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Keys to the Bye Week



The offense must improve on the road for the Ravens to have a change at another playoff berth.


It’s officially the mid way point here in Raven Nation. The Birds sit at a comfortable 5-2, hold sole possession of the AFC North Crown, and are poised to make a run at their 6th consecutive post season appearance. But is anyone feeling really good about things? I know I’m not. They’re broken, their battered, and they’re hanging on for dear life. The Ravens have a lot of questions coming off the bye week, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at this week’s keys to the bye.
 Keys to the Game


1st and 10: Retool the Offensive Scheme


Cam Cameron is a solid Offensive Coordinator, but somewhere along the line he let his ego get too far in the way of his ability to adjust to opposing teams, and to the talent he has on his own roster.


If the Ravens are going to come away with the string of victories necessary to make the playoffs, Cam will need to check himself at the door and realize that giving Ray 10 touches a game just isn’t going to cut it. Ray should be getting anywhere from 20-30 touches a game and the Ravens should be using the run to compliment the pass. Not the other way around.


2nd and Long: Improve the Pass Rush


Terrell is back, so now the Ravens have got to focus on getting pressure on opposing QB’s. Shift Kruger back to where he was supposed to be in JJ’s role, get Upshaw to compliment Kruger and allow Haloti to work his magic down the middle. With Sizzle back on the field, teams now have to double team him, and that allows for more pressure from other angles. No excuses now. Get after the QB


3rd and Short: Shore up the Secondary Issues


Webb is gone for the year, and Jimmy Smith is getting consistently burned. So is Cary Williams. The Backs coach and Dean Pees have got to sit down with these guys and teach them how to jam the line. Get pressure on the receivers early and force them off their routes. They did a great job of this against New England but have since fallen apart. Press the line, jam the receivers and take pressure off the safeties.


4th Down: Abandon the no huddle on the road.


The Ravens lack the overall talent to effectively run the no huddle on the road. The completion % drops 18 points between home and away. That’s staggering. The Ravens must abandon the no huddle/sugar huddle in favor of something a little more static. Namely mixed offensive sets.


Bring McKinnie in on Rushing downs, rotate him out on passing downs and mix it up from time to time to keep teams honest. Oher can’t pass block and McKinnie can’t run block. Rotate them in and out and get creative. Don’t just have your starters and be done with it.


Extra Point: Keep the Balance


Cam Cameron rebounded nicely from his debacle in Philadelphia to call a well rounded and well executed offensive game plan. Hopefully now he’s gotten it through his thick skull that Joe excels at play action, but that play action only works when you establish the run.


The Browns are not nearly as talented as the Ravens are, but that’s no excuse to get lazy. The Ravens must mix it up effectively to muscle Cleveland out of this contest. As goes Cam Cameron, so goes the team.




BGR Predictions


Jonathon Scruggs


A lot needs to go right for the Ravens to make the playoffs and they have a lot of work to do if they hope to at least go one better than even over the last 9 games. 5-4 down the stretch might make the playoffs, but just barely.


Matt Jergensen


 The biggest shock of the first half was to watch the defense struggle. You have to think that they can at least improve a little over the second half. I’m not quite as worried as everyone else may be only because of two things: 1) The NFL is full of average teams 2) The Ravens still know how to win. The blowout loss to Houston in my opinion came at the right time. It will allow the staff to re-evaluate their philosophy heading forward and make the proper adjustments to get back to the playoffs.


Gene Winner:

It’s the middle if the season and the team is trying to figure things out on both sides of the ball, which is a little unnerving. On offense balance is key, Ray Rice should be getting the ball a minimum of 20 times a game. Defensively, time to rotate the younger players in the mix. With Suggs coming back it could help quite a bit. They need to go with their initial plan of playing Courtney Upshaw opposite Suggs. The unit could make life easier if they start tackling.






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