Ravens’ season: No more complaints, please

Written by on January 4, 2012 in Featured, Ravens - No comments

What’s there left to complain about?

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All season, all you had to do was turn your radio dial to either 105.7 The Fan or WNST 1570 and some fan was phoning in with a list of complaints about the Ravens throughout this regular season:

Joe Flacco will not lead this team to a Super Bowl. John Harbaugh’s nothing more than a special teams coordinator. How is Cam Cameron employed?

The list could continue but why should it? For reasons unknown or unheard of, there are still folks that aren’t satisfied with the Ravens’ 12-4 regular season record, AFC North division title and No. 2 seed in the playoffs.

Is Flacco a perfect quarterback? Of course not. Do Harbaugh and Cameron make mistakes? Why, yes. Don’t we all? But how do you argue against results, no matter how they come?

The Ravens went 8-0 at home for the first time this season. They swept the AFC North, the same division that features three teams in the playoffs this year.

“We didn’t just win the division, we beat everyone,” Flacco said. “It says that we will probably see one of those teams down the road and we’ll have to get after them again.”

Baltimore had hiccups against Tennessee, Jacksonville, Seattle and San Diego, sure. But all came on the road.

For those moaning about the poor record on the road, the Ravens went 4-4 away from home with wins at Pittsburgh and at Cincinnati. The realistic goal for every team in the NFL isn’t to go 16-0. It’s to win every home game and split on the road. The Ravens did that. So what’s the problem?

Does Flacco have to put up Drew Brees numbers to be appreciated more? Does Harbaugh have to run up the score on opponents to earn more acclaim? Is every dropped pass going to remain Cameron’s fault?

The regular season is one full of adjustments, featuring plenty of highs and, for most teams, even more lows. But the lows aren’t generally self inflicted in a league like the NFL. Wins can’t be taken for granted. Think of what making the playoffs means for a team like Cincinnati, or what it means for Houston. Ravens fans need to put it in perspective and be thankful they have a franchise that competes in the postseason year in and year out.

For the team’s know-it-all critics, think of what the quarterback position was before Flacco. Think of where the team was in 2007 before Harbaugh arrived.

The Friends of Patterson Park have decorated the Pagoda every playoff year since the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2001. The Pagoda will sport its Ravens regalia again this year. Photo by Thomas Scilipoti

The offense isn’t designed to put up stats like the Patriots, Packers and Saints do. It’s a run-first unit that likes to control the clock and limit opportunities for the opposition. Running back Ray Rice has had games of 204 and 191 yards in the month of December. The offense, no matter the criticism, works when it’s executed properly.

The defense is what it usually is, an intimidating group that plays hard and makes things difficult for opposing quarterbacks. As a unit this team has proved it belongs in the upper echelon of teams as it begins its quest for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

“Twelve wins is 12 wins,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “If you go undefeated at home, you go undefeated at home. We swept the division and are division champs, with a first round bye. I’m just going to take it in and celebrate it with my brothers. We did it together.”

by Jason Butt

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