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November 25, 2008

Did Ravens benefit from bye week fiasco?

I'm sure you're scratching your head at that question, but I believe the loss of the midseason bye week has actually helped the Ravens exceed preseason expectations, and all but assures that there will be no letdown this weekend in Cincinnati.

The hurricane-related postponement of the Week 2 game against the Houston Texans doomed the Ravens to play 15 consecutive weekends, which a lot of people thought would have them sucking wind about now.

Instead, they went 4-2 during the grueling six-game stretch that included five road games and came home to trounce the Eagles on Sunday. It seems like the bigger the obstacle they face, the more focused they become. The loss of a full bye week may have cost them a chance to lick their many wounds at midseason, but it seemed to reinforce John Harbaugh's intense this-week-only approach to the game.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 7:54 AM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Just football
        

Comments

The answer is no, they did not benefit. The better angle to play is probably that Harbaugh did a great job in getting this team focused to forget about that and just play the game. You can see he does not make a big deal out of anything. Playing on the road. Not a big deal. Losing your bye. Not a big deal. Having the Skins game moved to prime time. Not a big deal. That approach has worked well so far. But the clear answer to your question is no, they have not benefited. Mason's injury, which had a HUGE impact on the Giants game, came against the Texans when the Ravens should have been enjoying a week off. Also, as PReston's column points out today, the o-line is banged up. So, no, the loss of the bye week was not a good thing. But the Ravens have done a great job of moving past that and playing winning football.

Not so sure of that , the bye week at the scheduled time would have given some of the Raven's players some time to heal, and we sure do need it, we have the most players on the injured list of any team in the NFL.

Forgot to say there may seem to be some nerit to what you have said however, and adversity is tough to overcome in this league and the Raven's seem t have done it pretty well, let's just hope they have enough steam to keep it up the rest of the way, it will be difficult with the remainign schedule, but I do agree with what you said the other day, if we did not do real well the rest of the season I think we showed a whole lot of promise for the future under the Harbaugh regime, this team has a much, much better mindset for the most part than under his predecessor Brian Billick. If Harbaugh gets rid of the very few remaining Billick malcontent holdovers we webe much better next season , assuming we can get a few of the lacking pieces we need to really be a top notch contender; playmaking big wide reciever with speed, and get rid of guys like McGahee who don't like to play al the time, and the Cmac types who want to be treated like prima donas even if they are not performing.

Well Pete, close but no cigar. It's not the lack of a bye week that's focused the Ravens, it's the hard work of the coaching staff and the players. You forget, this is not a Billick run operation. Of course we could use a bye week. We need it desperately, but it's not to be. No cying or whinning out of this group of professionals. Heads down, good hard nosed intergerity laced football ahead. The Superbowl season in 2000 was special and exciting, but not since the Baltimore Colts were here have I felt the pride it is to be a "Baltimore foolball fan".

Peter - I would agree with you, except for the health of the O-Line. As the article in the paper today implies, I think that not having the bye for the sake of rest/healing for the O-Line may prove our undoing...

If the Ravens do indeed clinch a playoff spot, it would be real nice if they can get the 2nd seed in the conference and get a much needed bye week since I know that will come in handy considering that some players may need the rest.

This is a silly post. The Ravens are better off without a bye week because they thrive on adversity? Please. No doubt in my mind the Ravens would be a better team if they could give Jared Gaither, Adam Terry, and Willie Anderson a week to get healthy. Our offensive line is getting really really banged up, and it showed on Sunday, and will continue to show throughout the season.

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Pete's reply: Maybe so, but the timing of the original bye week probably wouldn't have helped that much.

There is no doubt that it helped them get healthier at the time and you can't argue with their performance since but I still think they would have benefited from a later bye. If we had it this week for instance, Terry, Gaither, Mason, Price, Wilcox, and Reed among others would certainly benefit.

We'll see Peter,

The O line is very banged up and no relief is coming from the injury list. We've got the guys we've got and 16 people on IR. So this team has to be in go-for-broke mode.

