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What must the Ravens do to improve?

My guess is you are stunned.

I definitely was stunned by the Cincinnati Bengals’ last-minute upset of the Ravens Sunday. Part of that was because I wholly underestimated the Bengals, especially their defense.

I also didn’t see the Ravens’ defense folding during crunch time. OK, I’ll be honest. I didn’t even expect a crunch time on Sunday.

That folding, of course, had plenty to do with the Ravens committing penalties. You can blame the officiating all you want, but the bottom line is the Ravens have lost two straight, and the Bengals now have an advantage in the AFC North.

And I guess the Bengals are for real.

Four patrons – Sentient, Space, Christian and Larry – each had the Bengals, and all deserve an open tab today. Larry, with a 21-17 Bengals’ prediction, gets the tab for the week. Enjoy.

For the rest of you, I am sure the first part of the week won’t be enjoyable. Rest assured, it won’t be a bowl of cherries for the Ravens, either.

My question is a little different today. Let’s forget about the two consecutive losses, and be forward thinking and try to build on Sunday's loss.

Daily Think Special: What must the Ravens do to improve from here forward?


First off, hats off to the Bengals. I didn't think this came would be close as seen by my prediction.

I just think it's time to get back to Raven, smash mouth football on offense. As far as defense, I'm at a lost for words. The penalties have to stop!

Improve the pass rush and run the ball more. Mix McGahee and Rice and then throw McClain in there on short yardage.

And let's stop bellyaching about the refs. Cincinnati outplayed us today.

I am a Ravens fan living in Denver. Foxworth has been a HUGE disappointment and didn't play this poorly for the Broncos. Carr, just as poor. I'd like to see Webb get worked into the nickel role, more blitzing, release Rolle (he's not going to play this season), trade Foxworth/ Clayton/late draft pick for a physical corner (I know it's wishful thinking), and get back to power running game (Rice/McGahee/McClain) to keep our defense OFF the field.

I think it is time to see what Ladarius Webb can do at corner.... Washington is not playing at the level he was last season and Foxworth is a work in progress at best. Need a shutdown corner if they want to save the defense this season.

I'm still stunned at the loss, I honestly thought the Ravens would be too physical for them. I hope this loss snaps them out of whatever funk they were in today. They looked out of it from the opening kickoff. Maybe they've read too many of their press clippings saying they're one of, if not the best team in the NFL. In order to improve they'll need to play smart, tough and aggressive football for all 60 minutes. If they do that then they'll bounce back and make a postseason run. If not, then they'll be watching the playoffs with the rest of us come January.

Yes, the defense is weak this year in pass-rushing, and the secondary, but still, no one has blown us out. We had great opportunities to win both this week and last week, in spite of bonehead, untimely penalties (real or imaginary ones). And both games were only lost in the final seconds. So what do we need? A few better coaching decisions on defense, fewer turnovers on offense, and RUN #%! THE BALL!

The side project of former Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley produced the lyrics, "My pain is self chosen". The very message the Ravens must receive if they are to get back to winning football games. If you don't give the refs a reason to throw the flag, the flag will stay in the pocket. Penalties on 3rd and long are killing the Ravens. Plain and simple. Self Discipline, gentlemen!

The Ravens have to improve their pass rush. T-Sizzle has been a non-factor for the better part of the season. Cam Cameron must pound the ball early too soften up defenses. The Ravens are carried away with all this passing. Nevertheless, the Bengals are the better team today. The season is a marathon and not a sprint. Hopefully, the Ravens can turn things around by the midseason point.

Bottom line is that this defense is no longer dominant; Greg Mattison is clueless in his schemes - watching Suggs and Nghata in coverage causes me to shake my head when they should be pressuring the QB; our corners can't cover or tackle; when they take Mason away, we're left with no one to throw to; Kelly Washington continues to impress, but gets little playing time and Demitrious Williams dresses for every game and then disappears! And you want to know what can be done to improve it? Good luck.......

