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October 23, 2013
MIS-FIRES: As fans gnash their teeth for two weeks the Ravens have to tear apart the first part of the season and figure out what can be done to right the ship for the final run. They have dug a hole and will have to scrap and claw their way through the last nine games to make a push at the Playoffs. Fans do not have an inside view of the Team so we can only guess at why this team is looking like it has a malaise that may knock it out of the playoff run sooner rather than later.
 1. Injuries: Let's get this one out of the way first, since it is the weakest point. Every team has some injuries and that does not spell doom automatically. It does influence the parts that were to be in place, and depending on when it happens, it can put players who have not had reps into the fire-fight. It also moves second-tier players to first string and lesser players into ST roles. Obviously the Pitta injury was a big one; since that was to fill the Boldin hole. Trawick's hit on Jones in the first game shook up the team on Offense and ST. Several defensive players have been hurting; especially in the line. KO appears to have an ailing back and Yanda appears not to be fully back from his surgery. Stokley has been limping along for the last few weeks. The personnel that would have to fill in for the injured players does not seem to be good enough; at least at this time. 
 2. Failed Personnel: It is always difficult to hit a HR on players that are drafted or signed as FA's. The problem comes when the team expects to get something from someone and their performance creates a hole because they cannot even give an average performance. The Huff signing is very perplexing since he does not appear to be able to" Play like a Raven"; he is not very good mentally and does not appear to be able (or willing) to tackle. On Sunday, he was part of the mess on ST that allowed the late TD on the KO (that was called back). He was signed to fill a gap in the secondary and has come up empty. McKinnie was re-signed, despite the knowledge that he gave no effort (except on a Party Bus). Now he is gone because he was not putting out a solid performance to protect Flacco's blind-side and open holes in the running game. Surprised? And that failure caused the team to do something that they do not normally do - give away draft picks for Monroe. Jeromy Miles was signed as a ST player and yet he was off-sides on the on-sides kick. And Asa Jackson was to be a help on the defense and probably ST, but he gets suspended for eight games.
 3. Coaching: A well-respected O-Line Coach is brought in to re-do the schemes for the O-Line. As is obvious now, this team does not have the personnel to make that work and trying to teach a turkey to fly is an accident waiting to happen. Why was that necessary in the first place? Is the new wave in the NFL to have Lean-and-Athletic O-Lineman rather than Maulers? Is that a shift because of the focus on passing in the league? If so, I am not sure how you can transition that scheme unless you are willing to blow up the Line to get the proper personnel in place. I do not think it is the thing to do if your goal is to make the playoffs. Tweaking a team is what to do when you have the chance to compete; throwing out the old ways is what you do in a "rebuilding" year.

 IMHO, there is a cultural change that is in the works as well. I see a change from players that are the focus to a "Patriots-like" model that the Coach is the driving force. That view says that you get Average/Above-average players that you can dump at will rather than "Bigger than Life" Players that influence how things are handled (and can lead to the inmates running the asylum). It also allows you to make moves without big Cap Hits. Big player personalities can help if they know the boundaries; but there is always the risk that the dog will bite. Altering the culture in the locker room is a very tricky thing to do since it can lead to a team that does not have the peer pressure that can make players do things to succeed. I really thought that bringing in veterans who had the desire for a ring would help; but so far that has not pushed the envelope. 

 We will see how Harbaugh reviews the roster and the coaching and whether he makes big moves or just tweaks things. I think that this is a big moment in this transition year. As much as he can take control, he can also lose the team. It is a delicate balance.

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October 21, 2013
PITTSBURGH 19 - BALTIMORE 16 (3-4) : A very disappointing game in the AFC North that puts the Ravens in a difficult position going into the Bye. Although I did not have a good feeling about a game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh with their season on the line, it was a winnable game and the team was not up to the challenge.
 The Defense was ripped by a running game that limped into the contest as one of the worst. The Steelers were able to move the ball at will, and came up with trick plays ...

