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Next Man Up

This is part of the mantra that the New England Patriots used in their run of Super Bowls from the beginning of this century. Sure, they never experienced the monumental loss of their All-World QB Tom Brady prior to this year, but that is understandable. He meant everything to this team and they might actually be undefeated once again if he was still there and healthy. However, the rest of the Patriots team has experienced the injury bug over the years and according to coach Bill Belichick, it was always, "next man up."

The Ravens need to bite the bullet and confidently follow the same philosophy. I'm sure in public it looks that way, as John Harbaugh may be a rookie coach and continue to make rookie (poor) mistakes, but he has that positive, loyal, BS response to every injury question. At the same time, behind closed doors, their moves don't look like a team that is ready to respond to these challenges. Moving a LB (Edgar Jones) to a TE seems like a move of desperation to me. Moving Chris Chester to TE a couple of weeks ago and then back to OL must thrill him to no end to know he is so versatile that he can be moved from one postion to another with the greatest of ease with the supreme hope he won't be needed or used at either! Adam Terry's injury opened the door for Willie Anderson and he seemed to just stand around and open that door for Indy's Robert Mathis to record three sacks against him last week. Yanda was a solid part of our interior line, but now we will be forced to replace him for the rest of the season. Either one of our rookies or gasp, Chris Chester will fill that gap against the Dolphins as the auditions for that position will continue for at least a couple of weeks before a decision is finalized.

No one needs the consistency of the offensive line more than Joe Flacco. He has earned himself a seat on the bench as he has looked exactly like the CFS QB he was thought to be when he was drafted to be the QB of the FUTURE! Now that the future is now, I'm not convinced he should stay the starter, nor sit for someone else since that someone is not ready to take over. I say continue to let him learn on the field and if Troy Smith is fully recovered, give Troy the ball later in the game to get his feet under him and if he is more successful than Flacco, give him the chance as the season progresses (or regresses). If Flacco is able to lead us to wins at Miami and back home versus Oakland, then he deserves to stay behind center- for now.

Let's understand and keep a positive attitude, as other posters have urged. This team was never expected to be a contender before the season, anymore than Flacco was supposed to be the starter. But, now it's "next man up" and the guys who are next in line need to step up and keep the gameplan moving as originally planned. That includes not only the o-line, but the QB position as well. Grow up, kids, it's time to go out and play with the big boys.

Next man up!