We'll see how long they can last.

While I think that brutal road stretch brought our boys a little closer as a team, it definitely took its toll on our offensive line. It would be nice to have a bye week right now to let our OTs heal.

Peter,

It may be true that the "this-week-only" approach is settling in in a way that is evident to us all. And it is the very thing all fans should be most excited about this year. Behind that concept is a coach who has turned us into a forward-thinking, positive thinking and centered team. Behind that are players at every position who are focused on the play they're on, not the next play, next game, or next contract extension. All very positive.

But with the personnel we have on the field, the youth and inexperience, the injuries all over the map, I see it as pretty premature of you to say the team has dodged the bullet we thought it would be to play 15 straight games in the NFL. Rice and Flacco played much shorter schedules last year. Many of our current starters played limitted roles last year and are hardly proven over a 16 game schedule, much less the playoffs. And would you say the ravens were "more focused" when they faced those big obstacles of the Colts, Titans and Giants? I'm not a hater here. Losses are to be expected. But they weren't focused for those games, and they still suffer from their historic loss of focus when picks slip through our fingers and we get a little behind (save a few encouraging examples).

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Pete's reply: I wouldn't include the Titans game in that assessment. They came within a stupid penalty of winning that game.


Peter, you were arguing last post with some fans giving you grief over staff picks for games.

I don't know exactly what value we gather from staff picks, or any other analyst picks for that matter. The nature of your job, and your, or any other staffer's record of being right or wrong with their picks are beside the point. I think the problem is in the schizophrenia that is rampant in the staff, throughout pics, posts and columns. Sometimes reading these things are like listening to call-ins on sports talk radio. We win and we're Superbowl bound; we lose and we might as well not show up for the next game. You guys focus on this stuff as your full time job. And it's surprising there isn't a more even temperment throughout the season.

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Pete's reply: I'll concede a bit of that, but I think it's the nature of the NFL for the impact of each game to be inflated. Speaking for myself, I can't think of a more even-tempered, handsome, nice, extremely rational person, but that's just me.

Hey Pete,
I'm really pissed off at the NFL Network. They actually have the nerve to Interview McNabb and Reid over their "so called...bad playing performance" for over 20 minutes, and not giving an ounce of Credit to, nor Interviewing Harbaugh, Reed, Rolle, Big Ray and Flacco for playing a Stellar-Dominant Game ( With A Vengeance ) after a Pride Stomping beat down in NY the previous week.
We never get the Credit due to us from the Media.
I mean......The NFL Network couldn't give enough exposure to Brett Farve for his win over Tenn. while Carrie Collins has yet to be seen on the Network after his first Lost of the season.
Double Standards !
If any other Team in the NFL were holding our Defensive Stats as well as our Incredible Offensive Improvement under a Rookie Head Coach and Q-B, they would receive 30 minutes "minimum" Media Exposure out of 60 min.
My only hope is that the Ravens maintain this "Chip On The Shoulder" Attitude and continue to Dominate for the rest of the season all the way to the Top, so Baltimore can once again Shove their Dirty Game SOX down NFL Network's throat !!
Don't just GO but......GO HEAVY, RAVENS !!!!!
ALL THE WAY !!!!


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Pete's reply: I don't think there is any conspiracy here. That was just the most obvious issue in a blowout game. And, while we're on the subject, I don't think you can lump the NFL Network in with the unaffiliated media. They are two different animals.

With all the injuries you can't tell me that a week off in mid-season isn't helpful.

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Pete's reply: I don't know. Look at the Ravens' record in the games before bye weeks the past few years.

Hard to argue with that logic, Peter.
I guess we'll see how they finish out the season, though, to truly know how that change in the bye week timing affects their season. Isn't it exciting, though, for the Ravens to be 7-4 and in the hunt? Who woulda thunk it?

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Pete's reply: I thought they'd win seven games, so I'm not surprised at all.

