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We could be playing in the Super Bowl this year

Dominate!

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Baylor


As I watch the playoff games I am convinced that we would be playing in the Super Bowl if it had not been for about three key injuries. One on offense (RG3) and two on defense Merriweather and one of several other injured defensive players.
 

Elephant

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Can't say I disagree with this. I would even wager we could have been in the NFC Championship in San Fran with Cousins starting if we hadn't pushed Griffin too fast.
 

McD5

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Nah...have to disagree.

If the Ravens have proven anything this year, it's that you can't use injuries as an excuse.
 

McD5

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And we beat them. Proving his point even more.
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We swept the Giants last season. Did that mean anything?


And a big difference between the nfc east and afc north
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**** the Ravens. With that said, they just went into Foxboro in January and crushed the Patriots.

The Patriots had been 67-0 when leading at home at halftime. Not anymore.

They earned it.
 
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Elephant

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Nah...have to disagree.

If the Ravens have proven anything this year, it's that you can't use injuries as an excuse.

They lost several games without their best players on defense. Once they had them all back, they played their way into the Super Bowl.

Had we had Carriker and Orakpo back for the playoffs, you think we would have lost to Seattle? And Baltimore did not lose their Franchise QB. Tyrod Taylor would never have been able to do what Flacco did. Not saying Flacco is great, but he has played very well when they needed it in these playoffs and without him they are one and done in the playoffs like we were.
 

Canadian Hog

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All things considered, I still think that at the end of the day, we need more nastiness and physicality on the defensive side of the ball to get to the big dance.
 

Elephant

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All things considered, I still think that at the end of the day, we need more nastiness and physicality on the defensive side of the ball to get to the big dance.

Offensive line too... I would like to see the guys on the OL grind on opposing teams a little more.
 

Goaldeje

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But the good news is that we are getting much, much better. And it's not ALL due to Griff. In years past, a Rob Jackson would not have been available to step in and play well. Same with McRib coming in late in the season. That tells me we are starting to actually have NFL quality depth which is critical. Another couple of drafts and we might actually be able to field a really good team with some quality backups in place.

And THAT'S what you need to make the SB.

(though I agree with the original post, we were closer than a lot of people want to think THIS year)
 

Rymanofthenorth

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you are all ignoring timing, if you have injuries at the start of the year its not nearly as bad as getting them at the end, and teams get hot sometimes, we beat the Ravens but we would have gotten killed by them in the playoffs. Playoffs are a different game. we need more nastyness on the D side and more size on the Oline to be effective in the playoffs.
 

Snydershrugged

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I never like to dwell on the "could have beens" and have a tougher time with the "should have beens",
but I am loving the "Will Be's" that I know are coming next season!
 

Lanky Livingston

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you are all ignoring timing, if you have injuries at the start of the year its not nearly as bad as getting them at the end, and teams get hot sometimes, we beat the Ravens but we would have gotten killed by them in the playoffs. Playoffs are a different game. we need more nastyness on the D side and more size on the Oline to be effective in the playoffs.
Well, we would have only faced the Ravens in the Superbowl, so that kind of validates the OP. :D
 

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you are all ignoring timing, if you have injuries at the start of the year its not nearly as bad as getting them at the end, and teams get hot sometimes, we beat the Ravens but we would have gotten killed by them in the playoffs. Playoffs are a different game. we need more nastyness on the D side and more size on the Oline to be effective in the playoffs.
"Killed"? Really Ry? Ray Lewis asside hyperbole much? While the Ravens are playing better, they have gotten some help from Lady Luck (Wes Welker dropping balls that he doesn't drop) and poor decisions by opponents (what was John Fox thinking?!?).

I'm not saying we beat them again but we don't get killed by them. Not to mention that they are in the AFC. I have to agree with the OP, there isn't a team in the NFC that we could not have beaten if Griff had been 100% this year. None of them scare me. I'm not saying we beat Baltimore for the Lombardi in the big dance but I think we are there.
 

Skinzfan

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I think we actually had 3 key injuries total.

On offense, RT Brown.
Without Brown, Polumbus was the most inconsistent and least competent lineman out of the whole O-line bunch. He gave up the most sacks, hurries, and had the most missed assignments per pro football statistics. Kory Lichtensteiger was not that far behind him; I believe Kory had the most penalties of the entire O-line but that is a different story.

Many people have said the loss of Fred Davis was a critical too, but Paulson was steady and competent. Davis led the team in catches at the point he went down in the game 7 loss to the Giants.

In 7 games Davis had 24 catches for 325 yards or 13.5 yards average per catch and a long one for 29 yards. Davis had no TD catches.

In 10 games Paulson had 25 catches for 308 yards or 12.3 yards average per catch and a long one for 31 yards. Paulson had 1 TD catch, and I am not talking about the TD catch in the playoff loss to Seattle. I don't see that big of a difference between the two based upon these stats.

On defense, losing Carriker and Orakpo were the two key injuries.
Our front seven was supposed to be our strength. Our safety situation was a mess at the beginning of the season. When you have two new starting safeties, neither of which was on the team the year before and both had huge question marks, you don't call that an ideal situation or even a comfortable situation. Also, you can't "what if" when the two projected starters have nothing to use to compare them. No, our defensive problems started when Carriker and Orakpo went down and our strong front seven turned into a strong front five.

