Well, after a four-month leave of absence from the “Bird”, I’m back. Readers of ebonybird.com, I, Justin Silberman, would just like to take this time to thank of all you who followed me throughout the summer and followed my daily posts during training camp, “Straight Outta Westminster”.
I would like to announce that I will be re-joining Ebonybird for the remainder of the season and will be helping out the new head of the blog, Casey “Finbro” Durkin. I would like to take this moment to thank the former head of the blog, Joe Barnes for bringing me on-board in June. I’m very sorry to the avid followers of the blog I could not contribute much to the blog during the first fourteen weeks of the season. Now that I’m on winter break from college I will be contributing weekly to the blog once again. Without further ado, lets get to this weeks three keys to victory for the Ravens as the defending Super Bowl Champion; New Orleans Saints invade the rugged confines of M & T Bank stadium in a premiere battle of playoff contenders.
Click “Continue Reading” in order to see Justin’s ‘Keys to Victory’
1.) Pressure and Get To Drew Brees. I know, I know, it’s a like a broken record, but when the Ravens lack a pass rush, especially against elite quarterbacks their weak secondary has been exploited. That being said, it will be essential for the Ravens to get pressure on all-pro quarterback Drew Brees.
If you look at the games the Ravens have lost leads in this year, it’s due in large part, to the lack of pass rush the Ravens generate in second half’s of games. On the flip side, if you look at the games the Saints have lost this season look what the defenses have been able to do to Drew Brees, most notably the Cleveland Browns, yes those Browns, teams have gotten to Brees and made the pocket an uncomfortable place for him leading to sacks and interceptions.
Besides the steady play of Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata there has been little pressure generated by the Ravens front 7, if the Ravens have any hope in slowing down Brees and the Saints high powered offense guys like Corey Redding, Jarrett Johnson, and Paul Kruger will have to step up and pressure Drew Brees on passing downs. If the Ravens front 7 plays the way they did in the 2nd half of Monday’s near collapse in Houston it could be a long day for the defense.
2.) Pound the Rock. Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said last week he wanted to get back to the physical nature the Ravens offense had been known for the past decade. I did not see that what so ever, after opening the game with just one run in their first series I don’t understand what is going on with the play calling.
Granted the offensive line has had it’s ups and downs this year, the Ravens need to get back to the smash-mouth identity, which they have been in search for all season long. Lets go back to Monday Night’s game against Houston, on 3rd and 2 what does Cam Cameron draw up? A 3-yard curl route to Anquan Boldin, now I understand the Ravens went out and got Anquan Boldin in the off-season for these types of the situations. But, with a shade under 3 minutes left in the game, no timeouts for the Texans, and with Le’ron McClain’s physical presence in the backfield, why not give it to your pro-bowl fullback?
If the Ravens want to their winded, tired, older defense a favor, they’ll run the clock and figure out this identity crisis that has plagued them all season and give a healthy dose of carries to Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and Le’ron McClain. If the Ravens O-line can get a push against a weak Saints front outside of stud Middle-Linebacker John Vilma, I look for Ray Rice to have a breakout game, something the Ravens faithful and Rice himself have been searching for all season long.
3.) The Offense Must Put it Together For A Full Game. The Ravens offense must come out from start to finish and put together a complete game. All year the same problem has plagued the Ravens, which has been the offense not putting together a complete game. If the Ravens want to win Sunday’s game that needs to be turned around, with the Saints have the ability to score points in bunches the Ravens will have to match them score for score.
As I have watched the Ravens offense game by game this year, after each game I’m more puzzled than the game before, one half they can look like the greatest show on turf, but than in the same game something just turns off and the Ravens offense rolls over and die. When the offense struggles it’s as if the opponent is in the backfield and in the huddle knowing what play is coming. In fact, when the Ravens offense struggles, they become predictable and conventional.
If I’m Cam Cameron this week, I throw everything out of the window and do what you do best which is pounding the ball down the Saints throat and letting Cool Joe throw outside the numbers to receivers Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason. Then, with the defense least expecting take a few shots down the field to your speedy receiver Donte Stallworth who has been almost non-existent in this offense, and you know he is salivating for the opportunity to burn his old team.
The writing is on the board for the Ravens. The coaching staff has come under much fire since the collapse on Sunday Night Football against the Steelers and the near collapse this past Monday night against the Houston Texans.
Look for the coach John Harbaugh and coordinators Cam Cameron and Greg Mattison to get back to the drawing board for Sunday’s huge test against the Saints.
The Ravens are on the verge of clinching their 3rd straight postseason birth under 3rd year Head Coach John Harbaugh, a victory against the defending champs would go a long way in solidifying their quest for not only a playoff birth, but another shot at a Super Bowl. With the Steelers facing a tough test in a desperate, hungry New York Jets team, a Ravens win coupled with a Steelers loss would inch the Ravens that much closer to an AFC North division title, which would be the Ravens first since 2006.