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Ravens Roost


September 29, 2009 2:55 AM

Are the Ravens for real?

This is the question that is being bandied about all throughout the media, and by fans in general. Is this Ravens team as good as they appear? Everyone knows that the Ravens have long been identified as a team with a mediocre offense and a suffocating defense. That M.O. got them to a Super Bowl victory, but they haven't been back since. Last season the team got as close as you can get to going back to the show but fell to the often dispised, and vastly overated Pittsburgh Steelers. So the question begs to be answered, are this years Ravens good enough to clear that last hurdle and get back to a Super Bowl birth?

For starters it is way too early to be making any Super Bowl predictions, this is after all only Week 3, and too much can happen in the next 14 weeks to make a definitive judgment now. However it is legitimate to ask if the Ravens have improved substantially from last season. The main stream media guys are going to say that the team hasn't played any significant teams other then the Chargers, and the Ravens barely got out of there with a win. Of course this is the same bunch that said the very same thing last season all the way up to the playoffs. Their lack of objectivity renders them pretty much useless in this argument.

So, the question remains, are the Ravens as good as they have looked so far? All one needs to do is look at the facts;

Fact, the offensive line is much better now then it was a year ago. The addition of Matt Birk to give a veteran presence and guidance to this young group is starting to pay dividends. Just look at how many times Willis McGahee has gone into the end zone untouched this season. ( For those not keeping score that would be 5 out of 6 times) Look at how much better the pass protection has been with Joe Flacco hardly being touched during a game. How many times have the tight ends been required to stay in and pass protect? I would say this unit is in the top 5 in the league, and in a year or two should be number one, and hold that position for quite some time. 

Fact, Joe Flacco has went from a quarterback who had to play the outside of the field last season to a quarterback who uses the whole field to his advantage. He's developed one of the best long balls in the game and his laser sharp passes have been finding their mark far more often then they were a year ago. His dedication to studying the game has improved his ability to read defenses and his leadership has come to the forefront among his team mates. Joe Flacco is showing everyone that he's the real deal.

Fact, The Ravens secondary is better then it was a year ago. The addition of Dominique Foxworth and Chris Carr have made this a better secondary then the team had last season. While I don't see Samari Rolle coming back to play the game again this group can get along without him.

Fact, The defense is still one of the best in the league, and after seeing them move up from 17th to 7th in one game leads you to believe this defense will be in the top 5 throughout the year. You don't have to worry about this unit, they'll be fine.

Fact, After a solid season under their belts the coaching staff has a better handle on the players they have, and know how far they can expand their playbook. So far it's been paying off, and I can only envision it will get better as the season progresses. Just imagine what Cam Cameron has in store down the road.

I would say this team is significantly better then it was a year ago, and if they don't make the playoffs I'll be amazed. If they don't win the AFC North I'll be amazed. The Ravens have a chance to silence their critics with a victory over the Patriots at Foxborough this weekend. If they can come out on top then I don't want to see any more negativity from the main stream press. If they come up a little short, but play well the same goes.  I think this team is going to surprise everyone this season, and that's said without wearing my purple shades.   

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