The Ravens need to take a page out of the Cleveland Browns' book. Yeah, I said it and I'm right. The Cleveland Browns just announced that quarterback Johnny Manziel would be the starter for the remainder of the season. At 2-8, the Browns have clearly decided to see if they have something in Manziel or if they need to go another direction. They have given up on the idea that they could suddenly flip a switch and become a good team this season and win out to have a shot at the playoffs.
The Ravens need to do exactly this. I'm not saying it's time to pack it in and lose every game by any means. But it is time to see what you have in your young talent. Begin to mix things up, experiment with new schemes and players at different spots. The Ravens have started down that path by pushing cornerback Lardarius Webb to the safety spot, but they need to do more.
With Steve Smith Sr. calling for his retirement at the beginning of the season, the Ravens have to expect that he won't return in 2016. That means using every wide receiver you have on this roster to see who wants to remain there next season. As of right now, the only receivers under contract for 2016 are Breshad Perriman, Michael Campanaro, Darren Waller, and Cam Worthy. It is worth noting that every single one of those receivers are on injured reserve or have yet to be active due to injury in the case of Perriman. That means it is time to see if Kamar Aiken really wants a roster spot in 2016, it's time to put Jeremy Ross, Jeremy Butler, Chris Givens and Joe Morgan out there to see if any of them can be a capable receiver for the Ravens. If not, then the Ravens know they need to address it early and often in the draft and free agency this offseason.
The same goes for the secondary. As I noted above, the Ravens have begun to transition Lardarius Webb into the safety spot more often, but it's time to see if Asa Jackson can really be a cornerback for this team moving forward or if he is solely a special teams player. Kyle Arrington has been a disappointment thus far, so can rookie Tray Walker unseat him for that role? At safety, is Kendrick Lewis really the answer back there? Of course there are injuries galore right now, but can Anthony Levine get his act together with more snaps and maybe a game in the starting role?
The Ravens have a solid team overall, but are weak at a bunch of areas that will need to be addressed this offseason one way or another if they plan on competing in 2016. Safety, cornerback, wide receiver, left tackle, defensive end, inside linebacker (Daryl Smith isn't getting any younger), and outside linebacker are all positions that the Ravens will need to figure out quickly in order to be any better than they are right now next season. The best way to do that is to put players in games and see if they are any different there than they are in practice. Sometimes when players have the adrenaline running through them of playing meaningful snaps, they can be a different player.
Either way, the Ravens' season is truly over from a competitive standpoint. It's time to test the roster in order to trim the fat and let the players that deserve their pay checks rise up.