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What this team needs next season.


thundercleetz
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This is obviously a very talented team. You do not go 13-5 and have the lead, or tie for the lead, going into the fourth quarter in 17 out of 18 games. That is no fluke. We are just as talented as any other team in this league. Where we fall flat in comparison to the other AFC elite is depth. And this is probably the reason for our fourth quarter collapses. I feel where are actually more talented at the starting positions across the board than teams like the Steelers, Jets, and Pats. However, all these teams have back-ups that can fill in and pick up the slack when the starters are tired with little drop off.

 

For example, look at our pass rush. Sure, Suggs is an elite rusher. Ngata gets good pressure as well. But outside of these two guys, who do we have? JJ and Redding are decent (although Redding improved his play as the season went on), and Kruger is getting better. But Suggs is the only guy who can bring it off the edge. If Suggs is tired, we are screwed. The Steelers and Jets have three, four guys deep that can come in and provide a rush off of the edge. With the amount of time our defense is on the field, our pass rush got tired, which directly effects the play of the secondary as the opposing QB had time to pick a part our secondary.

 

The same is the case on the offensive line. Last year we had Gaither and Oher on the book ends, very solid. However, Gaither goes down. Oher goes from being an excellent right tackle to a average, above-average left tackle. Yanda goes from being a powerful, Pro-Bowl calibur right guard, to a guy that is undersized and out of position at right tackle (although, Yanda gave a hell of an effort every single game, I love the guy). Then we have to insert Chester at right guard, and suddenly that right side goes from being brute powerful to undersized, weak, and essentially useless in the run game. We need Gaither back, whether he is on the left or right side, and we need some solid depth behind the starters.

 

Now, on to our wide receiver corp. GUT IT. Kevin Van Valkenburg made a very solid point in the Sun following our loss:

 

All you have to do is look at the Steelers wide receiver corps if you want your answer. Other than Hines Ward, the Steelers have a group of young, fast guys who stretch the field and put pressure on safeties and corners. And if you watched the Packers-Falcons game, you saw Aaron Rodgers hitting guys who looked like they got a turbo boost as soon as they caught the ball. The Ravens don't have a receiver who can run away from anyone after the catch. Boldin can run over them, but not away from them.

 

Even if the Ravens don't find someone to stretch the field, they need to find a slot receiver who is quick enough that he creates problems for linebackers in the middle of the field. Maybe you can't find the next Wes Welker or Percy Harvin, but you need to find someone who explodes out of his cuts and finds open space.

 

Five Things We Learned in the Ravens 31-24 loss

 

We need to follow the Steelers formula. Boldin, TJ, and Mason are all too similar. Get rid of TJ and Mason and let Boldin be the Hines Ward of our offense, the guy that does the dirty work all over the field. Get a group of young, speedy receivers to then pressure the secondary. Mike Wallace is only a second year receiver, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown are rookies. All three guys have world class speed and can eat up a DB’s cushion really quickly if they are caught flat footed. Mason and TJ cannot do this. David Reed showed he has very good playing speed he needs to be ready to step in next year. Bring back Stallworth and give him a bigger part in the offense.

 

Even though Boldin dropped that crucial touchdown pass, he is still very talented and a legitimate number one receiver in this league. We did not use him to the best of his talents. Joe never looked his way. There are a number of reasons for this: Joe needs to look his way more, Cam needs to design more plays where Boldin is the primary receiver (in fact, Boldin needs to be the primary receiver on nearly every play), and Mason is too much of an influence in Joe’s ear where it is detrimental to the team’s play on offense. Joe seems to throw to Mason even when he is not open. Boldin never got any of those throws. Joe has too much trust in Mason which resulted in a lot of bad throws this season.

 

The scouting report on our receiver core was that we were slow and couldn’t get open. With Boldin, TJ, and Mason on the field, there was no speed to pressure the secondary, so the defense could cloud the field making field a lot smaller than it should be for Joe. Get rid of Mason and TJ. Give Boldin more passes on crossing routes, slants, and screens that allow him to gain YAC. The way we used Boldin was a complete waste of his talent.

 

In the defensive secondary, Landry needs to go. He cannot cover and he is a horrible tackler, simple as that. Wilson should be re-signed. He got better as the year went on and is physical at corner. Webb was just starting to get his speed back and should only be better next season, especially with his work ethic. Believe me, that last pass will haunt him all offseason. Then we will get Foxworth back next season. This group obviously lacks a true #1 corner, but we have a lot of solid #2’s. I could definitely see us drafting a corner in the first or second round. If we do that and get a new starting strong safety, we should be fine as long as we get some depth in the pass rush.