Wow! This one hurts, I mean REALLY hurts. The team has lost back to back BACK-breakers and could have won BOTH? Darn, if Flacco and Clayton could have connected on that 3rd and 10 leading 14-10 with 2 minutes and some loose change remaining. I'm emotional right now and my feelings are dragging. I don';t see this team doing much now from here on out. We lost to an improving Bengals team at home and STILL have to go there and two with Pittsburgh and so on and so forth. I once dreamt of a 13-3 or 12-4 season and winning it all. I now see 9-7 or 8-8 and wondering what happened?

go ravens?

I used to sign GO RAVENS!!!


Fire Cameron. Cut Walker, Landry, Foxworth.

The best improvement can now come from the "realization" that this is not a complete team as once advertised.

The base defense idea is not complete due to the fact two safeties working with or "recovering" from serious neck injuries and one corner who is very fast but light as a feather. Foxworth is the new Corey Ivy, offensive schemes are going to game plan him for 200 yards passing alone and he will give it up every game.

So the Ravens better start to blitz and get pressure on the QB.

Next, offensively, this 45 pass a game offense is a bust because Clayton is not capable of catching 10 balls a game and washington is not ready. Clayton plays too soft, is not tall enough, and drops balls.

My gosh we need Lorenzo Neal-if McClain does not feel like blocking then there are few answers. I thinks Cam's air attack is good but the key is TWO or THREE solid WR's and we have ONE.

The elite teams can beat the Ravens by throwing at and easily beating Foxworth and shutting down Mason-these talent flaws must be addressed.

The Raven's HAVE to develop a pass defense. If the opposing team wants yardage, all they have to do is throw the ball. It is almost a given that, if the pass is decent, they will have a completion. They may not get additional yards, but they will have a completion.
They also need to channel Rex Ryan through Greg Mattison, cos he isn't getting it done.

How can the Ravens improve .. they can't this year. 1) They don't have a big target for Flacco to throw to, Mason and Clayton are average at best. 2) They don't have a running back, Rice is average at best and Magee is on the downhill side of his career. 3) They don't have a shut down corner. 4) Their pass defense is porous, any decent quarterback in the NFL will pick them apart. The Vikings will blow the Ravens out next week. I'm tired of being disappointed by these Ravens. Too much needed for them to improve this year.

I think first you must find the questions to ask. I have my list.
Several questions:
1. Why at the end is the defense only rushing 2? The defensive scheme is not working. The rush on the passer is ineffective. Why is Suggs and Pryce not able to get to the passer? The real number one question IS HERE SOMETHING THIS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR IS DOING DIFFERENT THEN THE PLAYERS CAN DO?


3. The defensive backfeild is possbily the worse in the nfl. It is not likely we can find new players. What can be done to salvage the season? Minnesota, Colts, Pit, ... are going to eat us alive.

4. I have the feeling the is an undercurrent on this team with the direction things are going.

Well,Dan,Willis had 2 carries,Kelley W. could'nt touch the ball.Demetrious,I don't think,even touched the game field.D. Mason had to be a decoy;I feel like we played a good,tough defense but we might have been outcoached in the game today.I know the players play the game but I want to see some better game planning and halftime adjustments by the coaching staff down this road.Let's not take for granted that our quality players look for some leadership from the sidelines and they deserve the best decisions to play the game with better strategy than our opponents.

I'd like to see a little more creative playcalling. I realize that each play wasn't written up as a three-yard checkdown pass, but I'm hard pressed to name anything else that happened offensively today, other than the Rice breakout.

Also think that we need to start breaking out Troy Smith a little bit and utilize him for what he's worth. He hasn't appeared in the Wildcat/Suggs yet this year, other than as a decoy WR in the first game.

Dan, guess you missed my prediction of Bengals 27, Ravens 24. It makes me sad, but just facing life in the NFL these days.
This was an attitude adjustment game, and I predict that Brett Farve will wish that he had stayed retired after he plays against the Ravens. I think the Ravens will win by 27 to 14 over the Vikings.
Not much needs to be changed, just better pass coverage.

