What can you take home each week from the game? I'll try to post a "Conclusions" article each week to promote discussion and take home messages relating to the prior game and what it means in the scheme of things.
Front Office --> One simple note: Ravens made full use of the Art Modell passing. A follow up thought: If Mike Brown passed, would it be like a tree falling in the woods when nobody is there? Our front office is the null set and gives us no advantage. Period.
Coaching --> I'm not really sure what truck hit us. But we know that our DBs and LBs coaches are new this year. And those players didn't do so well yesterday. Can we blame this game on coaches? Or did the Ravens just play a better game with better players? I think it was the latter. No conclusions quite yet (but let me give Paul Alexander some credit for getting two rookies and a 10-day OC ready for the Ravens... I never gave him credit for anything before).
Players --> Suddenly our depth doesn't look so good.
On D our CBs look old. Our Safety numbers are low, and the starters lack playmaking ability. The LBs didn't make any plays, and I only saw Skuta playing any real snaps (he got burnt on a TE drag). What happened to those dominant DEs that Mike Brown was talking up two years ago while passing out coupons for a $1 off popcorn and trying to sell season tix? You know, right before Carson said he'd never take a step in PBS again. Dunlap is hurt (again), and MJ93 looks good getting off the bus. The backup DEs (Geathers & Anderson) contributed nothing. The rookie DT Still looked more like a turnstyle. Not sure what Thompson did in garbage snaps.
On O our interior OL is in big trouble if we sustain a single injury. We're solid though at OT... yessir-ee. TE. Wow. We cut Colin Cochart to sit Donald Lee opening week? RB. Scott out. Law Firm looks good. Peerman ran ball decent in garbage time. I think we were lucky there. But, OK, +1 for the Law Firm having a good game and the OL run blocking well. QB -- we gotta have faith in Dalton because the well is dry after that (even if Gruden likes Gradkowski and his name scores highly in Scrabble). WR... count 'em. 7. Here's what I say: let's get Whalen, Sanu & Jones out there and see what they can do. Now I'm giving credit to the guy who wanted to keep Whalen because I think he'll be on the team and either Binns or Tate will be off by mid-season. So overall, the Offense has some decent depth at OT and WR. Can you build a franchise on that?
On STs you don't really worry about depth. The specialists better not get hurt (or the Chargers will kick 5 FGs on you). The players are typically those who don't start on O or D. And Rey Maualuga -- better get him in there to buff up his tackles numbers.
Conclusions --> Ravens are better front office, better coaches and better players (both starters & depth) than us. They are more professional, have more confidence and display better leadership. This is what it takes to really have a hope and prayer for a Super Bowl contention. We're a long way off. Signing the guys we already have to long-term deals, picking up a new starter or two in the draft each year and getting 1-2 value re-treads via UFA is not getting us from average to above average. Rey Maualuga has knocked over more parking meters with his car in two years than he has ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage. That's what I realized this week.