The Ravens' season starts today so I thought I'd spout out a some general observations and a final record prediction. I think one of the main reasons people write sports blogs besides sports obsessions and wasting time from their real lives of being lawyers is to have proof that they predicted something, in the off chance they are actually right. I don't think I'm likely to get many predictions right so if I do I want to be able to cite when it happened so I'm not accused of changing my story. And screw it, if I'm wrong, maybe I'll just come back and edit this post. It's not like many people read this anyway.
This Raven's season is not looking to promising. Yes, we do have some promising young players that might play a huge part eventually, but they are being thrust into starting positions right away. Let's start with the obvious, Joe Flacco. He is a rookie quarterback out of Delaware, not the biggest football powerhouse. And while he has consistently improved during the preseason, he still doesn't seem quite ready for the big time yet. But with Troy Smith still recovering from possibly the worst case of tonsilitis ever, he got the starting nod. The other promising rookie with a lot of promise is Ray Rice, a running back from Rutgers. Rutgers has been improving its football name recently and he had a lot of yards during college. If Willis McGahee isn't ready to play then Rice will be in there. He's a little guy at only 5'8 so I'm rooting for him to do well. Short people have to support each other.
Other than our "exciting" young prospects, the team has been plagued with injury, and its not even the regular season yet. This does not bode well. Ed Reed, apparently was able to practice without his red jersey, which means he has been cleared for hitting in practice and says he would like to play in the season opener. We'll find out in a few hours. Overall, I'd like Reed healthy in the long run, even if does mean missing the first game of the season. And Chris McAlister had a full practice this week, which means he will also be able to start. So things are looking up a bit for our defense.
John Harbaugh has managed to earn the respect and inspire confidence from the team as the coach. Hopefully this will translate into a better attitude that brings about more wins. We'll soon see if he can face up to the hard schedule this year. Ravens play the AFC South, which sent three teams to the playoffs last year, and the NFC East, which also sent three teams to the playoffs. And of course we play our division twice, and even though the AFC North is not a powerhouse this year, division games are always a little more intense. But maybe we can manage to beat Miami this year.
This preview is pretty short because I don't want to dwell on the negative and there really is not too much positive. I do want to give a quick shout out to Matt Stover, the most reliable person on the Ravens offense. He is entering his 18th season as the starting kicker for this franchise. (He is the only holdover from the Browns) He has been outstanding in his time with the team, and here's hoping he has another great season.
I'm hoping that the new coach John Harbaugh does well in his first season, that Flacco shines and that Smith recovers quickly just in case. I'm hoping that this team will overcome injury and find its form from two years ago. I'm hoping that we win more games than we did last year.
All that being said, I think we'll wind up with the same record as last year, 5-11. I'm hoping I'm wrong.