Get the defense under control. The Holding calls, illeagal contact and pass interference are getting pathetic. In the secondarys defense the 3 man D-line is not getting pressure on the QB. Nose tackle needs to be a beast, Move Nagta to nose tackle and bring in a Defensive end. Play a 4-3 instead of 3-4. Bart Scott is gone and Tavares isnt filling his shoes.

I think it starts with manning up and admitting you got your butts kicked by a team you were supposed to beat (the first time that's happened in the John Harbaugh era, really). So I'm encouraged that it sounds like the Ravens are doing this, rather than griping about the officials. If they can't bring absolute focus and urgency to the Metrodome, from start to finish, it's going to make for a very long bye week in Baltimore.

The Vikings have looked tremendous the past two weeks, but playing the Rams doesn't count, and the Monday Nighter against Green Bay was something of a unique circumstance. They looked very beatable the first three weeks (both Cleveland and Detroit outplayed them in the first half before folding in the second), and of course San Francisco lost on that Brett Favre miracle to Greg Lewis. If the Ravens really want to get a W, I'd recommend not giving Favre a chance to win the game in the final minute.

Recommit to the Three headed Monster running game (until someone stops it!)
Try to get into field goal range more often. Bet Steve H can kick if we give him more opportunities.Look how much of a difference one (or 2) field goals would have made in the last 2 games.
Ask Coach Harbaugh to bury the hatchet and try out C-Mac to see if he has anything left to offer.
And most importantly, hang in there. It's a long season!

stop playing like undisciplined idiots? Stop blaming the refs for all their loses? Maybe playing like a team? Or maybe the coaches should learn how to have b**** and make better calls? Any of those things would be nice, just one would be welcome.

the ravens got to get a big physical shut down corner to replace either foxworth or w experience and who already knows the system..sounds like its time to call up chris mcalister to me

in order to improve the ravens need to get a big, physical, shut down corner, who has experience and already knows the system since its already week 6...anyone else think ozzie should give chris mcalister a call??

You guys need a good QB.

It doesn't matter how good your receivers are if they can't get a decent ball thrown to them.

It doesn't matter how good your defense is if your QB can only get you 7 points and turns the ball over.

It doesn't matter how good your coaches are if they have to water down and simplify the offense for the lousy QB.

Your watered down offense cost you the game.

OH YEAH! The conspiracy the league has against the Ravens hurt you guys too. LOL!

What must the Ravens do to improve?

How about:

1) Score more points. Cant win too many games with 14 pts.

2) Be able to run the clock when they have the lead late in the 4th qtr. Bengals shouldnt have even gotten the ball back.

3) Have a game plan for the game the are playing. Did the Ravens look like they had any game plan this week? If you think they did, what was it? The only thing I saw was dump-off passes and run Rice.... Where was McGahee, Mason?

4) Get some pressure on QB. OK, everyone knows that our CBs need help, so we've decided to blitz less to give them some help. but then QBs have 10 seconds or more to wait until someone gets open... This is not working. If we were getting pressure without blitzing that would be one thing, but we arent. Where is Suggs, Price, anyone?

Mattison must go. We need an NFL defensive coordinator.

We need an NFL Caliber defensive coordinator. Mattison is not the guy for the Ravens. He does not have the experience we need.

Hey, what's wrong with being the 8th or so best team in the NFL? Still good exciting football.

Where to improve? As long as we keep running our helmets into their heads (with the division lead on the line late in a close game) we will never improve.

Ray not only lost the game, he put the orgainazation back 2 years. Sad because I think Ray's really a hell of a footbal player and a quality man amoung the community.

This was a team loss starting with management.

When you act like you won when really you lost, as happened to the Ravens last week, your in for rude awakeing, Hense, the Bengels.

Cornerbacks, cornerbacks, cornerbacks. Ed Reed may have the strength of ten men, but he's still physically one man and he can't do it by himself. The Ravens have been overmatched and embarrassed every single week except against the Browns. I'm tempted to say contact McAlister, it can't possible be worse than what they have.

Also, the play calling seems a little off. I dunno if Harbaugh is sticking too much to his game plan or abandoning it too soon, but the play calling rarely reflects what needs to be done. How many screen passes were there? Ray Rice made that fantastic play in spite of Flacco. There's a stat they showed that said Flacco has the most passes to his running back in the NFL. That's not a good stat.

