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If Michael Crabtree and John Brown don't produce as the Ravens fail, who takes the blame?

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Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

In the universe there still exists a faction of people who believe Joe Flacco’s success, or lack thereof, is tied directly to what the Ravens front office has surrounded him with.

I do not subscribe to that line of thinking, nor have I ever. Truly elite quarterbacks elevate those around them, not the other way around. At any point before they emerged as stars for the Patriots, did you believe that Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman and Wes Welker would be amongst the league’s best players? These players have all worked hard to perfect their crafts, and would likely translate well on other systems, but playing with a quarterback like Tom Brady helps.

With the addition of John Brown and Michael Crabtree, the Ravens have added new weapons with different skillsets for Flacco in an effort to get the team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Both receivers have had struggles at various points in their careers — Crabtree with drops and John Brown with injuries — but they’ve both proven to provide elite traits.

Brown is one of the fastest receivers in the league while Crabtree can serve as one of the best possession receivers when he’s focused.

There’s a built in excuse if it doesn't work with these two players, and it will fall back on their aforementioned issues. But what if they perform and the team falls short again? Does the heat finally blowback on Flacco?

It seems that each year around this time, Flacco’s contract becomes a point of discussion because of the limitations it has placed on the team’s salary cap. Those discussions and criticisms are well-deserved and it’s time for the faction that wants to shift the blame away from Flacco to own up to what’s at hand.

Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace were clamored for, providing the hope that they would breathe life into a lackluster passing offense. A year later the duo of Wallace and Maclin are deemed failures, though injuries have played a role in that perception.

If the duo of Crabtree and Brown fail to produce numbers and the team fails as well, does that blame again fall on the receivers or does it fall on the one constant through it all, Joe Flacco?