Kerrigan got 9 sacks this year. He had 1 sack in each of the first 2 games. After Carriker and Orakpo went down in game 2 he got 2 1/2 sacks and 1 interception in the remaining 7 games before the bye. It took him 7 more games to get the same amount of sacks he had after only 2 games.

Regarding Kerrigan's remaining 4 sacks on the year after the bye, 3 of them came in the two games we played against Philly and the other one was against Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Orakpo was well on his way to having a banner season. Go back and look at the statistics for the 2 games he played in. He had 1 sack and 1 forced fumble after 2 games - both of those were against the Rams in game 2 before he went down.

In the remaining 5 games before the bye, when the coaches hadn't yet figured out what they were going to do without Orakpo and tried an LB by committee approach, Rob Jackson had a total of 1/2 sack. After the bye, he had 4 in the remaining 7 games of the season.

Lorenzo Alexander had 1 1/2 sacks before the bye, but that was all against Minnesota; after the bye just 1 sack against Philly.

Chris Wilson played heavily in games 3-6, sparingly after that, but was ineffective and ended the year with only 1/2 sack.


I think Rob Jackson did a great job and made a definite impact on defense once he was made the starting ROLB; he had 4 interceptions this year, but Orakpo would have had a bigger impact and would have influenced the outcome of games had he been healthy and played the whole year.
 

Elephant

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Skinzfan, I think you are spot on with much of your analysis, I just question your emphasis on Orakpo. While I agree much was lost in the pass rush with him out of the game, he is undoubtedly the best pass rusher on the team, I wonder if he'd have been able to make plays in coverage like Rob Jackson did. I just don't see Brian Orakpo making the INT against Romo late in that Dallas game. Many times during that stretch Rob Jackson made plays in coverage that helped us to victory, I am just afraid Rak couldn't have made. Could his pass rush ability make the difference on those plays? I think not since many were attempts to beat the blitz with quick screens that had Jackson stay disciplined in coverage or pull off the rush and make the play. Rak has tunnel vision when he is rushing up field and gets burned a lot on the quick slant or screen when in coverage.

And while you do mention Carriker as a huge injury, and I agree, if you look at the few games to end the 2011 season where Jackson filled in for Rak, with Carriker getting a push up the middle, Jackson was much better in the pass rush...more than adequate.

Like I said, I agree with most of what you said. I guess I am just questioning our "need" for Orakpo on the defensive side of the ball. More pressure up the middle makes Kerrigan and Jackson better in the pass rush. I like Jarvis Jenkins and his improvement as the season progresses, but he was not nearly as valuable as Carriker.

Regardless, our offense with a healthy Griffin was more than good enough to beat any team in the NFC as Neo was saying.
 
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Lanky Livingston

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Man, thank you so much Skinzfan. I thought I was starting to go crazy as the only one who saw Orakpo's value to the defense. He completely took the Saints game over - if that game was any indication, he was going to go off this season. Carriker was a big loss as well, but he's more of the solid anchor type - he's not going to make any OC's stay up at night.

Spot on analysis, and as good a candidate for Overdrive as I've seen.
 

Lanky Livingston

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Good point, Mike. He could be the next LT, but if he can't stay on the field, it doesn't really matter.
 

WhoRU

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you are all ignoring timing, if you have injuries at the start of the year its not nearly as bad as getting them at the end, and teams get hot sometimes, we beat the Ravens but we would have gotten killed by them in the playoffs. Playoffs are a different game. we need more nastyness on the D side and more size on the Oline to be effective in the playoffs.
Timing is very important but I would not say that our team was soft on either side.

I took a long look at the Olines and Dlines of Seattle, San Fran and Baltimore and the one thing that they all had/ have in common is the physicality aspect. These teams were much bigger in terms of range and stature and could just muscle their way at the line of scrimmage.

The one thing Shanny will have to decide is whether he wants to get bigger and risk losing that stretch game or if he wants to stay the course and risk getting beat at the line of scrimmage. What would you do??!
 

WhoRU

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I can't see Shanny getting away from quicker o-linemen...it's in his DNA.
Which is why I won't lose any sleep over this. There are ways to counter bigger lines in this scheme.
 

Elephant

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Which is why I won't lose any sleep over this. There are ways to counter bigger lines in this scheme.

But pass protection will almost certainly suffer. Again, like you say...scheme can remedy this, but only so much. I just don't want to see RG3 get banged up again because we "need" to move him around. I would much rather have a line that can protect him without so much movement...all the time.


I would love to see Shanny make an effort to bring Ryan Clady in and plug him into the RT position. I know he was a little dinged up this year, but he has proven he can play in the scheme and a more traditional system. Hopefully he won't demand a king's ransom and maybe his ties with Shanahan could get him here at a reasonable rate. Either way, we have to address the RT spot.
 

Elephant

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Elway wasnt known for his running and he did fairly well in his career with Shan ;)

They also had one of the best offensive lines in the history of the NFL...we don't.
 

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