As Ravens new era begins, clouds still hang over team.
As The Chargers entered the victory formation, the realization came over the team and it’s fans that the impossible ride had come to an abrupt end. Sitting at 4-5, going into week 11, it appeared that The Ravens chances of making the playoffs were all but lost but they started to win and finished the regular season 6-1 and snatching the division away from the arch rival Steelers; a better end than everyone expected. However, even though the Ravens accomplished the impossible this season, the final game left everyone with the same concerns when the season began.
It appeared that Lamar Jackson had saved Harbaugh’s job but at the end of the season, the Ravens and Harbaugh are at an impasse with his contract negotiations. I believe this has to do with Harbaugh’s choice in offensive coordinators since his tenure started. Cam Cameron was fired with 3 games left 2012 due to poor performance, Gary Kubiak (not Harbaugh’s choice) left to become Broncos head coach after 2014, Marc Trestman didn’t make it pass the bye week in 2016 and now Marty Mornhinweg has shown no sign of offensive growth as they are only successful running a Navy style offense. Eric DeCosta has to see a trend that has to be concerning, especially if Harbaugh would be in charge of finding yet another OC to try and take Lamar to the next level. It would be one thing if these coordinators took better jobs else where but that is not the case. Harbaugh wants to be able to pick his people but DeCosta can see that has been problematic on the offensive side of the ball.
As bad as Lamar played in the Wild Card game, the Ravens decided to stick with their rookie QB, putting the final stamp on Flacco’s career in purple and black. The team made in clear they looking to trade Flacco for some form of compensation to avoid a dead cap penalty but are willing to eat it if there are no takers. The question surrounding Lamar and the offense is what will it look like next season? The organization knows the RPO style they ran in the last 8 games will not be successful in 2019. Can Lamar fix his fumble woes? Can he become more accurate from the pocket? Those remain to be seen but this kid loves the game and proving doubters wrong but his growth will only be determined by who’s coaching him. It’s also going to be tough to try and convince free agent receivers to come and play in a run heavy offense, so the Ravens will have no choice but draft better at that position.
The defense ended the season as the best all around but some mainstays are likely leaving. Weddle is probably being released or retiring as he has lost a step when it comes to coverage. Tony Jefferson hasn’t been able to stop tight ends and will probably be cut. Jimmy Smith, whether through injury or off the field issues, hasn’t been reliable to play 16 games, Suggs is a shell of himself and Mosley, while a decent linebacker, may be asking for too much money seeing as he is a liability in coverage over the middle. The questions become do we like Peanut and Kenny Young taking over at MLB? Is Matt Judon a better option now than Suggs? Who is out there at Free and Strong Safety to replace Weddle and Jefferson?
With Ozzie leaving a hall of fame career as GM, DeCosta will have a lot of big decisions to make in 2019 that will mold the team for at least the next 5 years. With the Bengals window closed and the Steelers in turmoil, it’s a battle for AFC North supremacy against the up and coming Browns, DeCosta will have the tough job of taking the Ravens from a “if they make the playoffs...” team to an Super Bowl contender. It’s still very unclear how this will look this coming September but it will start to become clearer when we hit the draft in April. The Ravens want to sit at the big table but they can’t be afraid to make unpopular moves, scared money don’t make money.
About The Author
Born and raised in Baltimore, graduate of Woodlawn High school and graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Avid Orioles and Ravens fan since day 1 and just all around sports junkie. I’ve been writing articles for 2 years now and I also host my podcast “Live from the hammock” on Facebook and Youtube during the NFL season. Follow me for all things Ravens and Orioles and my articles on Instagram (agent_beige) and Twitter (@miwelsthegreat).