Cheers: Their Offensive Line was very good. They improved their running game tremendously and their pass protection was much better. Not only that, they did it all without LeCharles Bentley. D’Qwell
Jeers: They became very settled at the skill positions in a hurry. Derek Anderson, a guy that was irrelevant to pro football, steps in for Charlie Frye and leads one of the league’s highest scoring offenses. Braylon Edwards broke out and emerged as a star. Winslow helped out a lot, and Jamal Lewis played well. Their defense was as poor as advertised.
On second thought… they beat expectations easily. They nearly made the playoffs, and in the beginning of the year, I was really worried the Cowboys would get their pick and get an elite talent.
New guy who won’t meet expectations: Jamal Lewis. He proved his tank wasn’t empty yet. He had his best YPC in three years and he set career highs in the receiving game. They want to bring him back for next year, and why not?
New guy who will meet expectations: Brady Quinn. Maybe next year. He really didn’t play that much, and there was no reason for him to with the way
As for next year… they’re definitely going in the right direction now. They don’t have a first round pick, so they’re going to have to draft smartly and find a way to improve the defense. They also have a decision to make at Quarterback. Derek Anderson is a restricted free agent, so the Browns will be able to match any offer. He could be traded; without a first round pick, moving
Cheers: Their defense was not as good, and their record, and ultimately their head coach, paid the price. The scoring defense allowed twice as many points as last year. They allowed more yards, and to be frank, their truly strong unit wasn’t good this year. If the Ravens don’t have defense, they’re in a lot of trouble and it showed. McGahee had his best YPC, but he didn’t find the end zone as much as the Ravens would’ve liked.
Jeers: It wasn’t exactly a difficult prediction, but their offense stunk. Their offense wasn’t even close to adequate. Steve McNair was banged up and not effective, and Kyle Boller was equally ineffective. Troy Smith provided a spark for a few quarters at the end of the year, but the Ravens need stability in the passing game.
On second thought… they went as far as their offense took them: not far. Todd Heap was banged up again, and Mark Clayton went to the Reggie Brown school of development. When their defense didn’t play as well as they have in recent years, it was all over. They didn’t replace Adalius Thomas’ pass rushing ability, and that could’ve been a factor in their defensive struggles.
New guy who won’t meet expectations: Willis McGahee. Eh, I’d say he played pretty well, considering the circumstances. He was a decent runner and might’ve been the best player on this putrid offense. He wore down the Patriots and almost gave
New guy who will meet expectations: Ben Grubbs. He wasn’t bad. He played in all 16 games and got 12 starts, which isn’t bad for a rookie. The Ravens are hoping he continues his development and helps out the running game between the tackles.As for next year… the Ravens have a lot of questions to answer, and their head coach is one of them. I think they might’ve made a mistake firing Rex Ryan. I know they wanted to clean house, but Ryan is a quality coach that should’ve been kept on. Their offense is awful and with Suggs leaving, they have another defensive player to replace.