There is no secret ingredient for success. A pinch of luck, a batch of perseverance and few teaspoons of preparation will land you the position of your dreams. (There's more to the recipe but I'm still developing my own.)
You ask why I'm comparing cooking to the Baltimore Ravens? Our 53-man roster is - imagine - a list of produce, seasonings ... stop?
We'd be remiss to say that the team is not missing key components for success. Maybe the bread's running out, the scallops are losing freshness. Fine tuning the nuances is invaluable, but looking at this season from outside-in, I'm beginning to notice that a holistic approach will help our team's case, specifically this season. Thankfully for us, the light at the end of the tunnel isn't too far of a drive. (The 10 picks that the Ravens own in the Spring's Thanksgiving -- six in the first four rounds.)
While every coach and staff in the league sweat through their socks trying to build a well-rounded, well-conditioned roster, our brass kills Draft Day with more suave than Usher's footwork.
This April feels a lot different than 2014 April. Why? The primary reason, a disconcerting one, is wearing turtle floaties and swimming in the bird pool of my thoughts. The Reason, AKA The Ravens 2015 Schedule, wasn't this buff last year. The scrawny kid was sporting a pair of Atlanta Falcons thong sandals, rocking Tampa Bay Buccaneers shorts, and wore a crusty, faded Carolina Panthers crew neck. And ah, almost forgot the Cleveland Browns visor and the Miami Dolphins shades.
But the taunting must have fueled his fire to get jacked. This time he's wearing a Russell Wilson jersey, drying off an Arizona Cardinals tattoo on his bicep, one that he's nicknamed Peyton Manic. Jokes don't slide around like penguins around this gym rat anymore. The Ravens can tackle this brute by clothes-lining their needs this offseason.
What moves must be made to build the foundation to brace for the wrath of this savage beast?
>> Implement, Adapt and Enforce a Run-Block First Mentality: Losing tight end Owen Daniels (DEN) and former fourth-round draft pick offensive linemen Gino Gradkowski (DEN), naturally, perforates Marc Trestman's plans.
Six of the 13 defenses Baltimore will face this year finished in the Top-16 against the run in 2014; Denver, Seattle, Pittsburgh and San Francisco earned Top-10 honors.
Whether it's a setback or not, losing two players who were once acclimated with the offense's scheme is a loss, no matter how well you word the eulogy.
>> Trust In Dean Pees: Our secondary is a sad sight, thinning like my hair. The quarterbacks on this season's menu are scary efficient: Wilson, Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Nick Foles, Alex Smith and Phillip Rivers. Pees will look to deepen our secondary with talent and/or beef up the defensive line.
>> Joe Flacco Needs to Build Chemistry With Offense ASAP: The quarterback will not survive this season if he doesn't release the ball a hair earlier than usual. The defenses we face isn't a standup comedy lineup like 2014's. We don't "need receivers," as owner Steve Bisciotti stated in the past (I agree), however it's a stark fact that if Flacco doesn't get the rhythm down early, the whole team will suffer a cold, bitter winter.
A pinch of luck, a batch of perseverance and few teaspoons of preparation will lead to success. The only catch: there is no predetermined cooking time. Some will take longer than others.