As I write this, the calendar tells me we have entered the month of December. Anyone with some semblance of intelligence knew that this season would be different, but I find it hard to believe that many Ravens fans anticipated the team struggling as much as they have to this point.
Something is off with the team, and I am here to explore how to fix it.
What Could Be Wrong?
If you type “Lamar Jackson” into your Twitter search bar, your computer may burst into flames. If it doesn’t, you will find some truly fascinating opinions about the reigning MVP and whether or not the blame starts and ends with him. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.) Lamar’s performance doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and there are plenty of contributing factors outside of his control that have gotten the team to where they are today.
One such contributing factor is the playcalling. This one holds more water than lazily cherry-picking Lamar Jackson stats. The dynamic offense we watched last year is a distant memory, and the guys who are paid to design, call, and pivot the offensive scheme are very much failing to do their jobs adequately.
Additionally — and perhaps, as a result of the aforementioned playcalling — some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball have woefully underperformed. The offense is certainly built around the skillset of Lamar Jackson, but the weapons around him haven’t elevated their play to get the most out of what he can bring to the offense. Far too often, we see guys completely disappear; if the Ravens are going to have a turnaround, it’s going to come in the form of getting those players more involved in creative ways.
Injuries have been a major issue for this team, as well. The Ravens have lost key players in almost every position group. While every team expects to deal with players getting hurt, it’s incredibly difficult to overcome the loss of guys like Ronnie Stanley, Calais Campbell, Mark Ingram, and Nick Boyle, to name a few. Again, this is a contributing factor, so just relax.
COVID-19 has been the most recent obstacle to getting this season back on track — an outbreak the likes of which the league hadn’t seen to this point, setting in motion a series of postponements that have become one of the most polarizing topics of conversation of this whole season. Everyone had to expect that COVID-related adjustments would have to be made if we wanted to see a full NFL season — and here we are, adjusting.
What Is Actually Wrong
It would be fair to say that the problem with the Ravens is everything that has been outlined above, but I am not going to say that. Sure, those are all ingredients in the shit sandwich we have been eating, but fixing things is an entirely different challenge and it doesn’t start or end with anything that has been discussed already.
The problem, friends, is us. What have we been doing wrong? What can we do differently? How can we be the change we want to see in the world? (Shoutout to Mother Teresa.) We need to look inward and declare how each of us can and will be different, be better, and project positivity and hope.
How Do We Fix It?
Change up your game day attire. You thought you had a lucky jersey, shirt, or hat because the team won 14 games last year and you wore it all season? Fuck your clothes. Burn them. Purge the failure from your appearance. Losing is ugly, and so are you if you’re still wearing the same thing every week.
Assess your viewing environment and make changes as necessary. Have you been sitting in the same spot all season? Move your ass. Have you recently changed where you watch the game for some reason? Also move your ass. Treat your viewing environment like a sacred catacomb. Light candles, create shrines, and, above all, remove any negativity from the space.
Plan a proper gameday menu. Eat food and drink beverages that make you feel like a winner. Celebrate your team with a spread that they would appreciate. Do not allow food to be consumed that in any way references or supports the opposition. Get creative with it.
This one falls on the Ravens themselves. The Ravens MUST commit to wearing the purple pants for the remainder of this season. I am not asking, I am DEMANDING. The Ravens look better, play better, and win better in the purple pants. It’s science.
The Bottom Line
The Ravens don’t have a QB issue. The Ravens don’t have a coaching issue. The Ravens don’t have an injury issue. The Ravens don’t have a COVID issue. The problem for the team and the fans is one and the same.
Beyond making these simple changes, it’s all about positivity.
Fortunately, I was able to enlist the help of a dear friend to give a motivational speech heading into tomorrow’s* long-awaited war with Pittsburgh.
(Featured image: FDA.gov)