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.