The picture above is kind of symbolic of the Baltimore Ravens season so far. A team that feels like they are so close to turning things around but yet not close enough to do so.
The Ravens are not a good team. Their season was basically over when they lost in overtime in week 5 against the Cleveland Browns. During the Ravens bye week in week 9, all we heard from the Ravens locker room was about how they were trying to make NFL history by going from 1-6, to 10-6. Well, now they are 2-7 and reality has to sink in.
When you have a 2-7 record, there is no on and off switch that you can use whenever you feel like. If the Ravens were capable of having an on and off switch, they would be a lot better in late game situations. This team has played in so many close games this year that it has given the team false hope going forward.
The Ravens coaching staff and players from top to bottom feel like they are a few plays away from having a quality record. They feel like they are also a few players away taken off the injured reserved list from being really good. A serious argument could be made that they are right about that. But the fact of the matter is, no struggling team is as close to success as they think they are.
Ravens DC Dean Pees said defense would rank No. 7 in NFL if you take away six big plays. "It's not rocket science." pic.twitter.com/7UzEr55IkT— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) November 12, 2015
The fact of the matter is, those plays did happen. You can't take them back. And they will continue to happen because the Ravens are just not good enough this year. The Ravens are the first team in NFL history to have their first-nine games decided by eight points or less. The NFL isn't about style points.
It's OK for Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and the rest of his coaching staff to stay confident and rally this team. The last thing you want to do is lose the locker room by giving up. But upper management when it comes to general manager Ozzie Newsome and assistant general manager Eric DeCosta have to have a different mindset. And they already do. The Ravens are not one player, two players, three players or four players away from being a Super Bowl contender.
The Ravens going on a winning streak and missing the playoffs would be a disaster in my opinion. The Ravens would be in no mans land. A winning streak in that scenario would provide temporary happiness while delaying chronic problems across the roster. They would put themselves in a position where they are not good enough to have a shot at a Super Bowl appearance, while also not being bad enough to get high draft picks.
The goal before the season started was to reach the Super Bowl. There is a change of plans. The goal with seven games left is to evaluate the young players on this roster and project who should stay and who should go during the 2016 offseason. At least it should be.
The Ravens are not good enough to tank. They are losing almost by default. Coaches and players should hope for wins, but upper management and the fans are probably looking at the bigger picture at the moment. All hope isn't lost for the Ravens in terms of the future of the franchise, but the 2015 season is pretty much done.