View from Baltimore: Not a Super roll

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If you're waiting for the Ravens to become a super team in their quest to win a Super Bowl trophy, it's probably not going to happen.

But if you're looking for a team good enough to be a strong contender, then it's the Ravens. There are no more heavyweights left for the Ravens to play except Denver.

So far, they've gotten blow out by Houston, but they've beaten the New England Patriots and Sunday night knocked off the Steelers.

They did it without a lot of help from quarterback Joe Flacco and star receiver Torrey Smith. The pessimist will say they beat the Steelers without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but that's not the Ravens fault.

And there's a good chance Roethlisberger won't play again in two weeks, and the Ravens will beat them again at M&T Bank Stadium.

You'd like to see the Ravens improve and get better down the stretch, but at this point you have to give them credit. They find ways to win.

Regardless if it's a punt or kickoff return for a touchdown, or a long Flacco pass or a short Ray Rice run, they find ways to win.

That's how they roll.

The Ravens ain't pretty, but they win, and that's how it is going to be for the rest of the season.

One of the best moves of the season came Wednesday when the Ravens re-signed quarterback Dennis Dixon. It wasn't like the Ravens were going to drain Dixon, a former Steelers quarterback, of any intricate information about his previous team. But if current Steelers quarterbacks Byron Leftwich or Charlie Batch get hurt, the Steelers would have to sign another quarterback who isn't familiar with their personnel.

Actually, Dixon is better than both Batch and Leftwich.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco played a poor first half. He was off target on a lot of passes and constantly threw too high. His worst pass of the half came with 6:05 left in the first quarter. If Flacco had led receiver Torrey Smith across the field, it would have been a long touchdown because Smith had beaten cornerback Ike Taylor. Instead, Flacco threw straight and on a line which allowed Taylor to catch up and knock down the ball.

The Ravens moved Terrell Suggs around a lot during the game, but maybe they should have just kept him on the right side because Paul Kruger, who was playing on the left side, was killing right rookie tackle Michael Adams.

Suggs can play the run, but the acceleration during pass rushing situations isn't there and probably won't be until late in the season or next year.

It's interesting to see where the no-huddle offense will take the Ravens this season. They didn't run it in the first half until after running back Ray Rice caught a 31 yard pass down to the Steelers 40 late in the first quarter.

The Ravens went to the no-huddle to open the third quarter and it doesn't seem it will be the standard offense anymore offense on the road unless it is absolutely necessary.

Reserve safety James Ihedigbo may have replaced Brendon Ayanbadejo as the Ravens best special teams performer. This guy is all over the field and always one of the first ones down the field to cover a kick or punt.

Plus, he is downright nasty.

The NFL is trying to cut down on the number of concussions and injuries, but it might have to re-think some of these penalties about helmet to helmet contact.

Some of the hits are unavoidable. When Ravens safety Ed Reed was called for unsportsmanlike conduct on receiver Emmanuel Sanders after a 20 yard reception in the third quarter, there was no way Reed could have turned his head because there wasn't enough time.

Ever notice that whenever the Ravens play Pittsburgh the Steelers bring back their old players of yesteryear to honor them?

I understand they are trying to get the crowd worked up, but it's getting old. Bring them back when the Cleveland Browns come to town.


Mike Preston is a columnist for the Baltimore Sun.


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