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

Posted on 24 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

Last Thursday was an interesting day in the history of the Baltimore Ravens.

It marked the first time the franchise openly told their fan base, “No offense, but WE will run the team if you don’t mind.”

There have, in fact, been occasions over the years – especially under the ownership of Steve Bisciotti – where the club apparently acquiesced to public pressure by making a change in personnel (Billick’s ouster is the most notable) but no such concession is coming this time around.

Cam Cameron isn’t getting fired, much to the chagrin of the Baltimore football community.

Steve Bisciotti made it clear last Thursday.  ”The fans…their frustration can’t lead us to offer someone as a sacrifice for what went wrong.”

That’s code word for:  We’ll fire people when we think it’s appropriate to fire people.  The fans aren’t going to fire anyone.

Anyone who listened to me or read my work throughout the latter half of the season and particularly last week knows where I stand with regard to Cam Cameron.  I wouldn’t have retained him.  But I’m not foaming at the mouth the way lots of folks in town are…because I also believe the Ravens have “team dysfunctions” that make finding better PLAYERS more important than finding better COACHES.  I believe that.  I think the Ravens can with a coaching foursome of Harbaugh/Cameron/Pagano/Rosburg…but only if they improve their roster with 6-8 significant players who will add speed and power to both side of the ball.

Now, I’ll be fair to the Ravens for a minute while I dissect one of the major issues with the way the fans behaved in the aftermath of the 31-24 loss to the Steelers a week ago Saturday.

One Ravens executive confessed, “We were disappointed in the reaction once a few days passed and everyone had a chance to digest the season as a whole.  We expected an initial level of frustration, but it seemed to get worse as the week went on.”

I’ll agree with that statement.

On all fronts.

Personally, I thought the overall fan reaction WAS disappointing given the team’s successful season.  And I too assumed it would reach its zenith by Tuesday or so and then everyone would sip a cup of Reality Tea and slowly come back to earth.

I remember seeing John Harbaugh during the bye week – on the heels of that narrow home escape over Buffalo – and saying to him at Owings Mills, “Those people (fans) are crazy, bro.  They’re nuts.”

Turns out I was right about that one.

But I also have a pretty good grasp on why there’s been such an outcry since the meltdown at Heinz Field, and I mentioned this to a Ravens executive last week when we were discussing the fan reaction in Baltimore.

In Baltimore, there’s the Ravens.  And that’s it.

This struck me again last Tuesday night in Philadelphia when I was at the Flyers/Capitals game.  During a time-out, I broke into a discussion

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Ranking The Ravens: A Postseason Breakdown of 53(+) Man Roster

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Ranking The Ravens: A Postseason Breakdown of 53(+) Man Roster

Posted on 21 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

In their new song, “Waiting For The End”, the band Linkin Park offered a lyric that should be considered particularly fitting for Baltimore Ravens fans.

The hardest part of ending is starting again…

With their 31-24 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in the AFC Divisional Round, the 2010-2011 NFL season has ended for the Ravens.

It didn’t take long for the team’s offseason to begin. Even with owners and players apparently headed towards a lockout, GM Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta, Senior Personnel Assistant George Kokinis and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz lead a front office hard at work in shaping what the 2011 Baltimore Ravens will look like…as long as there is a 2011 NFL season.

Members of the front office are already preparing for the NFL Draft, as they are scouting college seniors this week in Orlando at the East West Shrine Game. Next week they will be doing the same thing at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL.

As we enter the offseason, I’ll offer a variation of my preseason power rankings (you’ll remember my “Mocking the 53″ blogs) to review the team’s roster. This is a complicated review, as I factor in who had the best season, who has proved to a better player overall, the value of the position and contract status.

Players labeled as “UFA” are unrestricted free agents. Players labeled as “RFA” are restricted free agents. Players labeled as “ERFA” are exclusive rights free agents. Players labeled as “reserve/future” have reserve/future contracts.

Unique labeling on my part. I’m aware.

1. LB Terrell Suggs
2. DT Haloti Ngata (UFA)
3. RB Ray Rice
4. LB Ray Lewis
5. G Ben Grubbs

grubbs

While I said Tuesday Ngata was the team’s best player in 2010 (he also received my vote for/won the team’s Most Valuable Player award), his contract status leaves him second on the list.

Suggs was outstanding in 2010, proving his 2009 season was indeed a fluke after signing a big contract the proceeding offseason.

It is going to cost owner Steve Bisciotti a LOT of money to retain Ngata this offseason, but the Ravens are basically going to have to pay the price. Losing Ngata could absolutely WRECK the franchise’s plans defensively, as Ngata anchors what they do up front. It could only spell the end of Lewis’ career. If Ngata were to depart, Lewis could no longer be viewed as a Top 5 player on the roster for sure.

Rice’s fantasy football numbers were down in 2010, but his offensive impact certainly wasn’t. He remained the Ravens’ most dynamic playmaker and is expected to an offensive force for years to come.

It was interesting (for me) as I graded out players that I felt Grubbs was worthy of being a Top 5 player. Grubbs proved himself to be the team’s best and most reliable Offensive Lineman, and gives the team at least one more position they don’t have to worry about…for now.

6. WR Anquan Boldin
7. QB Joe Flacco
8. OT Michael Oher
9. K Billy Cundiff (UFA)
10. P Sam Koch (UFA)

koch

Everything at the receiver position has to be viewed as wide open right now…except for Boldin. He has to be viewed as the team’s top possession receiver no matter what Derrick Mason decides to do.

While Flacco is still a cornerstone for the franchise (and the suggestion made that the team should have him “compete” with Marc Bulger for the starting job is laughable), his move outside the Top 5 is a statement. He made SOME of the progress the team wanted him to make-but not all of it. There will be increasing pressure for that to happen next year.

Oher represents a tricky situation for the Ravens. While he struggled in 2010, he’s certainly not a BAD player. The team will have to figure out whether or not he has a long term future at LT. If he does (and he plays to that level), he’ll be a Top 5 player on this team for a long time.

