For a second consecutive season, the process of packing up comes a little too early for the Ravens’ liking.
“We finished 8-8 so no matter how you look at it, the highs and the lows, we’re an average football team right now,” said linebacker Zach Orr. “This is not fun. It’s not fun packing up your things early knowing that there are weeks of football left ahead.”
The overwhelming feeling of disappointment was a common one Monday as players cleaned out their lockers and headed into the offseason. Another popular sentiment was that the team is close but just not good enough to make the playoffs. There was a lot of looking back to the Christmas day heartbreak in Pittsburgh, that 31-27 loss to the Steelers.
“Two games to go and you got a chance to win the division. You work hard to be in that position and to come through in the clutch and we just weren’t able to do it,” said quarterback Joe Flacco.
“We were a good football team this year but in the end it wasn’t enough to get it done,” added offensive lineman Marshal Yanda. “I mean, golly, a couple plays there and we would’ve been in the playoffs.
“We won enough to make us relevant at the end of the year. We had a big game in Pittsburgh and weren’t able to close it out,” said tight end Dennis Pitta.
One of the many changes that will come over the offseason is at receiver. Veteran, and future Hall-of-Famer, Steve Smith is set to retire after 16 NFL seasons. He declined to comment on-camera Tuesday, telling me “I’ve said it all.”
Another shakeup could come on the offensive coaching staff. Flacco said he thinks coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s job is safe.
“I haven’t heard much,” said Flacco. “As far as I’m concerned there isn’t really much uncertainty. I don’t really anticipate anything happening.”
Head coach John Harbaugh is scheduled to speak in Owings Mills on Tuesday morning. Owner Steve Bisciotti, president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome will hold their annual season review on Tuesday, Jan. 10.