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Opinion: The pressure is real for the Ravens to be a playoff team

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Some people are looking at the Baltimore Ravens as a team in some sort of rebuild mode after coming off of a disappointing 5-11 season when in all reality, the organization is operating in reload mode.

Ravens players and coaches think they have the pieces to be a Super Bowl contender. Which is why there will be a lot of pressure on this team to make the playoffs at the very least during the 2016 season. If the Ravens miss the playoffs in 2016, it will be the third time in four seasons that the Ravens will do so and the first time since 2004-2005 that the Ravens will miss the postseason in back to back years. If the Ravens have a losing season, it would be the first time since 1997-1998 that the Ravens would do so.

You know what the narrative would be if the Ravens miss the playoffs for the third time in four seasons? More and more people, whether you like it or not, are going to talk about how the team misses the presence of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. People are going to be talking more and more about Joe Flacco's contract and how he isn't worth the money. Criticism will go in the direction of head coach John Harbaugh as well.

While those may be valid points depending on how the 2016 season shakes out, I don't entirely agree with those statements because injuries have played a huge role in the Ravens overall performance over the last four seasons including this year if you include the latest injury with wide receiver Breshad Perriman. Since 2013, we have really never seen Ravens players at their best due to injuries. But at the end of the day, people, especially Ravens fans, are going to want to see results.

If the Ravens don't make the playoffs in 2016, my guess would be that there will be major changes on the coaching staff as opposed to personnel (Harbaugh will stay of course). Veteran players like wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs may retire, left tackle Eugene Monroe may leave, running back Justin Forsett might leave, but other than that I can't see too many changes with the roster especially after the draft the Ravens just had.

We could see changes at both coordinator positions with offensive coordinator Mark Trestman and defensive coordinator Dean Pees. My personal opinion as it relates to Pees is that he needs to get his defense right because the Ravens have given him chance after chance for the unit to get back to being the dominant presence that many are used to seeing. And if he can't do it this year, then I don't know how the Ravens don't go in another direction at defensive coordinator. I hope he does well.


People within the Ravens organization put pressure on themselves from top to bottom and they tend to be very confident in each other's abilities. But Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and assistant general manager Eric DeCosta won't sit and watch this team deteriorate right before their eyes if the Ravens miss the playoffs or have another bad season similar to 2015.