Koch and Cundiff represent a unique problem for the team. During the 15 years of the team’s history, they’ve never been the type of organization that would spend a lot of money on a specialist. They’re going to have to pay two guys this offseason as top-tier specialists. These players were a SIGNIFICANT reason the team managed to win 12 regular season games and a playoff game this year.

11. TE Todd Heap
12. WR Derrick Mason
13. S Ed Reed
14. CB Domonique Foxworth
15. FB Le’Ron McClain (UFA)

mcclain

Heap, Mason and Reed are unique. If this list was based on ability and performance alone; there would be an argument they should all be in the Top 10. Their age leaves them on the outside looking in, as even if they return as expected the team will have to make decisions at their positions.

It might seem surprising that Foxworth is the highest ranked of the cornerbacks, but he was the team’s top guy before getting hurt and is the only guy (besides Lardarius Webb) in the group who actually has a contract.

The Ravens are in a VERY unique situation with McClain. He had a tremendous season at fullback; but doesn’t want to return as true fullback. To return, the two time Pro Bowler would have to be assured of more involvement in Cam Cameron’s offense. I’m not sure how likely that is.

16. CB Chris Carr (UFA)
17. LB Jarret Johnson
18. CB Lardarius Webb
19. CB Josh Wilson (UFA)
20. DE Cory Redding

redding

Carr had a great season and offered some legitimate stability to the team’s defensive backfield. That being said, there will be a question as to whether or not bringing him back will work monetarily. If he gets paid as a #1 corner, the Ravens might be in trouble. Wilson is in the same boat. The uncertainty surrounding those two corners helps Webb find himself ranked higher on the list.

My guess is that one of Carr and Wilson will be back, but not both.

Johnson and Redding are both solid contributors to the defense, and the Ravens can pencil them in for next season. They’ll need a healthier (or just somehow more effective) Johnson, and they’ll need to compliment Redding with a legitimate rush end.

21. S Dawan Landry (UFA)
22. WR TJ Houshmandzadeh (UFA)
23. TE Ed Dickson
24. DT Brandon McKinney
25. DT Kelly Gregg

kgregg

Like other players, the Ravens find themselves in a tricky spot when it comes to Landry. As a starter and solid contributor to one of the league’s better defenses over the last few years, Landry could find himself in position to make a lot of money on the free agent market. The Ravens may or may not be in a place to match that. He’s been good; but with restricted free agents Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura likely to return, it seems unlikely they would retain Landry at a high cost.

Houshmandzadeh almost seems to be in a “if Mason doesn’t come back” position. The Ravens can’t just retain all of their top three receivers and make progress offensively. If Mason retires, there would be a much greater likelihood of Houshmandzadeh returning.

Dickson showed signs of being a potential breakout performer in 2010, but never actually broke out. The team will look to expand his role as he continues to get more comfortable in the offense. He also represents the team’s best chance of limiting an aging Heap’s snaps in 2011.

It might look surprising at first to see McKinney listed ahead of a player like Gregg, but I think it represents an area where the Ravens can move forward. McKinney came on strong down the stretch, looking like a reliable cog on the defensive line. While Gregg made a fantastic play on Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, he showed signs of aging as the season wore on, and it would be difficult to assume he could continue playing the majority of downs in the future.

26. OT Jared Gaither (UFA)
27. OL Marshal Yanda (UFA)
28. DT Terrence Cody
29. C Matt Birk
30. S Haruki Nakamura (RFA)

nakamura

My only gut instinct with Gaither is that the team won’t give him the type of premium price tag a top tier OT would probably expect. There’s an argument as to whether or not ANYONE should pay Gaither that price, but my guess is that someone will. The Ravens don’t want to see Yanda depart, but there’s a chance another NFL team will choose to offer him legitimate tackle money because he played the position in 2010.

The Ravens likely can’t be in position to overpay a player like Yanda, but they certainly to solidify their O-Line. Birk could still decide to retire; but even if he doesn’t the team has to make future plans for the position.

Cody showed SOME signs of being a future contributor during the 2010 season, but probably not enough that the Ravens can feel comfortable with expecting him to play every down in 2011. Nakamura could be very important, as he would be the most likely to step into the role should Landry depart in free agency.

31. RB Willis McGahee
32. DE Paul Kruger
33. LB Jameel McClain (RFA)
34. LB Tavares Gooden (RFA)
35. LB Dannell Ellerbe (ERFA)

ellerbe

I’m going to guess that McGahee won’t be getting the $19.7 million owed to him over the last three years of his contract. The most likely scenario probably involves McGahee not returning to Charm City next season. But if he’s willing to take a pay cut, there’s still a chance he could be a solid compliment to Rice behind an improved O-Line.

Paul Kruger started to show some signs at the end of the season that he might be able to contribute in the future. Unfortunately, that’s probably not the level of progression the team had in mind for the 2009 2nd round pick. 2011 could be a “make or break” type of year for Kruger.

And then there’s McClain/Gooden/Ellerbe. Does anyone else want to try to figure this out? The team clearly hoped one player in this group would separate themselves out at McDaniel College in Westminster during Training Camp in 2010, but that clearly didn’t happen. They also hoped one would separate themselves during the 2010 season. That didn’t happen either.

Of the group, McClain has probably shown himself to be the most steady, but is equally vulnerable against the pass. Gooden is probably the best against the pass, but there’s a joke in there about being the prettiest girl at fat camp. Ellerbe showed some capability of making plays in the backfield, but looks lost against the pass.

It looks like all three will end up returning in 2011. It also looks like the Ravens will be in a very familiar position when (if?) the season begins.

36. WR/KR David Reed
37. CB Fabian Washington (UFA)
38. S Tom Zbikowski (RFA)
39. LS Morgan Cox
40. OL Chris Chester (UFA)

chester

Whether or not David Reed can someday contribute at receiver is still to be determined. But he clearly came on as a kick returner until a concussion and a wrist injury cut his season short. He’ll have to stay out of trouble off the field, but it looks like the Ravens have a solid piece of the puzzle in Reed.

Washington made it clear earlier this week he wouldn’t return to the team unless his role was expanded. There’s a chance his role could be expanded if Carr and Wilson depart. Otherwise, it doesn’t look good. Zbikowski will almost certainly be back, the organization will now have to determine whether or not he is capable of replacing Ed Reed on a full-time basis whenever the future Hall of Famer walks away from the game.

