Baltimore Ravens: What starting over could look like
Change is inevitable and eventually the Ravens have to give way to it:
After the 2018 season the Baltimore Ravens will have a new General Manager. While there’s nothing new about Eric DeCosta in Baltimore, it won’t be Ozzie Newsome running the show. With the Ravens 4-4 record, comes the thought that the team should completely hit the reset button.
A full reset would mean the departure of John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco. A soft reset would mean keeping Flacco around for one more year. For the sake of this conversation let’s envision a full fledged reset by the franchise that gives the pink slip to both Harbaugh and Flacco. The head coach and quarterback combination have been the one constant in Baltimore since 2008. They will always be legends of the franchise, but their baggage may be what is holding the team back.
A reset will mean that Lamar Jackson would the new face of the Ravens, whether he’ll be ready or not. The Ravens would have a first year GM, a new head coach and a quarterback of the future being turned into the quarterback of the present. One reason the reset makes so much sense after this season is that Baltimore is set up to be competitive already.
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The Ravens being stuck in the 8-8 or 9-7 pattern is actually a great place to start. The Ravens don’t have to build a completely different vehicle, they just have to fix the existing one up. The defense is set for a little bit. The contract status of C.J. Mosley and the future of Jimmy Smith are about the only questions remaining about the defense in the immediate future.
The Ravens have a young cornerback in Marlon Humphrey that is a huge piece of the puzzle. The defensive line will still be strong. The Ravens hopefully can keep Za’Dsrius Matt Judon, Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser are good pieces that make the outside linebacker position potentially great for years to come. Kenny Young is a stud linebacker who is going to become one of the best players at his position. Defensively, there is a lot figured out.
The Ravens have to re-sign John Brown. There’s just no getting around it. If the Ravens extend Brown’s contract, the offense has reason for optimism. Baltimore has Michael Crabtree for another two seasons. Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst have a ton of potential. With Jackson as the guy under center, all the sudden the franchise can build an offense around his skill set.
The Ravens would need to find a Lamar Jackson friendly head coach. Jackson will create a ton of problems for opposing defenses. He’s always a threat to make plays with his legs, and if he hones his passing abilities, Jackson could be the most exciting show in the NFL. The Ravens already have a lot of things in place. The Ravens aren’t baking from scratch, they have a head start.
Saying goodbye to Flacco would free up some cap space. If the Ravens make good use of it, they can compete right away. The fact of the matter is that at 4-4 Baltimore is underachieving. John Harbaugh isn’t the answer in Baltimore. The same things just keep blocking the team from taking the next step.
Starting over is an idea that makes a lot of sense, no matter what happens this season. This is a glimpse at why starting over may not be so bad. It’s all about finding the right answers along the way. The Ravens need to pick the right head coach, and the same old underachieving Ravens could turn into an exciting fresh start.