I agree, Peter, somehow the loss of the bye week put a rhythm and a contrapuntal harmony into this team like we haven't seen in a while...Oh yes, welcome back to the U.S.A. I would love to hear your observations of the Russian culture and the sports scene there. I was in Moscow for several weeks in 1997 and again in 1998; the main things which impressed me were the clean efficiency of their Metro subway system, the public's strange fascination with Mike Tyson and Paul O'Neil of the New York Yankees (really!), and of course the incredible beauty of much of the young female population. Anything stand out for you over there in 2008?

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Pete's reply: I was in St. Petersburg, but would concur on the beautiful women.

Eh....I don't think it really helped them. Maybe to keep a momentum going...ok...I will accept that. But there are some offensive line guys that are really banged up bad, and they need time off - to heal. Same goes for the others that are hurt that are not on the IR. We need a healthy O-Line, or we will have ourselves a hurt Flacco. All which spells trouble for the rest of the season if he goes down. (Never thought I'd say it) Anyway, hope they can keep it going....it's actually fun to watch them play for a change...don't you think?

The better thing that the NFL could have done was to place the game on that thursday before week 10 maybe at 7pm est. which would have giving boths teams a semi-bye week with 8 to ten days rest. But only the respected teams in the league get this kind of courtesy.

Yo, Pete, i think there's another angle here. Think about how far we've come this season. The Ravens, and Joe Flacco have improved week by week. With each week that Flacco gets Live NFL action he's gotten more comfortbable, sees more of the field and has become a playmaker not just a game manager. If we played Houston Week 2, we likely would have came away with the win, but more importantly more live snaps and experience for Flacco. The Ravens and Flacco would have been better prepared for Pitt and Tenn, and likely would've gotten a few more plays out of Bazooka Joe to take the game out of the refs hands and tilt the outcome our way. CIN and CLE had no pass rush, PITT was the first Real Pressure Joe was exposed to. If Flacco cuts his teeth with Mario Williams, maybe he does't fumble away our MoJo against the Squeelers.

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Pete's reply: I suppose you could look at it that way, but I don't know if I'd take your speculation quite that far down the road.

Rich (aka Michelle Obama)- Are you serious? You havent felt a sense of pride like this since the Colts? Give me a break? If you could appreciate the 200 team for what they did, stop calling yourself a baltimore fan.
At that time, Billick was a breath of fresh air and the players clung to his every word. It wore thin over time- but don't disregard it.

This is a special time to be a Ravens fan, with hope and optimism galore (thanks Flacco and Rice)- but what will you say should be falter and end up 8-8?

The 2000 team overcame MUCH adversity and was a great source of pride for me, so to hear a "baltimore" fan say otherwise really rubs me the wrong way.

Pete--With all the silly stuff being said about the Sun writers failing as PR men in their prognostications, I'd love to see you guys all tab the Bengals this week.

You could borrow the mantra from "Let it Ride"--"You never know."


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Pete's reply: Thanks for reminding me of one of the best sports/gambling comedies ever. Now, "I'm having a very good day."

Hey Pete, this is off topic, but I can't resist asking about the Sun's lack of coverage of Mussina's retirement. I was hoping for some significant stories, like a career retrospective, or some reminiscing about the most recent Oriole glory days with Mussina at the helm. I really feel like this is the end of an era, even though the Orioles have been bad for a decade now. Since Camden Yards opened, arguably most of the best times for the Orioles came with Mussina on the mound.

I was as upset as anyone when he went to the Yankees, but, probably like many others, I followed his career post-Baltimore and always hoped that he would succeed individually, even though I wanted the Yankees to fail. Shouldn't one of the top five pitchers in Oriole history get more coverage upon his retirement?


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Pete's reply: More is always better, but we put up long archives of past coverage and did some stories. If I had been in town, I would have done more also, but I was shirking my journalistic duties in Europe.

Would have been better to get the rest in the middle of the year, but Flacco sure was a lot better in week 10 playing Houston than he would have been in week 3, thats for sure. We may have lost that game that early on who knows

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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