Cox did a nice job of solidifying the long snapper position after beating veteran Matt Katula out during the preseason. The only concern surrounding Cox is how quickly he’ll be able to return from the torn ACL he suffered against the Cleveland Browns, but it appears as though he’ll be ready to go.

Chester will be another tough decision for the Ravens. If another team is willing to pay him to be an every down linemen, the organization will have to think hard before matching. Chester has shown himself as being reliable, but I think he’s only a starter in Baltimore if Yanda were to depart…or the Ravens were forced to keep Yanda at Tackle.

41. CB Cary Williams (ERFA)
42. OL Tony Moll (UFA)
43. LB Jason Phillips
44. QB Marc Bulger (UFA)
45. WR Donte’ Stallworth (UFA)

stallworth

Williams could be in a good spot this offseason. As an exclusive rights free agent, he could be in a good position to come back and get more playing time should some of the corners ahead of him sign elsewhere. He’s 6’1″, and the team liked him at least enough to hold on to him through a suspension to start the 2010 season.

Moll looks like a solid option to return and give the O-Line important depth. He’s capable of playing multiple positions to at least a solid level. He’s not good enough to be an every down player and it’s unlikely that another team will choose to pay him that way.

Phillips showed signs in 2010, probably enough that he will enter the 2011 season on the “good” side of the roster bubble. He certainly can’t be considered a lock at this point however.

Bulger will likely only return to the team if he isn’t offered a starting job elsewhere. With Jim Harbaugh now in charge of the San Francisco 49ers, it wouldn’t be stunning to see him consider Bulger. If the options are for backup jobs-or even jobs where Bulger would have to “compete” for a starting gig, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him return to Baltimore.

Some of the fan frustration surrounding Cam Cameron certainly centers around Stallworth, who seems unlikely to return. The Ravens need a speed receiver option, but it has to be a player they’ll trust to send out and stretch the field.

46. TE Dennis Pitta
47. LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
48. DT Arthur Jones
49. WR Marcus Smith (UFA)
50. DT Lamar Divens (RFA)

divens

The lack of involvement from Pitta in 2010 was disappointing, but he was often a victim of only being able to dress 53 players. His role should expand in 2011.

Ayanbadejo and Smith are interesting cases. Both are special teams players only for the most part, and the team will have to determine how much value they have. Smith is unlikely to generate much interest elsewhere, Ayanbadejo isn’t getting any younger. Both could return, but I don’t think they’re guarantees.

Jones and Divens are both solid players who have the “look” of Ravens defensive linemen. The only issue for new Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano is that he’s inheriting a bunch of these type of players. They’re big, they move fairly well and they can control gaps. Jones will clearly be back in 2011, Divens is the question mark.

51. LB Prescott Burgess (UFA)
52. RB Jalen Parmele (RFA)
53. OT Oniel Cousins (RFA)
54. WR James Hardy (reserve/future)

55. TE Davon Drew (ERFA)

ddrew

Burgess was a solid Special Teams contributor who was also able to get a handful of positive snaps defensively. There’s a chance he could generate interest elsewhere, we remember the New England Patriots grabbed him when he was available in 2009.

Parmele could stand to benefit from a McGahee departure, but probably wouldn’t be a great option as the top compliment to Rice.

Cousins gives the team a cheap reserve tackle. I can’t fathom anyone will be hot after him, so he seems like a player that will at least make it to Westminster with a chance to retain his job.

Hardy is interesting. He climbed the list after comments by Newsome in the team’s Season Review press conference. There was a reason Hardy was once a second round pick by the Buffalo Bills. There’s also a reason why he was unemployed a season ago. Either way, he’s 6’5″. The Ravens don’t have any other receivers of that size right now.

Davon Drew is the fourth of four TE’s on the roster. That would be a problem in a lot of places, but when the General Manager is a former Tight End, it bodes well for the chances of sticking around.

56. LB Sergio Kindle (ERFA)
57. DT Kelly Talavou (ERFA)
58. RB Matt Lawrence (RFA)
59. QB Hunter Cantwell (reserve/future)
60. WR Justin Harper (reserve/future)

harper

Kindle is such a question mark (as he continues to recover from a fractured skull) that it really doesn’t matter how much talent he might have. Until there’s reason to believe he’ll be able to return next season, he can’t be an assumed part of the 53 man roster.

If Talavou is able to come back healthy, he’s highly thought of by the organization. He could be the insurance that allows the team to let someone like Divens go elsewhere.

Lawrence is a good Special Teams player if he’s healthy. It will be an uphill battle for him to make the roster in Training Camp, especially after missing the entire 2010 season.

Cantwell is the team’s 3rd quarterback, but has only a cup of coffee worth of experience on an active roster with the Carolina Panthers in 2009. If the Ravens decided to go with three QB’s again, he’d have a decent chance to make the roster.

Harper is tall. Harper has only ever been on the active roster briefly. The team’s website apparently doesn’t know Harper wears number 82. That’s where we’re at with Harper.

61. OL Ramon Harewood
62.
OL Bryan Mattison (contract status unknown)
63. OL Daniel Sanders (contract status unknown)
64. RB Curtis Steele (reserve/future)
65. DE Albert McClellan (reserve/future)
66. CB Danny Gorrer (reserve/future)
67. OT Brady Bond (reserve/future)
68. OT Andre Ramsey (reserve/future)
69. LS Kevin Houser (UFA)

I’d provide a picture of Kevin Houser here, but even the team’s official site doesn’t have one.

If they all return (and are healthy); Harewood, Mattison and Sanders will compete to try to provide depth along the O-Line. Harewood could give the team an insurance policy if they choose to cut ties with Cousins, Sanders could prove to be the team’s center of the future when Birk hangs up the cleats. A local writer joked with me that Mattison had been “on scholarship” in recent seasons-that would probably come to an end now as his father (former Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison) has departed for Michigan.

Steele has the look of a potential weapon at the next level. If he can work his way into the return game, he’d have a much better shot of making the roster.

McClellan is employed by the Ravens, as is Gorrer. I’m going to guess most of you didn’t know that. Neither has a realistic path to the active roster.

