Flacco will get the blame, but only if you don’t actually watch the games…

November 04, 2013 | Drew Forrester

The Ravens are 3-5 now after a loss to the NFL’s equivalent of Charlie Brown and, per the usual standards of everyone, it’s time to find a scapegoat.

It’s ALWAYS someone, of course.

I have a feeling this week it’s gonna be Joe Flacco.

I heard a couple of national talking heads blabbering as I was driving in on Monday morning, and they’re already on the “ever since they paid Flacco, he’s stunk” theory.  It’s quite obvious those two goofs do the show from another planet or they simply haven’t watched the Ravens play this season.

Yet, in fairness, there will be people in Baltimore this week who will blame Flacco for the club’s 2013 woes and they actually DO watch the games.

Losing to Cleveland stinks.  No doubt about that.  I called Sunday’s loss in Cleveland “the worst of the Harbaugh-Flacco era”.  I can recall a few games along the way where they’ve played as poorly — road losses in Jacksonville, Seattle and Buffalo, this season, among them — but none of those came after a bye-week, none of those came against a division team you had owned for five years and none of those featured the completely inept performance of the Baltimore running game.

Look, there’s nothing wrong, really, with having “the worst loss…” or anything like that.  Bad games happen.  The other team tries, too, as I always remind all of you.  If you coach for five years or quarterback for five years, you’re bound to have a game that goes immediately to your “worst ever” list.

Sunday, though, was much more than just about Flacco, who clearly had another listless first half before kicking it into gear for a decent final 30 minutes.

It was about Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce not doing anything. Vonta Leach didn’t do anything, either, but he didn’t really play at all because they don’t have  a role for him for some odd reason.

It was about Marshal Yanda and Michael Oher both looking like they thought the game started at 8:25 instead of 4:25.

It was about Tandon Doss coughing up a punt at the absolute worst possible time, with the team trailing only 14-10 and looking like they were going to pull out one of those “a win is a win” kind of victories. As far as individual plays in the game go, that was the biggest one of the game.

It was about the Ravens defense — for the third straight loss now — not being able to get the other team’s offense off the field, regardless of whether it’s 3rd and 4, 4th and 1 or 3rd and 10.  Jason Campbell made a helluva play, granted, on that 4th-and-one throw that effectively sealed the game, but that’s been the Ravens’ defensive M.O. nearly all season.  They’re just not good enough.  They’re not horrible.  But they’re just as much of a liability “under the gun” as the team’s running attack on the offensive side of the ball.

And, lastly, it’s about a team that won the Super Bowl a year ago and the very-much expected “market correction” that comes along with it, no matter what the Head Coach said back in August and anyone else assumed over the last eight weeks.

The margin for error is now slimmer-than-slim for the Ravens, who likely have to go 6-2 at a minimum to qualify for the playoffs.  I can’t see that happening based on the first eight games of the campaign, but stranger things have happened — like the Jets losing by 40 points in Cincinnati one week and beating New Orleans the following Sunday.

Based on what I’ve seen, I’d call a 6-2 run from the club virtually impossible.

They don’t do anything well.

They do a bunch of stuff “OK”, but nothing stands out at all.

They’re just not that good.

Their record proves that.


Tomorrow: I’ll share some thoughts on John Harbaugh and his role in this 2013 team.

12 Comments For This Post

  1. Chris Says:

    I think you called it the beginning of the year when you predicted 8-8. Long term they’re fine. Short term it’s just a bad year where everything seems to be going wrong.

  2. Charlie Says:

    If I had to pick just one piece of commentary to sum up the situation so far this season, it’d be this one. Excellent work. . . Rebuilding is under way, and that’s not the worst thing in the world.

  3. The Armchair QB Says:

    Way too much expected of Flacco with no running game, poor pass protection, no TE’s (where’s Billy Bajema when you need him? LOL!) and no real “playmakers” at WR! At the risk of ridicule, I put much of the onus on….COACHING! Two weeks to prepare for Cleveland and this is the result? Harbaugh’s record is hard to argue with, but……he arrived here the same year as Flacco and inherited a veteran team that included some pretty savvy “coaches” on the field. It’s his team now and the results have been startling! Juan Castillo may be the best coach on the planet, but the fact is that since his arrival, the one reliable component of this offense over the years has….vanished! So, unless the talent on this team has suddenly collectively, “lost it”, much of the blame falls squarely on the…..coaching!

  4. OVER40DON Says:

    It seems the Ravens went with the approach, ( It aint broke but we’ll fix it anyway ) regarding the running game. I almost forgot Leach was on the team. I can wait another 10 years for a SUPERBOWL but would rather not of course.