 

As far as our own free agents:

 

1. Sign Ngata. Give the guy whatever he wants, he’s worth it.

2. SIGN KOCH AND CUNDIFF LONG-TERM. No brainer, two Pro-Bowl caliber players. Sign them to five-year deals and you will not have to worry about your special teams for the next five years.

 

The rest of the guys in my opinion are replaceable. Sure, McClain would be nice to bring back, but he’s a fullback, it’s not a premium position. I would like Wilson and Carr back, but it would not be the end of the world. Yanda would be a great guy to bring back, but he might be in line for big money elsewhere. He is a Raven player to the bone though, I am sure Ozzie will do his best to keep him. Ngata, Koch, and Cundiff are simply not replaceable.

 

So in review, this is what we need to do this offseason:

 

1. DEPTH on the offensive line and defensive pass rush

2. Get rid of Mason and TJ and get speedy receivers

3. Re-sign Ngata, Koch, and Cundiff

4. Draft a corner early or sign a good one

 

This team is close, and these goals are certainly very realistic. Ozzie will have his work cut out for him once again, but I have full faith that he will once again improve this team.

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Nice, well thought out thread cleetz.

 

McClain just talked himself off the Ravens roster from what I hear. That's one gone.

 

Early rumors have it the Harbaugh gets a raise and contract extension with Cam and Matty coming back.

 

TJ wants to stay. Derrick wants to go for another year.

 

I agree with all your points...especially depth and getting more speed at WR. The receiver thing is a concern because when's the last time the Ravens drafted a good one? Never a #1 WR. Never.

Stokeley was very good but he could never stay healthy. Clayton was ok.

 

Yea...the Ravens have to upgrade on Landry and get some serious safety help with Ed Reeds situation.

 

They need linebackers and yes...that corner that you speak about.

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They should keep one receiver, probably Boldin and fill the rest with minimum wage players and rookies. With Joe as your QB there is no reason to have multiple good receivers.

 

Offense wise they should spend all their money on OL, that way they can keep Joe upright and improve the running game to a point where we may not need a good QB. Now the downside is that if the line gives Joe more time then he may dance around looking lost a lot more.

 

On defense it all depends on who comes back. The defense made some mistakes, and some at key times, but IMO the defense was good enough to win it all if the offense played like it should have.

 

I am fine with the OC, DC, and HC all coming back and hope they do. I think all did a decent to good job.

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Guest BallTMore

Www

The WR position, something is amuck there..TJ, Boldin & Stallworth, they are top WR"s..

 

 

Stallworth wasn't used, and he should have been. Our other three WRs are slower route runners.

 

When you have an o line that can't pass block and slow receivers it just doesn't work out too well.

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Www

 

 

Stallworth wasn't used, and he should have been. Our other three WRs are slower route runners.

 

When you have an o line that can't pass block and slow receivers it just doesn't work out too well.

 

 

All 3 of those WR's have over 600 receptions, they aint that slow.

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Cleetz, Max and Crav,

 

Good points ! Gotta get that pass rusher to compliment Suggs, another shutdown CB (go after Namdi Asomwagh (sp?), and a speedster WR.

 

Have to return to a smash mouth running game which can only happen with major line improvements at LT, RT and C. If we want to compete with our good friends in the Burgh, we better make these moves. Otherwise, the best we can hope for is somewhere between 9 and 12 wins and a shot at the playoffs.

 

:gorave:

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We better hope its towards the 12 win season next year, you know the Bengals will be back.

2010 was the Bengals obligatory year off, and we went from first to worst in the division. Talk about depressed... but cheer up Crav. At least your team made the playoffs. Plus I started up the fantasy Nascar league if you're interested in playing again this year. I'll PM you and Force with the league number and password.

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Draft:

 

OL. 1-2rd tackle and C/G.

Passrush, ILB and safety depending on Ray/Reed. FB in round 4-6.

WR and CB not my first priority.

 

Resign Ngata, Koch and Cundiff!

Gaither and Wilson if possible, Chester and TJ or Stallworth maybe.

L. McClain nope see you elsewhere.

 

And Mason and Birk please retire.

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2010 was the Bengals obligatory year off, and we went from first to worst in the division. Talk about depressed... but cheer up Crav. At least your team made the playoffs. Plus I started up the fantasy Nascar league if you're interested in playing again this year. I'll PM you and Force with the league number and password.

I'm in.

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