Bond and Ramsey are big. My guess is that both of them will find their way onto an active roster in the National Football League someday. It probably won’t be in Baltimore however.

It might not be fair for me to rank Houser last on this list. He’s a NFL player, which is more than anyone else in this final group can really say. But his ONLY chance of returning to the team is if Cox can’t return from his torn ACL. There’s a chance he might not be ready for the start of Training Camp, but it’s unlikely it will be a factor moving towards the 2011 regular season.

(Thanks to BaltimoreRavens.com for the pictures!)

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Harbaugh Wants Gaither Back, Thinks Oher Still LT of Future

Posted on 20 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens held their annual “Season Review” press conference Thursday at 1 Winning Drive. Head Coach John Harbaugh, Owner Steve Bisciotti, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Team President Dick Cass all answered questions from reporters in both formal and informal settings.

Following the press conference, Harbaugh addressed the team’s offensive problems, specifically their issues in running the football. The team finished 14th in the NFL in 2010 with 114.4 rushing yards per game after finishing 5th in the league in 2009 with 137.5 rushing yards per game.

Harbaugh attributed the team’s running struggles both to “tweaks” made in the team’s rushing philosophy during Training Camp as well as the struggles of the offensive line.

“We had three new guys playing three new spots (on the line)” said Harbaugh. “I don’t think we ever were really able to overcome that.”

After moving 2nd year offensive tackle from Right Tackle (RT) to Left Tackle (LT) in the offseason; the Ravens had hoped OT Jared Gaither would successfully move from LT to RT. Unfortunately for the team, Gaither suffered a back injury while the team was preparing for the season at McDaniel College in Westminster, and he never saw the football field in 2010. With Gaither out, the team moved OL Marshal Yanda from Right Guard (RG) to RT, and asked reserve OL Chris Chester to play RG.

Harbaugh hopes the team’s problems can be addressed with the return of Gaither, who is an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA).

“I would like to coach Jared Gaither” said Harbaugh. “He’s a very talented guy and I think he can be a factor for us next year. He’s definitely got the ability.  If the back is healed up and he can back to training and get the size and strength back, I certainly think he can (stabilize the line).”

Also amongst the Ravens’ UFA’s is Yanda, who Harbaugh would like to see return to RG.

“We want to find the right spots for the right guys” said the coach. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to get this done, but I like Marshal Yanda at RG. I think that’s his position. He’s a dominant puller, he’s physical. If you can put a nice big RT next to him, that would really help.”

Harbaugh also expressed confidence in Oher, who anchored an Offensive Line that allowed 40 sacks this season. FootballOutsiders.com ranked the unit 25th in the league in “Adjusted Sack Rate”, considering sacks and intentional grounding penalties per pass attempt adjusted for down, distance and opponent.

“I think Michael Oher can play either tackle” said Harbaugh. “I think he had a very good second year. The sky is the limit for him.”

Harbaugh did acknowledge Oher could be asked to move back to RT depending on what the team does to upgrade the line in the offseason. Amongst the potential free agents at OT around the league are Gaither, Matt Light (New England Patriots), Doug Free (Dallas Cowboys) and former Towson Tigers standout Jermon Bushrod (New Orleans Saints).

Free Agency cannot begin until the league and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

“What side Mike ends up playing depends on who else is in the mix” said Harbaugh. “He really wants to be better. I still think he’s a home run.”

NEWSOME HOPES TO IMPROVE PRESSURE WITH PERSONNEL: With the transition from departing Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison to his replacement Chuck Pagano, the Ravens have stressed a desire to bring aggression defensively.

The team finished tied for the fifth lowest total in the league with just 27 sacks in 2010.

Newsome said he’d like to upgrade the team’s defensive personnel to improve their level of pressure.

“Are we going to try to continue to bring in some other people that can get to the passer, having (LB Terrell Suggs) to have a companion to go along with him as we did with (former Ravens LB) Peter (Boulware) and Suggs? That would be very helpful for the organization and it’s something that we’ll look into moving forward.”

After selecting Suggs in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft, the Ravens saw he and Boulware combine to tally 20.5 sacks in the 2003 season.

Amongst the rushers who could potentially be available in free agency this offseason are LB Tamba Hali (Kansas City Chiefs), LB Lamarr Woodley (Pittsburgh Steelers), DE Ray Edwards (Minnesota Vikings) and DE Mathias Kiwanuka (New York Giants).

As with the Offensive Line, the team could also look for rush help in the NFL Draft.

Newsome believes an upgrade in personnel can solve the team’s rush problems.

“If we get enough good players where when we go up against whoever we play in our division, they can get in a one on one situation and win, we’ll have more pressure.

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Newsome, Bisciotti and Cass now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……LB Jarret Johnson joined Drew Forrester Thursday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……The Ravens’ leadership said they had yet to speak to LB Ray Lewis about a Wednesday Yahoo! Sports report linking him to a banned supplement spray

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Pagano Says Defense Will “Be Aggressive”

Posted on 19 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens introduced Chuck Pagano to reporters Wednesday, less than 24 hours after promoting the former secondary coach to Defensive Coordinator. Pagano replaced Greg Mattison, who left for the same position at the University of Michigan.

Head Coach John Harbaugh described the selection of Pagano as an “easy choice” in a Wednesday press conference. “I think we’ve build just a tremendous defensive staff. Chuck has done a phenomenal job of coaching football here for the last three years.”

Pagano described the promotion as “bittersweet” due to the departure of his friend and mentor Mattison, but also said “I’ve spent 27 years preparing for this opportunity. I feel like I’m at the best organization in the National Football League (NFL), I work for the best owner in the NFL in Steve Bisciotti.”

Pagano and Harbaugh each made it a point to indicate that the team had no plans to drastically change their defensive philosophy during the transition to Pagano’s leadership.

“This hasn’t changed, and it ain’t going to change” said Pagano. “They’ve been playing great defense here long before any of us got here, and they’ll be playing great defense long after I’m gone. They’ve always been an attacking, swarming, tough, physical hard-nosed group of men.”

