I know most of you are cringing when you read this title, but with a week three win that put the Ravens up 3-0 and two games ahead of the world champion Steelers, it’s time to anoint our team the New Look Ravens.
Don’t worry. I’ve always had things backwards. I’m an Orioles optimist and a Ravens pessimist. Don’t argue with me, I know it doesn’t make sense. I suppose that I just expect the Ravens to put a Super Bowl caliber team on the field every season.
Image Courtesy of the Baltimore Sun
With that mentality in mind, it’s pretty crazy that I have decided to have such high hopes for this team when we’re not even a quarter of the way into the season. But, allow me to explain.
ESPN and SI ranked the Ravens number one after their 31-26 road victory over the Chargers. I enjoyed this publicity, I thought it was well earned, and hoped the Ravens would respond with a big win against the Browns. Putting up 34 points and holding Cleveland to 3 is exactly what the best team in the NFL is expected to do.
The New Look Ravens respond to national attention. If they’re ranked number one, they’re going to act like it. This team beats you with a powerful, exciting, well balanced offense, with a leader under a center and a mad scientist as an offensive coordinator.
They don’t have big names on offense, but they have guys that get the job done. Kelley Washington not only is tied for catches on the team with 13 year veteran Derrick Mason, but he’s laying down sick blocks on options and slant routes.
Joe Flacco has made huge strides in just his second season. He’s taken control of a traditionally struggling offense and put together two 300+ yard games.
Willis McGahee is running with a head of steam, a better attitude, and I’d venture to say that even his style as changed. He’s lowering his shoulder and is averaging 5.9 yards per carry while looking to redeem himself from a bad ’08 season.
This team beats you with their offense and holds you with their defense. Which is different from anything we’ve every seen as Ravens fans. Hang on to your hats, it’s going to be a fun year.