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October 21, 2013
GAME DAY IN PITTSBURGH: An AFC North match-up that has historically been like a street-fight and decided by less than 7 points. These teams punch/claw/smack to see who is the last man standing. The biggest thing to be concerned about after who wins is how many casualties are listed on Monday. That defines why people get psyched for a Steelers' game every year. 
 The Coaches and Players know what is going on in the Castle and on Sundays. We as Fans have a limited knowledge, but are vested with ...

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October 18, 2013
PURPLE FRIDAY : This is Steelers Week - and yet it feels lackluster. Is there a Super Bowl Hang-Over for Fans too? Or is it because this team is 3-3, has stumbled/fumbled/bumbled their way through the first six games; showing no spark, no imagination and no passion in four quarters of each game. There are problems with the O-Line, vanilla Play-calling and big injuries.

 1. There are 10 games left, so it is hard to identify something as "crucial". The Ravens are one game back of the Bengals and...

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October 16, 2013
THE NEW WEEK: So the Ravens get ready to face the Steelers on Sunday in Pittsburgh, and neither team is getting any Love. Of course, based on how they have started the 2013 Season it is hard to see two powerhouses in the AFC North - or even any team in the North that "wows" you.
 I would say that listening to Sports Radio this week is tough. I do get the assurance that I am not the dumbest sports fan on the block, so there is that benefit. There are so many of the callers who (1) Play Madden a...

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October 14, 2013
GREEN BAY 19 - BALTIMORE 17 (3-3) : The score does not reflect how the game was played. Aaron Rodgers was able to move his team and escape the rush, chewing up the clock when it was needed and getting away from the pressure when it was applied. The Ravens were able to stay close but failed to play like a good team. For a Home Game, this was not a strong performance.

 1. The Offense continues to struggle. The running game is a Total Failure; starting with the O-Line. There are no holes and Rice...

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October 14, 2013
GAME DAY: A damp, misty, and probably rainy day in Baltimore for the Ravens to host the Green Bay Packers. The Ravens have a good home record and have not lost to an NFC Team under Harbaugh here. The Packers are one of the teams that the Harbaugh-led Ravens have not beaten (albeit one game in GB).

 Rain can benefit a passing game, since receivers know their routes and defenders have to adjust too quickly. Rodgers is one of the best QB's, has a quick release, and has an arsenal of good receiver...

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October 9, 2013
MIDWEEK MEANDERINGS: I have not had a chance to view the recordings of the last two games, but I have seen some clips of various plays. As of now, here are some thoughts from being at the games and how the season has developed through five games:
 1. The trade for Monroe is a help, but whatever is the problem for the O-Line needs to be fixed. Flacco was slow to get up several times in the last two games and some of the shots made me cringe. Although I understand that throwing Shipley into the ...

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October 9, 2013
BALTIMORE RAVENS 26 - MIAMI DOLPHINS 23 (3-2): Getting to bed at 2:30 AM after the trip to Florida makes for a LOOONNNNGGG Monday. But it was a fulfilling return with a win under the belt. The Ravens made it happen - even if it was not at a prime performance.
 1. Dickson and Doss suddenly appeared on the scene. Dickson's first catch was an excellent play and he made things happen (like he was supposed to before). Doss ran some good routes and made the plays at the right times. I am not sure if...

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October 9, 2013
GAME DAY IN MIAMI: Reporting from a hot place for football. The Baltimore Ravens face the Miami Dolphins for a fight to get the team back on track. 
 The Offense needs to get on track and the team needs to keep from slipping behind the Mighty Browns. Stokley was cut and Bajema was re-signed but the run game has got to get on track. They need to return to the road-grading blocking to get the game set. Finesse is not a Baltimore staple so let's just smack them in the mouth.
 While I sweat through...

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About Major Offense:  

Captain Offense - 10/26/2008

Promoted to Major 12/11/2011. 

A serious fan since 1996.

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