“It’s not a (former Defensive Coordinator/current New York Jets Head Coach) Rex (Ryan) defense, it’s not a Greg (Mattison) defense, it’s not a John (Harbaugh) defense, it’s not a Chuck (Pagano) defense, it’s not an anybody, it’s a Ravens defense. We believe in team around here.”

The Ravens tallied just 27 sacks this season, which tied them for the 5th fewest in the league. Pagano told reporters Wednesday he intends to lead an aggressive defense.

“I’ve always been around defenses that have been attacking defenses” said Pagano. “There’s a time and a place. I know (Harbaugh) is an aggressive guy and comes from an aggressive philosophy. I know (the defensive players) like to play that way. When it’s time to be aggressive, we’ll be aggressive.”

Pagano said he would orchestrate the defense from the sideline instead of the coaches’ box on gamedays.

“I’m pretty much a hands-on guy” said Pagano. “I understand that being in the box and getting away from the action, there’s a certain calmness to that. But I’m not really a calm type of guy.”

Ravens defensive players made their excitement about Pagano’s promotion apparent. DT Haloti Ngata, LB Jarret Johnson and S Haruki Nakamura were all in attendance Wednesday to show support. Defensive Line Coach Clarence Brooks, Linebackers Coach Dean Pees, Outside Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino and Defensive Assistant Roy Anderson were amongst a group of Ravens coaches in attendance as well.

LB Ray Lewis said in a statement Pagano “has an extreme knowledge of the game, and the way he communicates that with his players and fellow coaches is amazing.”

Lewis added “you have to respect how he studies opponents and how he prepares for the task at hand each week. He is truly a pure players’ coach. He is a man’s man, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for him. I am excited to see what we can do as a defense and as a team leading into next season.”

Harbaugh did not indicate any candidates to replace Pagano as Secondary coach, saying only “we’re going to find a great one.” He pointed out that Anderson would continue to work with the secondary no matter who was hired to replace Pagano.

NOTES: Hear from Pagano and Harbaugh now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Pagano also joined Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive” on AM1570 WNST, that chat is available in the Audio Vault as well……Harbaugh said the team gave their approval for Offensive Assistant Al Saunders to meet with the Oakland Raiders about their vacant Offensive Coordinator job. NFL Network reported Saunders was in Oakland Wednesday as was accepted to get the job……Harbaugh said he had no further information regarding rumors other NFL teams were interested in talking to Quarterbacks Coach Jim Zorn. Zorn had been rumored in conjunction to openings with the Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks…..Multiple outlets reported Wednesday the team had fired Offensive Line Coach John Matsko and was expected to promote Assistant Offensive Line Coach Andy Moeller to the post……Harbaugh, Bisciotti, Team President Dick Cass and General Manager Ozzie Newsome are scheduled to meet with reporters Thursday afternoon for the team’s annual season review press conference

-G

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Welcome Chuck Pagano! Now, let me be the first to tell you…

Posted on 19 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

Welcome aboard Chuck.

I’m not sure if you know this or not, but Royal Farms has a sale on THICK-SKIN.  They’re selling two tubes for $9.99.  If I could make a suggestion to you…take advantage of the buy-2-get-1-free deal and get yourself six tubes.

You’re gonna need it, pal.

Let me be the first guy to give you a reality-check.  It goes like this:  If you can’t go to the Super Bowl, you’re going to be fired by the community-of-popular-opinion.

You’re the new God today, because you’re replacing Greg Mattison.

You’ll be the new Bum this time next year if you’re not the coordinator of the defense that’s heading to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl.

Fair?

Probably not.

But that’s how we roll here in Baltimore.

You either win or you pack your bags.  We’re not known for our patience when it comes to the football team.  Three years ago, everyone in town wanted Brian Billick fired after a 4-year run of 33-31 and only one playoff appearance in that time.  The man who replaced him – John Harbaugh…your boss – has gone 32-16 with THREE playoff appearances in THREE years…and this week, idiots around town want HIM gone too.

I’d suggest to you another thing, Chuck: Rent, don’t buy.

Oh, and one other issue that you’re going to find a tad important as you start your gig here: You better beat the Steelers.  If you’re part of a coaching staff that lets those clowns beat the Ravens again next season, you’re walking the plank.

Another thing, Chuck: You need better players on your side of the ball.  I know you don’t exactly control that, but I’m here to remind you that the current group of defensive players you have isn’t good enough.  If I’m you, I’d be making my wish list now for some fast, strong chase-the-quarterback monsters who can make life miserable for that guy in Pittsburgh or the two champions in Indianapolis and New England.

I think there’s a chance you’ll enjoy this ride as the Ravens Defensive Coordinator.

As long as you win the Super Bowl.

Anything short of that and you’ll be fired by the community-of-popular-opinion.

Just like Matt Cavanaugh.  And Jim Fassel.  And Mike Nolan.  And Rick Neuheisel.  And Brian Billick.  All of those guys got the witch-hunt treatment in Baltimore.  Some of them, it should be noted, were chased out of town after having success and some where chased out of town after not having success.

John Harbaugh is getting witch-hunted right now by goofs around town because he said “I’m proud of my football team” after the game instead of saying, “F**king Anquan Boldin has to catch that f**king ball in the end zone.  That drop was un-f**king-acceptable!!”

And that gets back to my point I made earlier.

You have to beat the Steelers, Chuck, or you’ll be on I-95 heading north or south…to another team.

It’s just a matter of time with this fanbase, chief.

And that’s part of Baltimore’s charm, actually.  Maddening?  Sure.  But it’s one of the reasons why Baltimore is a unique place to live and work.  We love ourselves a winner here.  We, like most cities, don’t really know how to handle losing.  You’ll find that out firsthand if your defense ever gives up 28 points in a loss to the Bengals.

I wish you well, Chuck.

Bury your head in your work over at The Castle.  Don’t listen to talk radio.  Don’t read the newspaper.  Don’t surf the internet. If you can shield yourself from what the fans and the media think, you just might maintain your sanity.

Oh, and make sure you beat the Steelers.

If you can’t do that, we don’t have any use for you.