I really think everything else in the team is fine. Of course they could use some WR help, but that's like saying a baseball team could use more pitching help. Once Gaither returns, the O-line will return to form. RB, QB, O-Line, D-Line are all good. I wouldn't change many people, I think a lot of right pieces are in the right place, they just have to get in the right place mentally. Both of these loses coulda been avoid if not for stupid penalties.

I don't live in Maryland anymore so I have to go to a bar to watch the games which ain't free. I'm not going to willingly plunk down $20 minimum to watch this team repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot. Look what happened to Plaxico. Honestly, these last two games were so tough, I'm taking a break until SNF against the Browns in Week 10.

I might even watch some hockey just to get back at football. Look what you made me do!

Put a call into Chris McCallister. There DB's are aweful. Ed Reed cant do it all. Find a MLB QUICK. Mr. Lewis is on his last leg and it shows. The play calling on offense was lame. Dump off and screens are what they needed last week against the cheaters..oh I mean Patriots. Joe "cool" showed signs of loosing his cool. He seemed timid in some of he throws neer the middle and end of the game. What ever puts him in he zone need to be refreshed. And STOP underestimate opponents! The Ravens played like they were expecting Cincy to roll over and they didnt. Instead the Ravens got rolled up. Or one more thing to improve, Stay off nationally televised games and never where white at home.

Why would you be stunned? The Ravens barely beat the Chiefs and the Chargers. And the D is overrated and always collapses at crunch time.

We were beat on both sides of the ball, and the coaches played a role.

Cam was very conservative, except in the 4th QTR when that would've been an asset. When we needed a first down to keep Palmer off the field, he takes a shot deep.

And Mattison? Look, by all accounts the only position where we were not better off than last year was the other ILB position Scott vacated. So with players who are the same, why the much different result? I gotta go with the coaching.

What must the Ravens do to improve?

Dangle McGahee and Trevor Pryce in front of Al Davis and get their All-Pro corner back in the upcoming annual Raider fire sale.

We need some better players pire and simple! The Ravens are not as good as advertised and I tried to warn everyone on one of Mike preston's blogs not to overlook the Bengals! I thought that Harbaugh would not let his team take other taems lightly as Brian Billick did, but I guess I was wrong. Too many Raven's players must have been reading these columns and stareted to believe what all the fans were wrongly aying about how easy a game this would be.We need some better talent on the defensive side of the ball, particularly in the backfield.This team is not the world beaters it was advertised to be! I bet we won't take any more teams lightly. But I will also bet that this team only goes 9-7!We will mis the playoffs this year, remember where you heard it first, and if we do make irt I will be the first to say I was wrong!

It's funny to read some of these comments (fire Cam Cameron). Some people actually thought we were gonna go 15-1.

Not much can be fixed in the personnel area since you hardly ever see an NFL trade. I think they need to do the following:

1. See just how talented Ladarius Webb is at corner. Can he be a shutdown CB? Fabian & Fox are not shutdowns.

2. I must admit, the loss of Bart Scott is starting to show. None of the crew replacing him has stood out and the drop off in run defense is, to put it in Billick terms, palpable.

3. Teams have figured out if you shut down Mason, the only option Flacco has via the air is Heap and dump offs to the RB's. Where or where is Demetrius Williams? Use him, at least as a decoy.

Look, 3-2 is not the end of the world. Our soft schedule in the beginning may have hid some problems. Now is the time to address them. I think we might be 3-3 after the Vikings game Sunday but I'm still keepiong the faith....

They need to get a real defensive coordinator instead of Harbaugh's dad's golf buddy

No pass rush. Simple as that.

Don't draft another QB from Deleware. No one else has ever done it, or ever will. Why us?

