Ravens Not Joking About Going 8-0. Can They Really Do It?
The Ravens aren't saying it with a "just joking" wink. They're not trying to hold back a smile either.
They'll look you dead in the eye with a straight face and say they can go 8-0 in the second half of the season.
"We're trying to make history and just win all of the rest of our games," defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan said.
Jernigan is on record. Kicker Justin Tucker is also on record about winning out, and Head Coach John Harbaugh confirmed "he wasn't joking."
OK, well, you expect the team to say such things. Shoot, they are expected to really believe it too.
But what about outsiders? Do they think it's possible? After all, just last week the Ravens were tied for the worst record in the NFL, making them the leading candidate for the No. 1 overall draft pick. One win later, and we're already back to talking about the playoffs?
Most analysts chuckle at such a notion, but ESPN's Jamison Hensley isn't mocking the idea.
"Sure, that might sound slightly crazy," Hensley wrote. "There are some metrics to their madness, however."
Here are Hensley's metrics:
- The Ravens' remaining opponents have a combined 25-31 record (.446).
- Only two of those opponents have winning records (St. Louis and Cincinnati).
- Five of the remaining eight games are at home.
- Five of the teams who face the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium are 6-13 on the road (.315).
- Two of the Ravens' road trips are against teams with 2-5 (.285) home records.
So there's the logic. The remaining question is whether the Ravens have enough talent to pull it off.
They would have to do it with a banged-up receiving corps that features five undrafted players of the six that are healthy enough to play. They'll also need to do it with a defense that continues to give up big plays and struggles making turnovers. The Ravens are on pace to set the NFL record for fewest takeaways in a non-strike season.
Is this the group that can, as Jernigan said, make history? No NFL team has ever made the playoffs after starting 1-6.
I'm interested in everyone's predictions. What record do you think the Ravens will finish with?
To get things started, below are The Baltimore Times' Turron Davenport's game-by-game predictions, which would have the Ravens finishing 5-11.
Week 10: Ravens 27, Jaguars 21
Week 11: Rams 17, Ravens 14
Week 12: Ravens 24, Browns 21
Week 13: Ravens 24, Dolphins 20
Week 14: Seahawks 27, Ravens 20
Week 15: Chiefs 27, Ravens 24
Week 16: Steelers 17, Ravens 14
Week 17: Bengals 30, Ravens 21
Don't Read Too Much Into Harbs' Reaction To Jacoby
I'm not sure Head Coach John Harbaugh meant to add flames to the already raging fire that was burning among fans after former Ravens receiver/returner Jacoby Jones was released by the San Diego Chargers.
Interestingly, the first time Harbaugh even heard that Jones was available was when a public relations member brought it to his attention during a presser Wednesday afternoon. He told the media that the Ravens would likely "discuss" his release.
And boy, did that get fans excited.
WNST's Luke Jones was quick to throw some water on the fire.
"Wouldn't read anything into Harbaugh's comment on Jacoby Jones," Jones tweeted. "Even if no interest, he respects him too much to say that publicly."
And The Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli came along with another bucket of water.
"Judging by Jones' availability not even being on Harbaugh's radar until nearly a full day later, and his lack of a role in the Ravens offense last year, it's safe to say he might not be making an impact in Baltimore anytime soon," he wrote.
Putting Your Mind At Ease Regarding Suggs
In our Ravens Mailbag yesterday, a fan had asked why Terrell Suggs had "abandoned" his organization and teammates.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. That's a little extreme, don't you think?
It's true that Suggs has been on his own since undergoing an Achilles tendon surgery. But first of all, it's not abnormal for a veteran with a season-ending injury to rehab away from the team facility (see Ray Lewis). Second, doctors don't want him walking around for at least six weeks after the surgery. Third, Suggs has not been MIA.
His position coach, Ted Monachino, told media Tuesday that he has been in regular contact with the Ravens' defensive leader.
"I do communicate with him because I'm his position coach," said Monachino. "I don't talk with him every day, every other day or three times a week. But I do stay up to date or where he is and what he's doing in his process of recovery. I know this. Every time I talk to him I can't get him off the phone. He misses being around his teammates, he wants to be here with us, but he is in a phase right now with that lower leg he can't be.
"So I do talk to him. He's in a good place mentally and I know he misses us and wants to be here with us fighting with his brother."
Russell Street Reports' Brian Bower says that Monachino's comments should put "your mind at ease."
"While the Ravens could use the leadership from Suggs, it's not uncommon for players that are put on injured reserve not to be around their respective teams," Bower wrote. "For now, it's about getting healthy for Suggs if he indeed does make a run at returning in 2016."
New WR Morgan Says Flacco Is Hall Of Fame-Type Quarterback
Newly-signed wide receiver Joe Morgan skipped right past that long-held debate and called his new quarterback, Joe Flacco, a "Hall of Fame-type" player on the first day on the job.
"I was playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees and then to come up here, you're playing with Joe Flacco, which you can say in the same sentence is a Hall of Fame-type quarterback," Morgan told reporters in the locker room yesterday. "So there is no fall-off at all."
The comment made Hensley's ears perk up and eyebrows rise. After all, Brees does have 30,702 more passing yards and 253 more touchdown passes than Flacco.
"Morgan certainly knows how to get off on the right foot with quarterback Joe Flacco," he wrote. "The point Morgan was trying to make is that he feels there isn't a major drop in the caliber of quarterback. It's not like he was going from the Saints to the Houston Texans or New York Jets."
Steve Smith Sightings
He's not giving any clues about his retirement, but Steve Smith Sr. is still as active as ever on social media.
The 36-year-old veteran and his wife stopped by the Under Armour Performance Center yesterday to deliver a donation for the Ravens players in their competition with Ravens staff members to see who can raise the most food for the hungry. Then, the couple set off together to Charlotte, where Smith will undergo surgery to repair his torn Achilles tendon.