If people weren't from Baltimore and had no idea how the Ravens were doing this season, they'd probably get the wrong impression by listening to people talk about the team in recent days.
It sounds sometimes like the sky's falling in. They think the defense can't stop Joe Namath if he got back on the field and tried to throw the ball right now at this age or a college team if they tried to run. Here's a message that I came up with after a lot of thought.
Calm down, everyone.
Yes, the team's defense won't be as good without Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb, out for the season with injuries. There's no question about that. But in the NFL, injuries happen, and teams need to fill those holes. Teams have won Super Bowl championships after losing big-name players.
Remember how Tom Brady got started with the Patriots back in the day? He replaced Drew Bledsoe early in the year after an injury and guided the Pats to a Super Bowl title. How many people had even heard of Brady before that? Not a whole lot outside of Michigan (his college team) or New England. But they got it done.
There's numerous examples of this. The big problem for the Ravens on defense is that they're in a kind of transition mode this season. The lost a number of key players in the off-season and needed some time for the young guys to settle in. However, this pushed up the speed in which they'll have to do it. The younger guys are going to have to show everyone how they roll -- much faster that before.
Welcome to life in the NFL.
The offense is kind of looking for an identity. Are they a no-huddle team? A passing team? A running team? What are they? Once they decide that and use it to their advantage, things should change.
So, Ravens fans, here's a brief piece of advice. It might be a bumpy ride over the next few weeks while the coaches try and work all this out, but the team's still in first place at 5-2.
Let's see what things look like in a few weeks.
On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.
The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School.
In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.
17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon.
Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.
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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.
“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.
The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.
Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.
The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.
This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.
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