"If you're going to make those penalties, you better play well enough on other downs to make up for them. And we didn't do that today." Quote from Jim Harbaugh at post-game interview

First the the Ravens must learn how to win as a team. The second thing the Ravens must learn to do is catch the ball. The third thing the Ravens must do is learn how to play defense. The secondary sucks wind. The Ravens have to learn how to put pressure on the quarterback. The offensive coordinator has to run a balance attack. I will keep asking why is Baltimore so damn fascinated with the pass. Look at Miami when Mario was QB, how often did Miami make the Super Bowl once. Every team know to beat Miami all you have to do is defend against the pass. Look at New England they run a balance attack and look at their record. If Baltimore every wants to win again they need to remove their heads from their rear-ends and play smart and run a balance attack ( run and pass) plus play as a team not as individuals. Basically if Baltimore keeps playing like this we all might look at the 2010 draft because we have nothing else to forward except maybe bags over our heads.

Harbaugh won't let this team lose three straight. Ravens will rebound and give the Vikings their first loss of the season. Count on it.

I see the lemmings are in full march to the sea! Let's see what happens this week before calling it quits for the year. 17pts is not a lot to give up. Hopefully, Gaither gets back this week and the O line gets back to busting heads.

The defense can improve if it becomes less predictable. The blitzes aren't working because they are telegraghed and getting picked up. They need to be disguised better. The opposing offense is not getting flustered and are not get penalized as much because of that. things are too easy for them. The offense on Sunday was also too predictable. By not using mcgahee,mason or troy smith; the defense had less things to worry about.

Cam what are you smoking ? your play calling is worse than high school play calling , you have a three headed monster that you fail to utilized , since thye Ravens have discoverd that they can pass the ball they have completely forgotten about how they wore down their oppenents last season with the run game , Cam should know better than anyone if you run the ball down a teams throat that opens up the passing game ,but com'on Cam you've done better than this so stop smoking what ever the hell it is and get this right , as for our defense maybe we should try out Gooden at safety and bench Landry , also bench Foxworth and give the rookie a shot ( WEBB ) and then again maybe Harbaugh needs to swallow his pride and ask Mcallister to come back regardless of his problems , one thing is for sure he's dam more physical than Foxworth , oh and one more thing you guys may need to cut Rolle and pick up a veteran DB that could cover some of these big recievers in the league , the linebackers are fine I think they should give Ellebe more playing time because he seems a bit more physical than Gooden , never the less the coaches and managemaent need to admit that they made some poor decisions in picking up player's that we truely need and get back to Ravens smash mouth football , why have a running game when you don't even use it to your advantage , I sure hope the coaching staff reads these blogs, maybe then they'll get it !

The game was lost yesterday based on poor execution of the offense. Anytime a defense can keep points to 10, the offense has to be better prepared to score. The whole first half was a blurr, like our offense was not there. For all of the loser who keep talking of a "shutdown" corner, what in the world is one like. Every corner gets passes thrown on them, touchdowns caught, and will make mistakes ocassionally. What I saw while at the game yesterday, was just some coaching and playing not lose. WHen you coach not to lose, you lose. Our dline was not putting pressure on the QB, and it doesn't matter who the corners are, when you got more than 5 seconds, passes will be caught. So "rainy-day ravens fans" chill out. This team is still good. The game was not lost on defensively coverage, nor the penalties. the game was lost based on the intensity of the bengals, who wanted it more than our coaches did.

I agree with you all, our Defense lost that game for us.

Our Defense has to score more points and stop the other team from soring so much. Our offense had to score more than 10 points last game in order to win. That's unacceptable. Our offense is only good for 7 points maybe 9 if we are make some big plays.

Our defense is killing us by making our offense have to score more than 10 points. That's insane! No offense should have to put up with the pressure of having to score more than 10 points a game. Score more than 10 points(OMG)that's more than 2 scores(if one is a field goal). Come on Defense just cause you guys scored 7 points doesn't mean the offense should score more than 7 points. If the Defense would have scored another TD, we would have won. It's as simple as that. The Defense needs to get off their lazy butts and score 2 or 3 TDs a game. God! The offense shouldn't have to outscore the Defense. We need more Defensive players that aren't afraid to score TD's. Shoot I'd even take a DB that would take the interception or fumble and kick a Field Goal with it. Our defense would rather fall on a fumble or lay down after an interception. The Defense needs to score points, stop being lazy, and putting all the pressure on the offense.

