A few elements have surely changed since then.
Just ask Terrell Suggs. How’s it going, T-Sizzle?
“Not good, ” Suggs grumbled. “I hate losing the rivalry game. ”
Even worse, after a last-second loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens (3-4) — with so many vets, such as Male impotence Reed, Anquan Boldin and He Birk, departed from the title team — are not even batting. 500 as they head into a now-longer bye weekend.
They are the initial defending Super Bowl champion using a losing record after seven games since the, ahem, Steelers in 2006.
That’s why Suggs has declared that the team was in the “state of emergency. ”
And it’s no wonder coach John Harbaugh threatened jobs when talking about special-teams woes — Jeromy Kilometers was offside on a surprise onside kick and the kickoff coverage unit allowed a 44-yard return to setup the Steelers’ winning field objective Sunday — during his day-after news conference.
“If it means changing people out, after that that’s what we’ll do, ” Harbaugh said. “We’ll trade guys, we’ll cut guys, we’ll sign guys, we’ll coach guys, we will change schemes — it doesn’t matter. We’ll find a way to get better. ”
This is a good time for a bye and the chance to self-evaluate and reassess.
Last year the Ravens went into the bye with a stench, as well, after getting blown out in your own home by the Houston Texans. It arranged the stage for the crucial team meeting when players vented concerns to Harbaugh, whose threats regarding job security should not be taken gently.
Harbaugh, remember, fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron keep away from and promoted Jim Caldwell into the role.
Now it might be Caldwell with a slew of issues to sort through. Ray Rice is averaging 2 . 8 yards the carry, which matches the team average that is worst in the league. Without a decent running game, a lot else gets thrown out of whack. Like the deep passing game, among reflections of Joe Flacco’s challenges (eight TDs, eight interceptions, 20 sacks).
There are, however , extenuating circumstances. Super Bowl hero Jacoby Jones missed four games with a knee injury. Tight finish Dennis Pitta is trying to come back from hip surgery. Rice has been slowed by a hip injury.
Monroe was obtained because Bryant McKinnie, traded to the Arkansas Dolphins on Monday for a conditional pick, significantly regressed.
“Nobody cares about your adversity, ” Caldwell said as he stopped in the hallway. “This is a performance league. ”
Meanwhile, the defense that ranks second in the NFL in sacks (25) and red-zone scoring (26. 3%) hasn’t consistently stopped the run. The particular Steelers trampled the Ravens to get 141 yards on the ground a week following the Green Bay Packers gashed them for 140. Before that, the Buffalo Bills chalked up 203 yards.
It might possess something to do with the seven new beginners (including cornerback Lardarius Webb, back again from the torn ACL that worn out his 2012 campaign) that defensive coordinator Dean Pees is fielding. There are two new safeties and two new inside linebackers. With the new faces, it is more difficult to create in-game adjustments.
And did we mention the strut? With three losses in 4 games, that’s missing, too.
Performance is the real confidence-builder. Just because the Ravens fought through stumbles and got hot for any Super Bowl run last period doesn’t mean they will catch the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals.
Repeating is always difficult. The same magic and momentum of the prior season rarely return intact, proved by the fact three teams over the last 20 years have repeated.
So this was always going to be considered a tough encore act for the Ravens, with the most pronounced roster overhaul of any defending champ. In times like these, they would always get an inspirational speech from Lewis.
What would Lewis say regarding now?
“He’d state, basically, ‘There’s a whole lot of season left, ‘” Dickson said. “‘Battle for your brothers. ‘ I think we will be fine. Our goals are still in front of us.
“Last year, we weren’t the best team in the middle of the year. But we were the best team at the end. ”
Which was a long time ago.
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