Rather than nitpick over individual plays on last Sundays extremely disheartening loss to the Steelers, more discussion needs to take place about the big picture. The big picture is the fact the offense is not producing on the level that it should. It has flashes of brilliance based on, in my opinion, pure player talent and not scheme. Aren't the coaches supposed to evaluate the talent they have and make the calls that suit the players that are on the field? If you don't have an athletic offensive line, don't call screens. Well, if you need your O-line to hold up for 5-7 seconds to let your passing plays develop, then you better hope they can get the job done. If not, you need to change the way you call plays. The Ravens offensive line overall has played pretty well this season, but not stellar. Time after time, Joe Flacco looks and looks and looks for an open receiver only to get swallowed up by a collapsing pocket. Brady and Manning (not comparing them to Flacco) are consistently seen hitting receivers streaking across the short middle of the field in full stride. The Ravens tried ONE quick slant pass to Derrick Mason in the last few games (according to my cloudy recollection) and it has never been heard from again. Was it because he dropped it (he had/has a broken finger BTW)? The screen play diet has been taken to a new low nearing starvation. Are the offensive coaches deliberately eliminating fast developing plays? It almost seems that way at times. The Patriots lambasted the Steelers in their own back yard, and not one part of that offensive scheme could be found in the Ravens gameplan Sunday night. Why do the TV sportscasters bother saying that teams have given a blueprint on how to beat opponents if those concerned with decision making throw said blueprints away? It is understood that a coordinator won't scrap his entire scheme to adopt a new one merely because it worked for one team. But doesn't it warrant at least a consideration to borrow a few things that you can adopt or adapt?
What happened Sunday night could have been seen from a mile away. Local writers and radio show hosts have been telling those that were concerned(whining) about narrow victories to quiet down and to be happy for the close wins. That's just not good enough. Not with this team. This team was one of a few Superbowl contenders picked by the national media at the beginning of the season. Expectations are high as well they should be. Comments are surfacing now (and have been for a while) that consistently state that this team should be scoring 25-30+ points per game. The players on the team know something isn't right but can't say anything for fear of being chastised by the organization, save Derrick Mason. Good for you Mase, you said what you could. If expectations are for this team to just go to the playoffs, then be happy with marginal victories. If however, expectations are to WIN in the playoffs, then concern over slim victories is justified. Sunday's loss was just another chapter in the Ravens inability to put a team away. It had less to do with the fact that they were playing the Steelers and more to do with the fact that this show has been seen way too many times before against the best teams as well as mediocre teams. With games like @ Houston and the pass-happy Saints in B-more, this dance is far from over. Not to mention the level of competitiveness the Ravens will face on the road in the playoffs. If something doesn't change (Cam's offensive scheme) PDQ, Ravens fans and players may be watching the playoffs in the same bars.