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Pagano hire could be benefit to Ravens off-season plans

Posted on 18 January 2011 by Ryan Chell

It didn’t take long for the first domino to fall for the Ravens to have to make a decision on replacing one of coach John Harbaugh’s assistants.

Whether it was their doing or not, we have yet to understand.

But Tuesday afternoon it was announced that Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison would be leaving the team and is believed to be the next defensive coordinator of the Michigan Wolverines, a position he held previously in his long time coaching career in 1995-1996.

He is expected to run new Wolverines coach Brady Hoke’s defense. Hoke-a former protege of Mattison at Ann Arbor-was recently the head coach of San Diego State.

But what has been confirmed is that the team announced that secondary coach Chuck Pagano will be named Mattison’s replacement.

Pagano,50, will be introduced tomorrow at a press conference.

Pagano has been in the coaching ranks since 1984 when he was a graduate assistant at USC.

He is most known for being a Butch Davis assistant in his travels, as he was Davis’ defensive backs coach at Miami from 1995-2000(also spending time with Ravens safety Ed Reed), and he was secondary coach of the Cleveland Browns for  Davis in 2001 through 2004.

Pagano’s unit in 2001 led the league in interceptions with 33-most notably rookie CB Anthony Henry, who led the league with ten takeaways.

Ironically, most of them came off Ravens quarterback Elvis Grbac.

Then, when Davis returned to the collegiate level to take the coaching gig at North Carolina, Pagano was there again-only this time deciding to be Davis’ defensive coordinator.

Pagano then came to Baltimore in 2008 to join John Harbaugh’s staff, and instantly not only had he become a player-coach, but he also is regarded as one of the smartest coaches on the staff.

Pagano very well could have been named defensive coordinator in 2009 instead of Mattison, and it was rumored that former Ravens quarterback coach-now head coach of the Oakland Raiders-Hue Jackson was calling for Pagano’s services.

This move could be good for two more reasons. One, it could continue to keep Ed Reed in a Baltimore uniform instead of retiring, given Reed’s connection with Pagano going back to the University of Miami.

Secondly, Pagano was the defensive backs coach for the Raiders in  2005-2006, and was a big part in the developing of maybe the best corner in the league, Nnamdi Asomugha.

Asomugha is a free agent after his contract was voided by the Raiders. Could Pagano being at the helm influence his decision?

We’ll see.

We could also maybe seeing some other coaches coming and leaving over the coming weeks.

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Ravens even in the off-season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Mattison To Michigan, Pagano Promoted to Defensive Coordinator

Posted on 18 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

The Baltimore Ravens announced Tuesday Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison would leave the team after accepting the same position at the University of Michigan.

Mattison previously served in the same role with the Wolverines from 1995-1996; he coached the Wolverines’ Defensive Line from 1992-1996.

New Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke was the Defensive Ends coach in Ann Arbor from 1995-1996.

Mattison’s apparently departure comes just over 24 hours after Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh told reporters he expected his coaching staff to remain intact.

“I really like our coaching staff” said Harbaugh Monday. “I think we have a great, great coaching staff. Top to bottom-that includes all three coordinators, that includes every one of our position coaches, there’s not a guy that I’m disappointed in.”

The source confirmed Mattison’s decision was about his own comfort level and the team wanted him back in Charm City.

The team also confirmed Secondary Coach Chuck Pagano had been promoted to Defensive Coordinator, replacing Mattison.

Pagano recently finished his third season as the team’s secondary coach, his unit finished the 2010 season ranked 21st in the NFL against the pass, allowing 224.9 yards per game. The team’s defense finished the season ranked 10th in the league as a whole, allowing 318.9 yards per game.

Pagano’s only previous experience as a coordinator came at the college level. He served in the role at UNLV in 1991 and at North Carolina in 2007.

Ravens CB Cary Williams told WNST Tuesday he was excited about the news of Pagano’s promotion.

“Coach Mattison was a good coach, but Coach Pagano is a good coach too” said Williams. “I think everybody in the defensive room will be happy about the move. I don’t think we’ll be losing anything, I think we’ll actually be gaining something.”

Despite continuing rumors regarding the status of Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, a Ravens official confirmed to WNST Tuesday Cameron would be returning “for sure.”

Defensive Assistant Roy Anderson is considered a likely candidate to replace Pagano as Secondary Coach.

-G

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You can’t can Cam

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You can’t can Cam

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

The Ravens have a lot to think about in this off-season, which depending on the level of the NFL’s anticipated labor strife, could last much monger than usual this time around. Dropped balls, bad calls, blown leads and missed opportunities should and likely will haunt the members of this team for as long as it takes them to see enough success to put those memories into their proverbial rearview mirror.

 

Given the embarrassing fashion in which their season ended on Saturday, again at the unforgiving hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I’d imagine there’ll be a lot of off-season soul searching going on at every level of the organization.

 

Some of those who had a hand in Saturday’s loss will not be back; it’s the inevitability of professional football. And predictably one of the popular choices, at least amongst the fans, to not come back is offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

 

While I’m not in love with the body of work that Cameron has compiled here with the Ravens, and while I was also in the camp of those who were unimpressed with the hire when it happened, put me squarely in the camp of those who want Cam back for another shot at this thing. There are a number of factors that have led me to think this way, but here are, in my opinion, the most poignant.

 

First is the labor strife mentioned earlier. Who knows when this thing will be resolved? Even the most hopeful of fans has to believe that negotiations will run into, and therefore likely compromise OTA’s. Further, in the course of negotiating for a longer season and more money, the owners appear likely to be willing to severely scale back OTA schedules as a concession to the union.

 

That would mean that going forward, the suddenly chic turnover of coach and quarterback leading to instant success formula could be a short lived phenomenon and a relic of a now bygone era. Even if that’s not the case, surely an off-season in which there may not be OTA’s anyway, and in which the season itself may be forced to begin in haste is the worst possible time to think about jettisoning coaches or coordinators. Implementing a new system would be a hopeless proposition, so promoting within would have to be the logical next step anyway. Is Jim Zorn or Al Saunders that compelling right now?

 

On a related note, if 2011 has all of the expected trouble getting off the ground, there will likely be a number of teams in terrible situations for the reasons mentioned above. It would be foolish for a team that was so close to put themselves willingly into that category just for the sake of casting a scapegoat.

