Opening day was a good thing. A good thing for the fans, for the city, and for the Ravens players as well. It was also a good day for coach John Harbaugh, as he won his first ever NFL match up. A win will do amazing things for you. But the NFL is about the long haul, and there are few teams that can sustain those winning ways week after week.
One game isn't enough to convince us that the Ravens are going to the playoffs, though I'm not ready to discount that just yet either. Harbaugh may have been what this team needed. A strict approach, a mindset that puts the team first, and a new energized attitude that can build into something special. It might not happen this season, but it will happen.
It's anybodies guess as to how long that change takes to arrive, but I'm betting it's sooner rather then later....
This week will be another test, and it will be against a better opponent. While the Houston Texans got hammered by the Steelers, it doesn't mean that they'll be a pushover. I'm guessing that the loss will have them more fired up then they were on opening day. After all this will be their home opener, and they don't want to fail their fans. This isn't a game that the Ravens players can take lightly. As Brian Billick told the team in 2000; "When you go in the lions den you don't tippy toe in, you carry a spear, you go in screaming like a banshee, you kick whatever doors in, and say, 'where's the SOB.' If you go in any other way your gonna lose."
I'm of a mindset that believes there isn't a whole lot that separates the good teams from the bad ones. Many times just one or two players can make the difference between a winning team and a losing one. These are the best players in the world, and any team can beat another on any given Sunday. The NFL wanted parity, and they got it.
So, are the Ravens up to the test? They just might be. John Harbaugh has paid attention to detail so far, keeping his team focused , and upping the tempo of everything they do. He had them practice at game speed, even going so far as to install both a 30 second clock as well as a game clock at Westminster and the Ravens complex in Owings Mill. The faster tempo of the offense was apparent on opening day, and I don't see things slowing down any time soon. This team defiantly had a different attitude then they had a year ago, and I think that will only grow stronger as the season progresses.
The season is just beginning and you know there will be games where everything seems to go wrong. Joe Flacco will make mistakes, the defense will blow coverages, players will fumble the ball, and all the other horrors that can happen during an NFL game will happen at some point this season. Nobody expects any team to go undefeated, and the Ravens certainly won't.
I'm looking to see where the team stands after Week 4. By then they will have played the Browns and the Steelers, and it will give us a good indication of how this team stacks up in the AFC North, and how this season will go. I believe this team will show improvement each week. They aren't going to run the table, but I think they'll be in every game they play. This is the beginning of something special, you can just feel it coming.