- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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If the season ended today, the Baltimore Ravens would be out of the playoffs for the first time since 2007. If the NFL draft was held today, The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston thinks the Ravens need a big, fast wide receiver to complement Torrey Smith.
"If the Ravens need a blueprint, just look at the Bears," Preston wrote. "They started some quarterback named Josh McCown and two rookies on the right side of the offensive line, guard Kyle Long and tackle Jordan Mills. But at wide receiver, they had 6-foot-3, 213-pound Alshon Jeffery and 6-foot-4, 230-pound Brandon Marshall."
At this point, adding a wide receiver is more of a luxury than a need. The biggest need on offense is the line, where the Ravens have to upgrade at center and replace a starter at tackle (Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher are free agents and it'll be tough to re-sign both). Run blocking and pass protection has been too poor for the Ravens to ignore the line this offseason.
Here'e the rest of your wake-up caw ...
General manager Ozzie Newsome was back at the Ravens facility Monday, less than 24 hours after being hospitalized in Chicago after the Ravens' overtime loss. "He's been here all afternoon working, so he's back and has a clean bill of health," coach John Harbaugh said, via the Associated Press. "We don't know exactly what caused the situation (Sunday), but it wasn't anything serious. So he seems to be doing fine."
John Eisenberg, of the team's official website, believes Joe Flacco was outplayed by Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown. "He hit on just six of 14 attempts for 61 yards in the last two quarters and overtime," Eisenberg wrote. "Yes, the wind was gusting by then, the conditions far from ideal. But Bears quarterback Josh McCown was extremely effective over the same time frame, completing nine of 11 attempts for 132 yards in the second half and overtime, his yardage total twice the size of Flacco’s."
Clifton Brown, of Comcast SportsNet, feels left tackle Eugene Monroe has to step up after giving up three sacks Sunday. "Monroe’s performance Sunday raises concern moving forward," Brown wrote. "Monroe is in the final year of his contract and he is only 26 years old. Assuming he is their left tackle of the future, the Ravens still have to decide how much they are willing to pay him."
When the Ravens won the toss in overtime, they thought about kicking off so they could have the wind at their backs. This would be a rarity since teams typically want the ball to open overtime. “Then we just couldn’t decide which was the wind was blowing, in all honesty," Harbaugh said, via the team's website. "It was swirling back and forth both ways. Once we had disagreement on which way the wind was blowing, it was pretty straight forward for me to say that we’re taking the ball if we win the toss.”
Here's a look at Harbaugh's postgame speech to his players after the loss, courtesy of the team's website. "We can achieve the AFC North championship," Harbaugh said. "That's a fact." The Ravens (4-6) trail the Bengals (7-4) by 2 1/2 games with six weeks remaining.