as a measure of thanks…if you know what I mean. And there’s no need for Rex lovers to take that personally — there are A LOT of people on the Ray Lewis “thank-you-#52-for-making-my-career” payroll, trust me. I once saw Rex walk from his car to the stadium entrance before a game. It was pouring the rain that day as Rex walked past me. I took full note of his shoes. They were wet. So much for the big man walking on water, I suppose.
Oh, by the way, Greg Mattison might not have been the right guy to hire for the Defensive Coordinator. Steve Hauschka might have been the wrong choice as the team’s new place kicker. Signing Domonique Foxworth for that kind of money might not have been a good move.
But we can’t make that assessment until January, when we’ve had the full sample of games and evidence to make such a determination.
This time last year, Joe Flacco was a neophyte NFL quarterback who was 3-3 and on the stinky end of a hammering in Indianapolis in which he guided the offense to 3 total points in a 31-3 defeat.
He turned out to have a decent year, huh?
Take a deep breath. Stop over-analyzing every single thing. Leave that to the professionals. And please, stop firing and cutting people every time they have a bad game or make a mistake. It reeks of panic.
Take four days off.
Fact: You need it.