 

Second, for John Harbaugh to fire Cameron would look like an attempt to absolve himself from culpability in Saturday’s meltdown. The coordinators call the plays, but the coaches set the game plan. Cameron and Mattison both take their cues from Harbaugh. Throughout the season Harbaugh has eschewed the opportunity to play to win, rather than not to lose. That the coordinators follow suit with their play calling philosophies shouldn’t be a surprise. Again on Saturday, Harbaugh’s lack of aggression and subsequent mismanagement of the clock at the end of the first half showed no faith in the offense’s ability to use sound judgment while attempting to put a proverbial dagger in the Steelers. You could say that the tone for the second half began being set in those moments. Confidence is funny like that. The coach should have shown confidence in his offense.

 

Beyond that, since Harbaugh has apparently already indicated a desire to bring back his coordinators ahead of his year end meeting with Steve Bisciotti, backing off of that stance now would seem to give a clear indication that his had was being forced.

 

And lastly and in my mind most importantly, there’s Cameron’s potential to grow. We all have that. We learn from our mistakes. Sometimes we have to make those mistakes over and over again before we grow from them, but the capacity is there for all of us.

 

I know how not only the Ravens’ loss, but also the way that they lost has sat with me as a fan in the 36 hours or so since the final whistle blew. I also know that I can’t even begin to imagine how much it affected those responsible for it at every level. Hopefully there’s a fire burning inside of every member of the organization that will keep them up nights until they have a chance to finish what they started…whenever that may be.

 

That, after all, should have been the expectation anyway. You don’t hire a head coach who’s never done it before and expect everything to come easily. To their credit, Harbaugh and company have made it look too easy at times, so easy perhaps that we’re holding them all to an improbable standard if not an impossible one.

 

Maybe that’s what’s at the heart of it all. It is an improbable charge, but not an impossible one. The road to being Bill Bellichick is a typical one, albeit to atypical results, Look no further however than to Bellichick’s early coaching career to see where all of that savvy came from. Early struggles laid the groundwork for near unprecedented success later, after learning lessons the hard way.

 

Mike Tomlin however, has been the exception to the rule. Tomlin took charge of a team that was ready to win, and allowed them to do their thing, but he did take charge…complete charge. In so doing, he’s given us as fans the expectation that Harbaugh and company should be able to do the same. And they’re in the same division. The Ravens have gotten close…and they’re getting closer. Even in the wake of a monumental meltdown – especially in the wake of a monumental meltdown – they’re getting closer.

 

Allow them to grow Steve Bisciotti. If you want to help them to grow then empower them. Give Harbaugh his raise and his extension, he’s earned that. And give them all the assurance that fortune favors the bold. We’ve seen what the conservative approach to protecting a lead (and protecting your job) leads to. Give them the assurance that 21 point losses and 3 point losses will be judged as equal, as long as they are playing to win. Confidence is funny that way. The owner needs to show some in his coaching staff.

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Part 2 – Aftermath of a meltdown…who stays, who goes, now what?

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Drew Forrester

What do you do when you’ve been to the post-season three straight years and you can’t make it to the Super Bowl?

You could do what the Orioles do every off-season when they’re lamenting how they once again went 65-97 and finished so far back in the A.L. East race they were lapped heading into September: You could complain about being in the AFC…or the AFC North.

But that’s not the Ravens style. The Ravens aren’t complainers. They’re in the AFC and they’re in the AFC North and they need to figure out the combination to this lock the Steelers have applied to them over the last three years.

And then you have the Colts. They’ll always be around with what’s-his-name at quarterback. Same with the Patriots. They’re not going anywhere, either. The Jets look solid. The Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs are all worthy of at least keeping an eye on.

So what do the Ravens do on the heels of another playoff dismissal at the hands of the Steelers? First, please understand I’m making all of these assessments and reactions based on the notion that there WILL be football played in 2011. If the CBA issue alters the NFL’s course of business next season, there’s obviously a chance some of the changes either WILL or WON’T happen based on the league’s new financial structure.

For starters, let’s get the coordinators discussion over and done with so we can move on to other pressing matters that are actually up for discussion.

As I reported via Twitter on Sunday around 8am, Ravens sources tell me John Harbaugh will retain all three of his coordinators in 2011.

That word was passed on to me by two team executives on Saturday night. On both occasions, the reaction was swift and similar in content. “John is very satisfied with his coaching staff and the coordinators aren’t going anywhere, unless, of course, they don’t want to return here.”

It would seem, with that information at our disposal, that Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg will all be on staff next season.

I opined a few weeks back that I thought Cameron would NOT be retained in 2011 if the Ravens didn’t make the Super Bowl. Personally, if I ran the club? Truth? I wouldn’t bring Cameron back. I think he showed time and time again that he either doesn’t have the right feel for the game from a down-and-distance standpoint or he’s just too much of a gambler for my liking when the clock and the score dictates a more conservative approach. Both of those examples played out on Saturday in Pittsburgh, where he followed through with an attacking mindset in the 3rd quarter even with Baltimore pinned deep in their own territory and losing momentum by the play.

But I don’t run the team and my opinion doesn’t mean jack-squat. John Harbaugh hires and fires his coaching staff and it appears he’s bringing his three coordinators back in 2011.

The ONLY point of contention with Harbaugh and his staff would be intervention from Steve Bisciotti, but one team source indicated on Saturday that Bisciotti too is pleased with Harbaugh and his various coaches and department heads.

“Now is not the time to overreact,” said a team executive in the hours after Saturday’s loss. “Having the owner step in and upset the apple cart after three successful seasons isn’t our way of doing things.”

OK, I’ll agree on that one. Three years ago John Harbaugh was hired to change the direction of the football team. He has done that, with help from Cameron, Mattison and Rosburg.

Now…here’s Drew’s opinion on what the Ravens need to do in 2011.

It’s simple in theory.

The Ravens need an infusion of speed.

They need a fast, stretch-the-field, reliable wide receiver.

They need a speedy, menacing defensive end who can put his hand in the dirt and chase after the quarterback.

