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Can the Ravens Take it to the Next Level?

The Ravens exit from the 2010 playoffs came as a result of a few momentum changing plays. The team had a three touchdown lead with just thirty minutes on the clock to move on to the Conference championship. Fumbles, an Interception and a failure by the secondary to keep the Steelers out of the endzone on a Third and Seventeen. A sad and disappointing end to an otherwise solid 2010 campaign.

Those plays and that loss to Pittsburgh would serve a purpose throughout the entire off-season.

The Ravens quietly entered the off-season with a variety of issues to resolve before the beginning of the 2011 season.

Some of these concerns included but were not limited to:

-Finding a new defensive coordinator

-Finding a new offensive coordinator

-Acquire a big physical corner through the draft or free agency

-Acquire a receiver that can run away from a defender

-Strengthen the protection on the offensive line

-Open up the playbook for Joe Flacco giving him more opportunities to stretch the defense

-Get Joe more confidence

Once the 2011 regular season was underway all but one of these objectives  had been achieved.  

A few days after the loss to the Steelers in the playoffs, Harbaugh decided to retain Cam Cameron for another season. It wouldn’t be long before the results of Ozzie’s off season moves would be revealed through their play on the field. In the season opener the Ravens would come away with a 35-7 victory forcing multiple turnovers, while dominating a team that just nine months earlier swiftly ended their playoff ride. 

Joe Flacco was now playing with a confidence that was first revealed during the season opener. Many of the off-season moves made by the front office have turned out to be upgrades at those positions. But few have been more important than elevating Joe’s confidence. Even though he has taken a small step back statistically, which has been due in large part to doing more to feature Ray Rice as the primary threat in the offensive system, he is much more prepared then in years past to take the Ravens to the next level.

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