Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Only One Pig: Baltimore Ravens

You know what seemed like an incredibly awesome idea two weeks ago? Making a separate blog post for each and every NFL team, creating a plethora of previews that would tax our football knowledge to the brink.

Then I found out that's a lot of work. And school's starting back up. And I'm moving. And the wheat fields need to be harvested. And Mr. McGillicuddy's gimp knee is acting up again. And the guys from Sports & B's are bitching about how hard it is to both blog and have a life (looooove you :) ).

And..... there are, quite simply, NFL teams that I don't really care about. Teams that, sure, have some moderate excitement with them, but there doesn't really exist anyone who actually wants to write about them. It's like basically every national sports columnist and the Seattle Seahawks. Who wants to write about a West Coast team when everyone knows that the center of the universe resides in the New York/Boston region?

On the flip side, as a West Coaster, who wants to write about boring teams like Baltimore when I could be ripping on the Arizona Cardinals again?

Seriously, for the past five years, there are a few things that you could set your watch to.

-- Liberals hate George W. Bush
-- Conservatives hate liberals
-- There are more liberals then conservatives at Arizona State University
-- Gavin hates everybody and everything
-- Gas prices skyrocket, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth
-- The Mariners turn into the Pussy-ville Pussters against the Oakland A's
-- Kim Bauer will be seen running from either a terrorist or a mountain lion

and..

-- Numerous sports columnists pick the Baltimore Ravens as their Super Bowl dandy, forgetting the simple fact that there are, at the very least, five AFC teams that could blow the Ravens out of the water.

Why do they do that? I have several extremely scientific hypotheses:

-- Ray Lewis' hip gyrations and monkey moon-howl (if a monkey howled) actually act as a hypnotic device, sending signals that overload the brains of normally gifted individuals like Jason Whitlock (gifted as in super-special).

-- Ray Lewis has threatened to have his friends come over and stick a knife in any columnist who writes them off. Seriously, this guy gets WAY too much love for someone who JUST HAPPENED to be present.....

-- Brian Billick is, in fact, a warlock. His full name is Mishmar, Seer of the Seven Stones, Keeper of the Seal of Ushtark, Wielder of the Shield of Disaster, and Nursemaid to Kyle Boller.

-- Baltimore is located on the East Coast.

Anyways, I'm betting that, at the very least, ONE of those hypotheses make sense.

As for the actual TEAM that they happen to put on the FIELD....... well, there isn't much to write home about, folks. When you're super excited (I swear, Len Pasquerelli just about creamed himself with the news) about Steve McNair coming to town on his white horse to save the day, well, as Jeff Foxworthy would say..... your team might actually suck.

When your offensive line is made up of aging vets and a number of individuals who can't actually block....... your team might actually suck.

When your star running back runs for about forty yards a game....... and you resign him...... your team might actually suck (though, I admit, Mike Anderson was a nice signing).

When you hear for the last three years that THIS will be the year that Ray Lewis reasserts himself as a dominant player, well........ your team might actually suck.

When Richard Neuheisel is actually on your coaching staff (for money!)........ your team might actually suck.

When you pick some jagoff from Oregon in the first round and everyone talks about how simultaneously gifted and lazy he is...... your team might actually suck.

Here's the thing. The Baltimore Ravens really don't have a ton going for them. Ed Reed is amazing, Todd Heap is amazing (and oft-injured), Mike Anderson might be a good fit if he stops the curse of ex-Broncos sucking after leaving Denver, Derrick Mason might have some chemistry with McNair, and that's about it.

People still seem to think, for some reason, that the Ravens have a dominant defense. They don't. They have a GOOD defense (ranked 5th in team defense in DVOA), but it's not the truly dominant unit that it was during their Super Bowl run.

On the other side of the football, there is absolutely no reason to suspect that Steve McNair will remain capable of simply remaining healthy, much less leading the Ravens to the promised land. The guy has missed games for virtually the past decade, the result of being one of the hardest competitors in the league for a number of years. He used to be one of my favorite players, and I hurt with him when Dyson landed just a few yards short, but he is no longer a quality quarterback, especially when his O-Line can't give him enough protection (they ranked 19th in pass blocking).

Again, is there a chance to reach the postseason? Absolutely. McNair, Lewis, and Lewis, Jamal could all turn back the clock and go crazy go nuts. As the AFC appears heading into the season, however, they would have to leapfrog a number of teams, including.... New England, Miami, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indy, Jacksonville, Denver, Kansas City, and San Diego. That's nine teams right there, with only six possible playoff berths. You positive that Baltimore is better than four of the teams I just listed?

Real fast.....

Koren Robinson is a bum, and I laugh at all my Minny Vikings friends who scoffed at me, the Seahawks fan, who had let poor widdle Koren disappear. Haha, you stupid Vikings! I'll drink a beer tonight just to celebrate (note: do not drive afterwards, and, if you do, don't speed away from cops at speeds of over 90 mph).

Joel Pineiro is a bum, and I laugh at myself for ever watching him. Replacing him with Jake Woods, however, is laughable, and I doubt that it is even that much of an improvement. Goodbye, 2006 Mariners. See you in April! Mike Hargrove, from hell's heart I stab at thee!

Brady and Erin, I apologize for not being at church on Sunday, but I was being driven to the Seattle airport by the inlaws, which takes two and a half hours for most people (considered to be normal) but took us close to four hours, causing me to, in turn, call on the combined power of Greyskull and Tom Clancy to smite them.

More tomorrow!

posted by colin_hesse @ 5:01 PM  0 comments

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