The NFL released their All-Decade team for the 2010s. There were only two Ravens on the roster. What does this say about the Ravens?
The fact that Marshal Yanda and Justin Tucker were the only Baltimore Ravens on the NFL All-Decade team helps paint the picture of the past decade. The face of the franchise was Joe Flacco, a quarterback who waffled between great, above average and mediocre throughout the decade. There weren’t a lot of superstars wearing the purple and black and this is just another reinforcement of that.
The sad thing is that you really can’t make an argument for a Ravens’ snub on the offensive side of things. Ray Rice‘s last season was in 2013 and he looked to be losing a step before his incident. The best receivers the Ravens had were Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith and Steve Smith Sr. as we’re not counting one year of Derrick Mason. Even if Mason was included it’s not putting a receiver on the All-Decade team.
You could possibly make a case for Ronnie Stanley, who has been a starting left tackle since 2016. The thing is it would be a hard argument against Jason Peters, Tyron Smith, Joe Staley and Joe Thomas. The NFL put the right guys on the team.
The fact of the matter is that the Ravens were one of the least exciting teams to watch for a sizable chunk of the decade. Now, the Ravens are appointment television for all football fans because Lamar Jackson is a player you have to watch.
Then, the Ravens didn’t have a lot of marketable superstars. When Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were gone, and the offense was in a constant state of meh, Baltimore wasn’t getting a ton of prime time games for a reason.
The argument can easily be made that Terrell Suggs clearly belongs on this roster. He was a 2011 Defensive Player of the Year. He’s a future Hall of Fame inductee and he was a constant for a Ravens team that remained competitive despite lacking superstar talent.
In fact the frustrating thing is that in 2013, 2016 and 2017, the Ravens were too good to get a good draft pick and too bad to make the postseason. The only top 10 draft pick the Ravens had was in 2016, when they took Stanley. 2014 was a nice break a bad streak yet it ended in gut wrenching heartbreak at the hands of the New England Patriots.
If you’re wondering why Eric DeCosta has put so much focus on the defense this offseason it isn’t just about what Derrick Henry did. The Ravens have always been synonymous with great defense. When the decade started could anyone imagine that an NFL All-Decade team made in 2020 wouldn’t include a defensive player for Baltimore? The Ravens need to get back to having the best defensive players in the league.
2008-2012 was the golden age of Ravens football. The purple and black were a perennial playoff team and they finally climbed up to Super Bowl greatness. From 2013 until Action Jackson saved the day in 2018, was overall a rough period for the franchise. The Ravens needed superstars. That may be why DeCosta has brought in players like Jackson, Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. The way to a bright future is having top of the line talent as we start a new decade.