And they’re in need of linebackers who can not only play the pass, but can chase the quarterback too when the blitz call has their number on it. Dannell Ellerbe, Jameel McClain and Tavares Gooden — all are decent-enough pro players. But none are the answer to the team’s linebacking issues.

The Ravens probably need a bigger, faster number one cornerback, but their defensive woes are more connected to pass rush than secondary coverage. With all due respect to the more-than-acceptable job that Chris Carr and Josh Wilson gave in 2010, neither of those guys (continued)

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Not “Great Enough” to Beat Steelers, So Ravens Now Forced to Evaluate Everything

Posted on 16 January 2011 by Glenn Clark

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — After suffering another crushing playoff defeat Saturday, Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh offered a telling postgame statement.

“We just weren’t great enough today to win that football game.”

His team certainly wasn’t.

It was one more crushing defeat for the Ravens (13-5) against the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4), this time a 31-24 meltdown in the AFC divisional round at Heinz Field.

In three seasons under Harbaugh, the Ravens have suffered more than their fair share of such losses.

This one was likely the most crushing of the Harbaugh era, if not the most crushing in franchise history.

Leading 21-7 at the half, the Ravens appeared well on their way to a trip to the AFC Championship Game and well on their way to finally vanquishing their AFC North nemesis in the process.

Three turnovers later, the Ravens found themselves in a dogfight they wouldn’t win.

They were close.

For moments, they were great.

But in the end, Harbaugh was right. They weren’t great enough.

(Here’s the part where fans can feel free to add in the word “again.”)

Not being “great enough” is frustrating. It’s more frustrating when there’s no obvious answer regarding how the team can get there.

I posed the question to Harbaugh following the season ending defeat.

How does this team become “great enough”?

“That’s what we’ll have to study” responded Harbaugh. “We’ll go to work in the offseason and try to build our team the best way we can. Things come up and things happen, you’ve got to adjust and you’ve got to adapt. You never know on a journey what bend the road’s gonna take. You gotta overcome some adversity and some obstacles and we’ll have to build our team the best way we can to be great enough to these kind of games.”

I know what you’re thinking. It sounds like coach speak. It is to some extent. But there’s truth to it.

The truth is that the team really is close to being “great enough”.

On Saturday, it took a blown 14 point lead, those three turnovers, crucial late drops from WR’s Anquan Boldin & TJ Houshmandzadeh and a miraculous 58 yard pass from Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to WR Antonio Brown for the Ravens to be eliminated.

They were about as close to finally getting past the Steelers as possible without actually picking up a victory.

I asked Harbaugh after the game if after another crushing defeat he still believed the team was close to being “great enough”. He agreed, but he added one more thought.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

That’s the reality. The reality is that the Ravens are unbelievably close to turning the corner.

On Saturday night, they actually came to a stop right at the corner. They just couldn’t quite make the turn.

But turning the corner is still going to take a lot of work.

The Ravens have played three seasons with Harbaugh as head coach. In two of those seasons, losing came directly at the hands of the Steelers.

In breaking news (but not necessarily first reported by WNST), the Steelers aren’t coming off the schedule next season.

To become “great enough”, the Ravens are going to have to figure out a way to get past the Steelers.

As DT Haloti Ngata told me after the game, “something has to change, because it’s always them.”

There will be plenty of theories tossed around about how the Ravens can get over the hump.

Many in the fanbase will point their frustration towards Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, whose offense struggled to get out of their own way for the bulk of the 2nd half in the Steel City. Others will direct their frustration towards Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison, who continued to employ a three man rush in 3rd and long situations, including the 58 yarder that set up the game winning touchdown.

Personnel wise, the Ravens will have clear needs in their offensive line and pass rush, but will likely have to re-examine their receiving corps and defensive backfield as well.

Some changes could be out of their hands. Asked about his future after the game, WR Derrick Mason said “I’m not gonna think about it right now.”

C Matt Birk, S Ed Reed and TE Todd Heap could all be forced to similarly consider whether or not they will indeed return to the NFL next season.

FB Le’Ron McClain, RB Willis McGahee and Houshmandzadeh have never hid their displeasure with their roles in Cameron’s offense. Boldin has been less vocal, but has often looked frustrated.

McClain and Houshmandzadeh are joined in (at least potential) free agency this offseason by other valuable contributors like WR Donte’ Stallworth, OT Jared Gaither, OL Marshal Yanda, CB’s Chris Carr & Josh Wilson, S Dawan Landry, P Sam Koch, Ngata and more.

And then there’s the quarterback.

A week after finally putting together a “breakthrough” playoff performance in a Wild Card round win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, Joe Flacco returned to a more “pedestrian” level in the loss to the Steelers.

He was 16/30 for 125 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a lost fumble.

On the team’s final drive of the game he wildly overthrew Heap and threw a very poor deep ball to Mason before getting sacked. On 4th and long he threw a decent pass but it was dropped by Houshmandzadeh.

Following the loss, fans immediately took to Facebook and Twitter to ask a familiar question.

“Does Flacco have ‘it’?”

GM Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh will have to answer that question this offseason.

Harbaugh wasn’t just throwing around coach speak when he addressed what it would take to reach greatness. He was offering a truthful reflection regarding what the organization was going to have to this offseason.

The answer just wasn’t quite as fulfilling as some fans would want.

They were unbelievably close Saturday night. They were close enough that the Steelers needed a near miracle to win at home.

Yet this offseason will be one where they have to evaluate all aspects of their organization in order to determine what it will take to finally get past the Steelers.

Unreal.

At halftime, they were 30 minutes away from one of the greatest moments in franchise history.

In those 30 minutes, the collapse wasn’t suffered by the players and coaches alone.

The collapse was suffered by the entire organization.

-G

NOTES: Hear from Harbaugh, Flacco, Mason, McClain, Ngata, Houshmandzadeh, LB Ray Lewis, WR Marcus Smith, CB Lardarius Webb, LB Terrell Suggs and RB Ray Rice following the loss now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……Rice played despite flu-like symptoms Friday night, he said following the game he hadn’t eaten solid food in two days……The Ravens will return to 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills Monday to clean out their lockers. Harbaugh is scheduled to meet with the media

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