The Redskins’ neighbors to the north are headed to the Super Bowl. What can they learn from the Ravens?
Be patient, build through the draft—This was a talking point when we discussed the 49ers the other day. One Super Bowl team built almost exclusively through the draft might be fluke but two could be a trend. Baltimore traded third-and fourth-round draft picks to the Cardinals for receiver Anquan Bouldin and a fifth. Safety Bernard Pollard signed as a low-profile free agent. Other than those two the Ravens are primarily home grown.
Who needs “elite” players—Even if the Raves win the Super Bowl, Joe Flacco still won’t be an elite quarterback. Like his teammates he’s good, very good, but not one of the top two or three players at his position. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed used to be elite and they are still very good but no longer among the very best at their positions. It would be nice to have a roster dotted with All-Pros like the Niners do but it is hard to hold a team like that together. You can get to the Super Bowl by lining up 22 very good players.
If you’re in it you can win it—The Ravens lost four out of their last five games and finished in the identical spot the Redskins did—10-6, division champs but the fourth seed. That gave them a home game against the top wild card team, the hot Indianapolis Colts. Their road to the Super Bowl then went through the homes of the top two seeds. Due to their daunting road they were underdogs the whole way but they will be playing in New Orleans. We saw the Giants and Packers take similar paths the last two years. The bottom line is that as long as you still have another game left on your schedule, you have a chance.