  5. Vince Says:

    O-Line can’t run block.
    Pass rush not there.
    Defense that can’t stop a third stringer.
    Stupid p-foul penalties.
    It’s a rebuilding year after a super bowl win, calm down B-More, this franchise will not tolerate losing for any long stretch. We will not be in rebuilding mode long. There hasn’t been a super bowl repeat in a long time. This is the way the NFL has designed it. We have a top tier franchise. Be proud!

  6. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    I don’t think they are going 6&2 for the rest of the year. Players play will show who wants to be here next year & those with big cap numbers just might be gone !!!

  7. BK Says:

    I don’t mind rebuilding and having a bad year every once in while. However, what are we ‘rebuilding’ when it comes to the O-line? No ‘young but will develop’ O-lineman I see right now. Everything else seems to be fine long term, but we better get a few good free agents/draft picks for the O-line or all the rebuilding in the world is not going to help this team.

    I lay 90% of the blame on the O-line and if they were playing the way they thought they would, I don’t think we would be mentioning a lot of the other things going wrong. As for the blaming Flacco thing, I know it is the O-line, but you can’t ignore some of the awful throws and missed receivers from yesterday during the times he actually had some protection. He horribly underthrew Smith on 2 or 3 occasions when he was wide open and woefully under-threw Doss (I think?) on that long completed pass play where he had to cut left after catching the ball, or he would have walked into the endzone.

    Flacco may no the the problem, but he sure is not helping at times like a 120mil QB should be. Other top QB’s may still be struggling with this team, but they also may have helped more than Joe is right now. We can’t have him having ONE good half a game right now with the way this team is playing. That is not what he is paid for as I am sure he would not want the Ravens to take half of his 120mil away as well!

  8. Unitastoberry Says:

    This was to be Harbs year to coach up many guys with no locker room leadership , in spite of injuries he gets an F so far. Ozzies offseason moves are looking like an F too. The real puzzle is our running backs my goodness how the mighty have fallen.

  9. Dan Says:

    NOW I see why Oz didn’t keep Boldin , He knew they were going to stink
    (you can insert not going to play well) if stink is to strong a word – so why pay him 6 mil . Anquan wouldn’t had been much help anyway . it all makes sense now .

  10. Mark Says:

    Coach Harbuagh saw enough last year and got rid of Cameron. How much longer before he pulls the plug on his buddy Castillo. Flacco wasn’t touch in the playoff run and this season with much of the same talent (minus Birk) the line is awful. Who coaches them? That is my take on it.

  11. tsnamm Says:

    Ray Rice doesn’t even look like the same player from last year..ineffective is an understatement of the Ravens running game in general. This makes the Ravens offense so one dimensional, even if they had a GOOD O line it would be trouble stopping the rush. Throw in the fact that they don’t pick up any blitzes, Joe running for his life, and being hit HARD more than I have ever seen, it all adds up to 3-5. I will say Joe was as inaccurate as I can ever remember seeing him in the 1st half Sun; underthrowing, missing, and miscommunicating with recievers.He sure seems to be getting used to running the ball a lot more, which tells you everything you need to know about the protection. If he ends up getting hurt constantly having to run away from pressure, then we will see who gets the blame.

  12. Russ Says:

    Okay, there seems to be an exclusive ‘Hate Flacco Club’ in this town. Hard to understand but it DOES exist. They have hated the guy since the start. They all crowed ‘they’ll never go to the Super Bowl or win it with Flacco’. Again, lets review…he has been the QB to take us to the playoffs every year he has been here…so far. I’ll take that. He was the QB of a team that went to the Super Bowl and WON last year. This really pissed off the charter members of the club. It made them look foolish and threw cold water on their supposed knowledge of sports…football in general. They stewed in silence and hated to see the accolades given to Flacco’s remarkable post season run. Now, as he HAS played inconsistantly, along with the rest of the team I must mention, they get their chance to again spew their ignorance. The fans of other teams and players laugh at there lack of common sense. They see the guy as a tangible threat to win any given game. Most teams in the NFL would die to have a QB of his talent. (see Jacksonville, Cleveland, Tenn, Arizona, Buffalo and so on) They have struggled for years to find a QB to take them to a playoff,much less a Super Bowl. Is Flacco a Tom Brady or a Drew Brees, of course not, but he is good enough to go to the playoffs and win. I’ll take that any day. I don’t fully understand this line of thinking…he’s not arrogant, in fact he is rather humble..well spoken, a family man, don’t see him associated with controversy, except when a reporter sticks a mike in his face and asks if he is elite. Give me a break….what a stupid question number one and number two, what is he supposed to say? Do the fans here really feel Tyrod Taylor gives the Ravens a better chance or do the members yearn for the days of Anthony Wright and Kyle Boller. Do they realize how difficult it is to get a QB capable of taking you to the playoffs? As for his contract…he didn’t hold out for a bigger contract, he gambled on himself last year, won, and the Ravens awarded him with the contract. THAT is sports today…wake up and smell the coffee!

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