I’ll admit, when the Ravens signed Donte Stallworth I was left scratching my head. “I sure hope that he isn’t their answer at wide receiver,” I told fellow Ravens fans. Then Baltimore made a big splash and reached out to Arizona to grab Anquan Boldin. Somewhere, days later, Anita Marks is still doing a victory dance. Yesterday, Jeff Pilson and I talked about the likelihood of Derrick Mason returning to Baltimore and I’ve got to admit, he nailed it. Last night the Ravens signed Mason to a 2 year deal. When I heard the news one thought ran through my mind, “No excuses in 2010.”
In a span of a week the Ravens have gone from “bad wide receiving corps” to “one of the best in the NFL.” Amazing how this league works. This offense has always been driven by a good running game, well except for that one McGahee season.
Joe Flacco has had success in the NFL, but really only had one target to throw to against big time opponents, Derrick Mason. Baltimore’s competitors, and any other good defenses for that matter, quickly figured out the key to beating the Ravens in 2009. Throw on their terrible secondary, cover Derrick Mason. Game. Set. Match.
There’s only so much Ray Rice can do with a swing pass from Joe Flacco while Kelley Washington is covered, Mark Clayton is covered, Derrick Mason is covered, and Demetrius Williams is missing in action.
There are always high expectations for the Ravens. After losing to the Steelers in the AFC Championship in 2008, fans expected a Super Bowl berth from Sophomore Head Coach John Harbaugh and Sophomore QB Joe Flacco. They poured into training camp in August in bigger numbers than the franchise had ever seen. As luck would have it, the Steelers sank like an anvil and the Ravens made the playoffs at 9-7. They even put together a good game against a fierce competitor on the road, the New England Patriots.
But, one playoff win isn’t going to satisfy these fans. Not now, not with the stakes as high as they are. Ozzie screwed up drafting wide receivers, Flacco struggled with out a big target, and Harbaugh let Matt Stover go! All is forgiven if the Ravens put together one hell of a season in 2010.
The stakes are high, can Harbaugh, Flacco and Oz live up to hype the fans are creating this season?