Viks will beat you girls 38-6. AP could rush for 250. Brett may be old and slow, but he's not as old or as slow as your wannabe defense.

Welcome to 3-3, which sounds about right for your team (8-8 on the year).

Haha Ha!
You keep crying and we keep laughing.
The Ladies in Lavender SUUUCCCK!

Clone five more Ed Reed's and get rid of Foxworth, Landry, Carr, Washington and Walker who are basically useless as titz on a frog.

Can we say Pac-Man Jones. Is he available. I know he may come with trouble, But I believe he would be different this time around in the nfl. Know it will never happen, but we all can wonder.p

1. Replace Greg Mattison with someone who knows what they are doing in the NFL. Being Harbaugh's fathers best friend and a 35 year college defensive line coach does NOT qualify you as a D-Coordinator in the NFL.

2. Put Clayton in the slot, and Washington on the outside as the starter. Time to end the Mark Clayton project. He's a bust.

3. Tell Harbaugh to keep his nose out of personel descisions.

4. Tell Harbaugh to keep his nose out of the special teams.

5. If numbers 3 and 4 don't happen immeadiatly, replace Harbaugh with Cameron. The offense is the ONLY thing that has improved since Harbaugh came to Baltimore, and that's because Harbaugh isn't involved in it.

Teams now know how to beat us -stop the run, double team Mason and pass like crazy. We should have traded for that big, tall, "go-to" receiver and they wouldn't be able to double up on Mason and concentrate on stopping the run. They should have made the move to trade Clayton, Troy Smith and a draft pick for a WR. It would have been well worth it. Without that threat, we'll be lucky to go 8-8. They were fools to think they could go with their current crop of receivers. Our defense is not what it used to be and we now need to score more points per game.

learn to play defense on passing plays since it seems like teams are passing with ease against them and then limiting the stupid, unnecessary penalties such as blindsiding a receiver who didn't have the ball thrown to him.

Short of getting a shut-down corner and/or a stud receiver, we have to change our strategy and play to our strengths.

Defense: we are not getting pressure on the QB, giving him all day to pass. This has worked for our opponents since our CBs are not all-Pro caliber.

We need to do what Rex did: blitz more. Trevor Pryce is not getting to the QB, and T-Fizzle is not earning his big pay, so our defensive playcalling has to be more creative.

Offense: more running. It's good that we have an improved QB, but we did not significantly upgrade our WRs this year, so get more yards and time off the clock using the ground game. Plus, we have a good corps of runners, so why not use them?

i am so late on the response to this, but i definitely appreciate the mention on calling the bengals game. thanks, dan. truly wish we won that one though.

from what i see there are no complete fixes for this team this year. we pretty much are who we are. a potent offensive team -that with clever play-calling can score points while still leaving possible weapons on the bench [mclain, demetrius williams, webb, troy smith].
a defense with holes and tendancies that can't be fixed without roster changes. & the raven's special teams is average and there is no fix for that.

the defense lost two fiery out-spoken guys in chris mccallister and my favorite bart scott. that 'fire', attitude & ravens swagger is barely noticeable on defense. team ideas:
1. blitz on 3rd and long for a change. force the quarterbacks to chuck the ball in the air early and blind and allow ed reed to play on his instincts
2. try getting rice to the outside on runs, defenses can't keep up for a full game
3. get clayton back in the slot, he needs the free space
4. actually bump and be physical on receivers at the line of scrimmage
5. pass plays on 1st down are great, but remember what running the ball 3 times in a row last season got you bring that back every now and then
6. roster changes at the end of the season

to their defense, maybe they are saving a few things for the post-season, or trying to change the mentality of the team but sticking with the pass. many possibilities. the result i fear is a 10-6, looking at the playoffs from home end to the season. in either case NO one in baltimore watched EVERY raven game from start to finish until after they won the superbowl. so there will be ups and downs.

pay Scott and LEONARD what ever they want to return!

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