The season is officially over for the Baltimore Ravens after they fell to 8-8 with a 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The 2016 season was a roller coaster of emotions for Baltimore, one that started with high potential then ended with heartbreak. Ultimately, the Ravens are on the outside of the post season looking in for the second straight season.
Although this season did not end with a playoff berth, it shouldn’t be viewed as a total disappointment. Baltimore was spoiled for the first five years of the John Harbaugh/Joe Flacco era with three AFC championship appearances and a Super Bowl.
In 2015, Harbaugh and Flacco suffered their first losing season together because of injuries and a lack of play-makers across the board.
This past offseason, the Ravens’ Front Office set out to make major changes for this team. Most moves were positive, and resulted in a three-win increase from 2015. Albeit, Baltimore left a few wins on the field throughout the season, leaving fans with a feeling that this season could’ve gone much better.
Before the Week Eight Bye, Baltimore started the season with three consecutive wins, followed by four consecutive losses. Eric Weddle said it best when he stated that Baltimore could’ve easily started the season out 6-0 or 0-6. Each game went to the wire, and could have gone either way in every contest.
Baltimore went 5-4 down the stretch, and usually followed up encouraging performances with disappointing losses (@Dallas, @New England, and @Cincinnati). In hind-sight, this squad improved on their dreadful 2015 performance, and this season can be viewed as a bridge between rebuilding phases.
Baltimore improved in many phases this year. They improved their offensive line by drafting Ronnie Stanley and Alex Lewis. The secondary was remade with the additions of Eric Weddle and Tavon Young, as well as moving Lardarius Webb to free safety. The defense tied for the league lead in interceptions (18) after recording only 6 in 2015. Inserting linebacker Zachary Orr next to Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley gives Baltimore its best inside linebacking duo since Ray Lewis and Bart Scott. Finally, the encouraging young duo of Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon deserve to be a staple in this offense going forward. That is, assuming they hire an Offensive Coordinator who will run the ball consistently.
As well as improving in many areas, there were still weaknesses left on this team. Although the offensive line improved, the play-calling did not. The Offensive Coordinating duo of Marc Trestman/Marty Mornhinweg held Flacco’s offense back all year. The offense led the league in passing attempts, while ranking 30th in rushing attempts. Flacco is unsuccessful when he is forced to throw the ball 40+ times per game. The offense had troubles in the redzone all year, and consistently dealt with turnovers and penalties at the worst possible moments.
On defense, the lack of a pass rush was evident all year. It affected the defense late in many games and allowed many offenses to shred Baltimore’s secondary in the 4th quarter. Baltimore tied for 24th in the league with 31 sacks. Terrell Suggs led the team with 8 sacks, while playing with a torn biceps for much of the year, but could not get much help elsewhere from his younger counterparts. Timmy Jernigan started the year with a hot streak, but fizzled down the stretch and ended with only 5 sacks. Rookie Matt Judon showed flashes of brilliance with 4 sacks, but must improve on consistency going forward. Pass rushers will be a big need in 2017.
Overall, Baltimore made positive strides in 2016 after a terrible 2015, and played meaningful football until Christmas day. Baltimore hit on most of its draft picks and free agent acquisitions, with many new faces making contributions this year. If the Ravens can bring in another draft class or two like this year’s class, combined with a few solid veteran contributors, they will find themselves back where they are most comfortable: the post season.
Ravens’ Alex Collins Arrested
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins was arrested early on Friday morning following a car crash about a mile from the Ravens’ team facility, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun.
Per the report: Officers responded to a report of a car that had crashed into a tree on the 10000 block of Dolfield Road at about 6:48 a.m. Friday morning, Baltimore County police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Peach said.
Collins, 24, was arrested, however charges were not made public at the time of this writing.
Ravens vice president of public relations Chad Steele told The Baltimore Sun that the team has spoken with law enforcement and is aware of the situation involving Collins.
Collins is coming off a down year with Baltimore after a breakout campaign in 2017. Collins managed only 411 yards rushing in 2018 and was placed on injured reserve back in December, ending his season early.
Ray Rice Says He Is Done With Football
Former NFL running back Ray Rice, who had been working to try and get a second chance in the NFL over the past couple of years, is no longer pursuing a comeback.
“I’ll be the first one to say it; I don’t have to retire to tell you I’m done with football” Rice said, during an interview on CBS This Morning.
“The pressure I was under of being a star, that was the person I hated the most.”
Rice was suspended indefinitely back in 2014 when a video surfaces showing Rice punching his then-fiancee, now wife, Janay Rice while the two were alone in an elevator.
Rice was never picked up by another team following the conclusion of his suspension, and his release from the Baltimore Ravens.
Rice said that he sees “similarities” between his situation and the one of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who was recently cut loose by the team when a video surfaced showing him pushing and kicking a woman in a hallway.
“Somewhere down the line everybody who’s sayin’, ‘Does he deserve a second chance for football?’ And this that and the other— I actually got my second chance” Rice said of Hunt, who cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
“During my darkest moments, and I used to ask myself, ‘How could she even be—want to support me?’ … That’s understandable. But I think what’s misunderstood about us is that the friends we were before the incident. That’s why, like I said, when I look at Kareem Hunt, I wanna know what his life was like. I want to know what happened in life. I know Kareem has apologized, and has expressed remorse for survivors of domestic violence.”
Ravens Trying To Entice Fans With Lower Concession Prices
The Baltimore Ravens are attempting to win back fans and their latest plan is making a big step toward doing just that as the team announced on Tuesday that they will reduce concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium in 2018.
The Ravens have been on a mission to bring back fans who were angered by some players’ national anthem protests coupled with their 3-year playoff drought.
A series of moves have demonstrated their efforts. The team invited fans to ask questions at a media pre-draft news conference held a question-and-answer session with fans at the team facility with owner Steve Bisciotti, coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome, and also have had team president Dick Cass meet and talk to fan clubs.
While the team has sold out every game during their 20-year history at M&T Bank Stadium, empty seats grew in numbers as the 2017 season wore on, and the no-shows are very obvious.
The organization is taking this initiative very seriously.
“It’s something I would really like to take a hard look at, and at least, come up with select items that we can do,” Bisciotti said back in February of this year.
“If it means us … I can’t make Aramark do that with me, but I can make them go along as long as it’s my share of the profits that I’m waiving. Yeah, I’d like to take a look at that. I think we could probably do that.”
There is an official news conference scheduled for Thursday where the Ravens will officially announce price reductions on concessions.
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