Championship caliber teams do not lose at home to cellar dwellers. Not to one-dimensional teams who are starting rookie quarterbacks in their first road game. Especially not when a pair of special teams touchdowns force overtime. The 2017 Baltimore Ravens are not a championship caliber team.
In Week 6, the 1-4 Chicago Bears came to M&T Bank stadium and exposed the Ravens. Baltimore’s offense was unwilling to build off the confidence they gained in Oakland. Winning the first quarter has been clearly established as a vital piece of the successful formula, yet Marty Mornhinweg’s unit did not attempt a deep pass until their third possession. The offense managed 4.2 yards per play, a 17-percent third down conversion rate and did not score a single touchdown.
The Ravens defense was not much better. True to form, Dean Pees refused to be aggressive and stack the box against the Bears capable rushing attack. Chicago ran for 231 yards with 4.3 yards per rushing attempt and ten first downs on the ground. The defense also allowed Mitch Trubisky to post a 94 passer rating on the road with the worst receiving corps in the NFL.
Receivers Breshad Perriman and Chris Moore both dropped catchable passes that resulted in interceptions. Safety Tony Jefferson was beaten for two touchdowns in coverage and Eric Weddle missed a critical tackle in overtime. Is the front office to blame for acquiring these underperforming players or the coaching staff to blame for failing to bring out their best? Both.
The combination of a roster construction that completely lacks elite playmakers and some of the most conservative coaching schemes in the league is not working. It has not worked for a long time. Since the Ravens miraculous championship in 2012, the team has a regular season record of 34-36 with a total point differential of +14.
This level of mediocrity is unacceptable for a coaching staff that preaches continuity and a front office that continually leverages future salary cap space for stopgap solutions. With the seventh oldest roster in the NFL and the sixth least disposable cap space next offseason, the immediate future of the Ravens franchise appears bleak.
Head coach John Harbaugh’s message has grown stale. General manager Ozzie Newsome’s philosophies have become outdated. Judging by the large increase of empty seats on gameday, many in the fanbase have lost patience with this regime. After another embarrassing and uninspired loss, the time has come for team owner Steve Bisciotti to make wholesale changes.
Who should be held accountable for the Ravens decline?
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