John Eisenberg: Ravens Issue Or Non-Issue?


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It was a harmless throwaway line that went viral on the Internet, where the hunger for "hot" quotes is insatiable, and unfortunately for Flacco, his could trail him into the season. The good news? He doesn't care.

OK, that's two-zip in favor of non-issues. We might have a blowout going here. (Cue laugh track at unfunny comment.)

The next headline on our docket is an interesting one: Does the offense need to play better and score more in 2012 because Suggs is going to be out for part or all of the season?

This one has generated a lot of conversation, including comments from Flacco himself. So is it an issue or a non-issue? (Drum roll, judgment light...) It's not an issue, folks! It's just something to talk about!

Flacco and the offense do need to play better in 2012, but not because Suggs is out. They just need to raise their game, period, after ranking 19th in the league in passing and 15th in overall yardage in 2011. Those rankings don't befit a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

And to be specific, the offense doesn't really need to get better, just more consistent. It gave plenty of solid performances in 2011, enough for the Ravens to rank 12th in the league in scoring. But there were also some miserable clunkers (Jacksonville, Seattle) during which you just scratched your head and wondered what was going on.

Although the Ravens lost the AFC title game, they proved in that game how potent they are when their offense is humming, as it was that day. They don't have to score 40 points a game now that Suggs is out. They just need to eliminate the clunkers, tweak what is working and go play ball.

And with or without Suggs, their defense is still going to carry them.

OK, now that that's settled, we have one headline left on our docket: Is there a starting-caliber left guard in the house?

Issue or non-issue? (Drum roll…) Hey, what do you know, this is an issue, folks! A real item of relevance! (Applause.)

The departure of Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs left the Ravens with a hole in their offensive line. They were concerned enough about it to offer major dollars to a solid veteran replacement, Evan Mathis, who used the offer to score a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Caught in a salary-cap crunch, the Ravens decided just to promote from within and let young-guys Jah Reid, Kelechi Osemele and Gino Gradkowski compete for the spot. Whether one is genuinely ready remains to be seen.

OK, thanks for playing Issue or Non-Issue, where we don't just digest the news, we disseminate it. Big word there! See you next week!

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