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  1. #1

    Last year and this year



    On the drive home Sunday the airwaves were filled with discussion about why this team is better than last year. I didn't agree with all of it....here's my take.

    1. Momentum/Quick start (both in the games and the season)- We needed to start fast and we did. The fact is that the team's mental state last year was defined by the outcomes of the first couple of games. Are the Bucs a bad team or did we ruin them similarly to the way the Colts ruined us?

    2. Stellar defensive play against scheduled opponents - Our defense has played better than last year so far. Granted we haven't faced the league's elite offenses but this early, confidence building, fear instilling success we've had will help us during our challenges that are around the corner.

    3. Better discipline - A few slips yes, but overall we have played with more discipline. The continued discipline will be critical for over the next three weeks. We will play a desperate team this Sunday and we can't let their frustration take us out of our game.

    4. Better run game - Last year our run offense was miserable. This year we are making nice holes for our three fine tailbacks. Given the leads we've had this is even more impressive as I expect teams are expecting the run.

    5. Chemistry - With a passing game that is no better than last years the team is rallying together due to successes in the other areas. This is important and should help hold the fort down until our passing game improves (which it must). Winning when our game is "off"...thats what champions do.

    6. Health - A bit early to judge, but last year by the second half of our first game we were playing our second string qb. If that happens at some point this year, we'll be no worse than last year before losing our starter.

    7. Coaching - Mr Billick seems less stubborn with the way he's distributing the ball on running plays and not trying to will Clarence Moore to be Randy Moss.

    Those are my observations...all were possible with our staff of last year except maybe the level of dominance on D as I see Pryce and Ngata as upgrades. I think the bottom line is we are playing a lot closer to our potential than last year.




  2. #2
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    Re: Last year and this year

    I think the answer is 2 words:

    Steve.

    McNair.

    Even though his last game resembled a typical Boller performance, I think the team is really thriving off the energy that they have a veteran quarterback that can take them to the Super Bowl. I think that same confidence was absent when Boller and Wright were at the helm.

    Indirectly, Steve McNair is the reason the Ravens have played as good as they have, even on defense. Yes, defense.




  3. #3

    Re: Last year and this year

    I think the answer is 2 words:

    Steve.

    McNair.
    If so, then why does the offense look so mediocre? In particular: the overall passing game and the Red Zone bewilderment. Maybe he will come along, but, thus far, our offense isn't performing at a level to beat the good teams.

    The only reason we are 2-0 is the smothering & opportunistic Defense. Perhaps the best Defense in the NFL.

    I can't get it down to two words, but let's start with:

    • Ngata
    • Pryce
    • healthy Ray Lewis and Ed Reed






  4. #4

    Re: Last year and this year

    FTB...I'll respectively disagree. Thus part of the point of my thread. At some point your statement may prove true but at present if McNair was added to the list I offered he would have to be at the bottom. Its popular right now....I hear the talk, but frankly our QB play has been the one aspect most similar to last year.

    What are your thoughts on the other items I listed?
    Last edited by section516; 09-20-2006 at 09:40 AM. Reason: typo




  5. #5
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    Re: Last year and this year

    Well, skimming through the list, you listed a TON of things. Frankly, I don't think all of those things just improved on their own. IMO, it took one big thing to happen in order to open the flood gates for all that other stuff to happen. And that one big thing was bringing in Steve McNair to a team - especially to a defense - that needed to believe we had the necessary players to win a Super Bowl. I truly believe the offense is the single biggest contributing factor to why our defense has fallen off in recent years. My theory is they just got tired of carrying the load and just collapsed under the weight of the pressure. Every week they were asked to win the game and un-screw up everything our offense screwed up. Now with McNair, the PERCEPTION is our offense not only won't screw up, but they'll win games. That gives the defense a huge shot in the arm, psychologically.

    As for your take on the running game, our rushing numbers aren't all that impressive right now. Jamal hasn't even cracked 80 yards yet, has he?




  6. #6

    Re: Last year and this year

    FTB - I can only hope that you are wrong. I've heard other folks suggest such. If that is the case the character on our team is an embarrassment especially since they are still carrying the team.

    We'll have plenty of opportunity to give McNair credit for something this year. I choose not to dilute the significance of his future accomplishments by giving him credit where none is yet due.

    My main observation is that if our D played like this last year we would have had a winning season with the combined AW/KB performance of last year.




  7. #7
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    Re: Last year and this year

    To embellish more on my post above, I think that when the Ravens play great like they are now, we as fans tend to notice all these little areas of improvement (coaching, discipline, etc.) which really are BYPRODUCTS of maybe one or two key improvements. Ultimately, none of those factors are causes, they are effects.

    I honestly don't see this team as being any different than the team last year or the year before except for the fact their ATTITUDE has changed immensely. And when I scan my brain for the reasons why this ATTITUDE has changed, I believe it comes from the front office going out of its way to get a proven winner at what is probably the most important position in the NFL.

    So I don't believe all these little things just got better on their own. I believe it all stems from a change in attitude, and regardless of how McNair has played thus far, I feel the team internally perceives him as a much needed addition to the team in order to compete for a Super Bowl.




  8. #8

    Re: Last year and this year

    the difference basically boils down to one thing

    Attitude.

    Right, people need to be healthy and guys like Landry and Ngata make a difference...but what stands out between this year and last year is the attitude of the team, the community, and the determination




  9. #9
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    Re: Last year and this year

    Quote Originally Posted by section516
    My main observation is that if our D played like this last year we would have had a winning season with the combined AW/KB performance of last year.
    And I would counter that by saying the defense would never play this well if KB or AW were still our quarterbacks.

    I think the Ravens defense has been asked to carry more weight than any other defense in pro football, maybe any other defense in the game's HISTORY. For a team to break the NFL record for points allowed in a season where the offense goes an entire month without scoring is just insane.

    So this defense has had to carry weight that the '02 Bucs didn't have to carry, that the '05 Steelers defense never had to carry, and so on. That weight starts to get heavier the longer it goes, and I feel the past 2 years it became too heavy for Ray, especially without the help up front he was used to getting from Adams/Goose.

    Ray himself, and the defense as a collective, needed to know the offense was going to share some of this weight.




  10. #10

    Re: Last year and this year

    Again FTB, I only hope you are wrong. I hope the character on the team is better than that. Pretty darn pathetic if true...the D has carried weight in proportion to the portion of the salary cap they've carried.

    I think its more that the schedule was favorable for us to get off to a fast start and build momentum early.




  11. #11

    Re: Last year and this year

    Quote Originally Posted by section516
    Again FTB, I only hope you are wrong. I hope the character on the team is better than that. Pretty darn pathetic if true...the D has carried weight in proportion to the portion of the salary cap they've carried.

    I think its more that the schedule was favorable for us to get off to a fast start and build momentum early.
    I disagree w/ the observation that the team attitude being better speaks poorly of the team's character. They endured ineptitude for quite some time, and all the fan 's bashing... They needed SOMETHING to pick up their spirits, and the signing of McNair has obviously done that! To impugn the collective character of the team as a result, is simply being short-sighted! (IMHO)




  12. #12
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    Re: Last year and this year

    Turnover differential.
    ERIG20, your local draftnik


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