Preston: Selfless, centered Ravens are dealing with their current success effectively
The Ravens’ greatest weak spot can also be their prime energy.
They haven’t any superstars, so that they don’t must take care of the issues that include them. Nobody complains in regards to the lack of publicity or endorsements. There isn’t any finger-pointing or discuss future contracts.
They simply work.
The Ravens don’t get too excessive with the highs or too low with the lows. The staff’s 44-20 win in opposition to the Detroit Lions on Sunday was the proper instance.
It was the Ravens’ finest total efficiency of the season. They beat one of many NFL’s prime quarterbacks in Matthew Stafford, and the offense lastly had some vertical performs as quarterback Joe Flacco emerged from a season-long funk.
The Ravens have been 7-5 final 12 months and driving a streak of 4 wins in 5 video games. However the absence of Smith led to a defensive collapse. The Ravens hope historical past does not repeat itself.
The Ravens have been 7-5 final 12 months and driving a streak of 4 wins in 5 video games. However the absence of Smith led to a defensive collapse. The Ravens hope historical past does not repeat itself. (Jeff Zrebiec)
The Ravens have received three straight and improved on their wild-card playoff place, and but there wasn’t any trash-talking within the locker room. The gamers celebrated, however they didn’t go overboard.
They perceive. They know they’ve flaws in order that they’ve to stay centered.
Trash-talking has been the trademark of some Ravens groups. They’d two of the most effective within the enterprise in tight finish Shannon Sharpe and linebacker Bart Scott. These guys might again it up, however some others couldn’t.
Coach John Harbaugh has executed a superb job of squelching many of the attainable exterior distractions. Gamers on the present roster don’t usually make comparisons with traditionally good Ravens groups. There isn’t a lot discuss anymore about being an awesome protection. The truth is, defensive gamers have gone out of their method to help their counterparts on the offense.
As for Tremendous Bowl discuss, that’s generated solely from solutions to direct questions from the media. Swagger? Nice groups had it however they by no means talked about it.
The Ravens are removed from being an awesome staff, which is why Harbaugh stresses placing items collectively regularly. With out the superstars, there aren’t any fast fixes.
“It’s a staff sport,” Harbaugh stated. “Each sport goes to play out in a different way. Subsequent week goes to be a unique sport than this week. We’ve got to discover a method to win the subsequent sport, utilizing all three phases. You understand, pulling collectively and doing all your finest. Actually, that’s what it’s all about. A bit of bit higher, at the moment of 12 months, goes a great distance.
“In case you proceed to enhance in each space, just a bit bit, it’s going to repay for us.”
That’s the hope.
“We’re completely satisfied the place we’re,” tight finish Benjamin Watson stated. “We’re pleased with profitable, clearly. Anytime you win a sport on this league, it’s vital. Going to Pittsburgh goes to be robust. Each groups are going to must be prepared. We’re going to arrange this week and take a look at to enter Pittsburgh and get a win.
“I believe we’re nonetheless working to get higher. If we have a look at the movie, there are nonetheless performs we should always have made all the best way round. There’s going to be corrections to be made. It’s satisfying to attain some factors, however, you already know what, we’ve quite a lot of vital soccer video games to play, and we’re going to must play higher.”
The Ravens are critical. They aren’t speaking simply to speak. They patched up communication issues within the secondary once they surfaced early within the season. They grew to become dominant in stopping the run once more quickly after sort out Brandon Williams returned from an ankle damage.
On Sunday, after months of criticism, the Ravens lastly compiled 294 yards of whole passing as Flacco accomplished passes of 66, 17, 23, 18 and 14 yards. That’s an enormous deal right here in Baltimore.
Now, the query is, can they do it once more? It’s one factor to supply that sort of offense in opposition to the Lions, who have been so unorganized that they’d 9 gamers on protection throughout probably the most decisive third-down play of the sport. It’s one other if you’re taking part in in opposition to a protection coached by the New England Patriots’ Invoice Belichick or the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin.
“We’ve nonetheless acquired to get again to work and go do the identical issues week in and week out and put factors on the board,” Flacco stated.
The Ravens developed yet another downside Sunday. They misplaced their prime cornerback Jimmy Smith for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Now they’ve to make use of younger gamers, corresponding to rookie Marlon Humphrey and second 12 months participant Maurice Canady, extra repeatedly.
Defensive gamers felt sympathy for Smith, nevertheless it’s not within the nature of this staff to whine and curl up into the fetal place. The work ethic is just too robust. They know they don’t have the big-name playmakers and dropping a prime participant like Smith simply forces them to crawl, struggle and scratch to win one other sport.
It’s all about angle.
“Truthfully, I don’t care about that,” broad receiver Mike Wallace stated of the Ravens’ profitable streak. “I simply need to win, week in and week out. It doesn’t matter if we’re 15-Zero, if we lose, I’d really feel like we’re Zero-15. I’d be harm. It doesn’t matter what number of video games we win at a time; it’s about that sport proper there. This subsequent sport is big for us, simply to take a step in the appropriate course. These guys got here to our subject and beat us final time, so it’s our flip to return the favor.”