It might be difficult for Ravens fans to watch Super Bowl 50 without envy. Just three years ago, the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII. Now they are fresh off a disappointing 5-11 season.
Here are three things Ravens’ fans should think about as they watch the big game:
• Don’t pine for Gary Kubiak, but hope that Marc Trestman works out as offensive coordinator.
Kubiak did a superb job as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator in 2014, but don’t blame him for leaving. Kubiak would have made a mistake turning down an opportunity to coach the Broncos, with close friend John Elway as a boss, and Peyton Manning as a quarterback.
The bigger question for the Ravens is whether Trestman can equal, or surpass, Kubiak’s success as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator. Evaluating Trestman in 2015 was difficult, due to the rash of Ravens injuries. But Trestman is the Ravens’ fourth different offensive coordinator since 2012, and it would be beneficial for quarterback Joe Flacco to have a coordinator he can work with successfully for the next three or four years.
Will Trestman be that guy? We’ll find out. Kubiak walked into a high-pressure situation with the Broncos this season and flourished. That’s the challenge for Trestman next season.
• When watching ex-Raven Michael Oher, hope the Ravens make the right move at left tackle.
It will be interesting to watch Oher in Super Bowl 50 as the Panthers’ starting left tackle, trying to block Broncos’ pass rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. However, Oher has already enjoyed a career re-birth, and has already won one Super Bowl with the Ravens as their starting right tackle.
Hard to believe that just a year ago, Oher looked potentially washed up, after being cut by the Titans, and failing to meet expectations in five seasons (2009-13) with the Ravens.
That brings us to the Ravens’ current left tackle dilemma. Kelechi Osemele is a free agent. Eugene Monroe is coming off two injury-plagued seasons, but has three years left on a five year $37.5 million contract.
Will the Ravens re-sign Osemele, and if, so will he start at left tackle or left guard? Will they keep Monroe or cut him? Will they draft a left tackle with the No. 6 pick, like Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame?
What the Ravens will do at left tackle remains a huge offseason decision.
• Both the Broncos and Panthers have the kind of pass rush the Ravens need.
The Broncos led the NFL in sacks, while the Panthers were sixth. The top six teams in sacks this season all made the playoffs.
It has become increasingly hard to win in the NFL unless you can pressure the quarterback consistently. Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil is still an elite pass rusher, but Terrell Suggs is coming off Achilles surgery, and Dumervil didn’t have enough help last season. Watching the Broncos and Panthers is another reminder that improving the pass rush is high on the Ravens’ to-do list.
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