In the fantastic Amazon Series "All or Nothing: A season with the Arizona Cardinals," Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians often stresses to his players the importance of playing with discipline, especially in crucial situations.
When I was watching the series, these sequences especially hit home to me as a Ravens fan who had just endured one of the toughest seasons in recent memory. Seeing Arians make the point that penalties truly can lose games both directly and indirectly made me realize part of what made the Ravens so painful to watch in 2015.
There are many moments throughout the season that fans can look to specific points throughout specific contests and say "we lost the game because of this."
In week two against the Raiders, Will Hill's game winning interception was called back due to a holding call on him. The very next week, Kelechi Osemele's face mask penalty set the Ravens back 15 yards on a play that would've been a fourth down conversion on a potentially game tying drive.
Two weeks later, against the Browns, Lardarius Webb would have had a momentum shifting interception on Josh McCown, if not for a roughing the passer call against Lawrence Guy.
Of course, we all know the one that I was building all of this up to. In week 10, the Ravens were home against Jacksonville, and with one second on the clock, Blake Bortles took the snap and ran around, only to be brought down via the facemask by Elvis Dumervil.
His penalty gave the Jags field position to kick the game winning field goal. Regardless of whether the game should have ended or not because their line wasn't set isn't necessarily the point here. Rather, head coach John Harbaugh has to go into this summer's training camp ready to teach discipline to his players, just as Arians did on "All or Nothing."
If it isn't taught in the classroom, drilled on the field, and emphasized heavily throughout the preseason, then the Ravens can expect more of the same disappointment in 2016.