Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:
Wink Martindale gave the Ravens' defense an identity, which can't be said for many unit coordinators in the NFL. He understood the defensive tradition in Baltimore and added to it. Changes at coordinator are part of life in the NFL, so life goes on. But Wink will be missed.
He didn't play in 2021 because of a back injury, but I'm wondering whether to pencil Derek Wolfe into the Ravens' plans going forward. My best guess is no, but remember, Wolfe is under contract for 2022, unlike his fellow D-linemen Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams, both pending free agents.
It's definitely a lost season when you're scrutinizing mock drafts during the playoffs. But here we are. So far, I've seen the Ravens projected to take offensive linemen, defensive linemen, cornerbacks and edge rushers at No. 14. Honestly, I'd settle for any of those provided they hit on the pick.
Speaking of mock drafts, it might take me awhile to adjust to the Ravens not being linked to every wide receiver with a pulse. That's how things have rolled around here for years, but now that the Ravens' cupboard is relatively full, wide receiver is among their lowest positional needs.
The first weekend of the postseason offered a stark lesson in how tough it is to be a young quarterback making his playoff debut. Joe Burrow won, but Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones lost by a combined 69 points. (Lamar Jackson nods and says, "Yup.")
Go figure: The AFC's No. 1 playoff seed (Titans) led the NFL in time of possession this season, and the NFC's No. 1 seed (Packers) ranked third. But in between those ball-hogging heavyweights, ranked No. 2 in time of possession, was a team that didn't even make the playoffs (Ravens).
Eric Weddle admits he came out of retirement to play for the Rams in the playoffs because he never made it to a Super Bowl during his long career, which included three seasons with the Ravens. What a story it would be if the Rams take him there this season.
The Ravens found, drafted and developed Ryan Jensen, loved his feisty style and how he had everyone's back. I'm sure they're proud to see him snapping to Tom Brady in the playoffs, but the reality is they've missed him from the day he got away and signed with the Bucs.
It was tough watching the Ravens' late-season fall to last place in the AFC North, but a glance at their 2022 schedule offers the first stirrings of solace. Of their 11 games outside of the division, only three are against teams that made the playoffs this season (Bills, Patriots, Bucs).
I'm sure former Ravens assistant head coach David Culley can go back to being a mostly obscure assistant somewhere in the NFL, if he wants. The Texans embarrassed themselves more than him by firing him after one year as their head coach. Culley had an outmanned team playing hard.