Some people are fans of the Baltimore Ravens. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Baltimore Ravens. This 2020 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Baltimore Ravens.
Some things never change. So heartwarming.
Your 2019 record: 14-2. The Ravens thrashed the entire goddamn league. Not only did their QB win the MVP, but in doing so both he and the Ravens reset the standards for roster building, for offensive strategy, and for a canny brand of game management that focuses on possession. And by “possession,” I don’t mean handing the ball off to Ottis Anderson 50 times a game. I mean you prioritize doing BOLD SHIT in the name of keeping the ball away from the opposition: going for it on fourth down, etc. Finally, a team took the fucking governor off of its engine and did all the shit that both fans and analytics experts have been begging them to do for years now. These Ravens, they showed us what the future of football is gonna look like…
…until Derrick Henry wadded them up and shat them out.
It’s not merely that I was denied a chance to see Lamar Jackson square off against Patrick Mahomes in what surely would have been an orgiastic AFC title game that would have gone seven overtimes, ended 78-75, and resulted in Bill Polian committing seppuku. It’s that the Ravens lost to THAT Tennessee team, whose dinosaur offense had all the imagination of Paula Deen’s cooking. They lost a game where Ryan Tannehill completed a grand total of SEVEN passes. They were down 28-6 by the fourth quarter. One of the most exciting regular seasons for a team that I can ever recall, and they pissed it all away over the course of one tidy Saturday night. They held the future in their hands, and then they let Ray Lewis stab it to death.
And I know it’s easy for Ravens fans—ESPECIALLY Ravens fans, now that I think about it—to act like they’re gonna have a zillion more Super Bowl trips ahead of them anyway because of their quarterback. Funny story! Big Ben and Aaron Rodgers haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 2010. Drew Brees hasn’t been there since 2009. Peyton Manning didn’t win his second Super Bowl until he switched teams and got benched by that second team. And, of course, Joe Flacco himself went to the Super Bowl just once and only won that game because the guy who called plays for the Niners—who now call plays FOR the Ravens—called for a fucking fade route on 4th and goal at the very end. These chances are fleeting. You don’t get to just fucking assume a dynasty into existence, although when has that ever stopped Denny from Dundalk from trying?
Your coach: John Harbaugh, who exists in the Pete Carroll realm where he does something cool one week and then spends the next week chewing a dead baby on the sidelines to get the ref’s attention. These Harbaughs are a terminally needy bunch, which means that for every time John explains—in genuinely fascinating detail—why he took atomically calculated risks against a difficult opponent, he’ll demand Bill Belichick be charged with a felony for sending a slot receiver in motion. Whenever John Harbaugh is likable, I know it’s fucking KILLING him to be. He’d much rather let his prick flag fly at all times.
Your quarterback: Truzz Lamar?
Lamar Jackson professed bafflement that people took this tweet the wrong way, which means he’s mere inches away from starting his own right-wing Substack. Lamar also spent this past offseason lobbying the Ravens to sign Antonio Brown, because the Ravens have supplanted the Raiders as the preferred landing spot for all national disgraces. Lamar is dumb as a post.
And yet it remains unfortunate that he has to play for THIS fanbase. Five percent of these fans still yearn for Trace McSorley to get playing time. The good news for them is that HEAVEN AWAITS, because Lamar is a broken ankle waiting to happen and because the man behind Lamar—RGIII—is more injury-prone than a 97-year-old alcoholic living in a three-story house.
What’s new that sucks: The Ravens have undergone a few nips and tucks but the core strategy of “Just have Lamar do cool shit” remains intact. Calais Campbell is here after serving three years inside Coughlin State Penitentiary. Situational pass rusher Derek Wolfe arrives from Denver. And Marcus Peters got a fatass deal after the Ravens traded for him early in the 2019 season. But you know who WON’T be joining him in the secondary? This fella:
That’s all-pro safety and orgy knife fight enthusiast Earl Thomas, who blew so many camp assignments and pissed off so many of his teammates that the Ravens had to cut him before the season even started. Do you know how miserable you have to be for the RAVENS to find you intolerable? This organization would welcome Rae Carruth to its coaching staff with open arms. Earl must have pulled a gun on Steve Bisciotti’s dog or something. Anyway, this defense will be good until it encounters any offense from 1986.
Over on offense, the Ravens are so horny for wideouts that they flirted with bringing in Dez Bryant, who hasn’t gotten separation from a defensive back since George W. Bush was President. You are going to see some absolutely magnificent drops this season. FIRST PLAYER TO THROW A HELMET IN RAGE GETS A FREE PHILLIPS CRABCAKE!
Center Matt Skura tore every conceivable ligament in his knee less than a year ago—even RG3’s doctor’s were aghast—but he’s back. I’m old enough now to know that a football player coming back from a horrific injury is less inspiring than it is an invitation to dread. But there you have it. Marshal Yanda retired and subsequently dropped all of his roiding weight:
Every NFL lineman either gains 200 pounds after retiring or loses it. No in-between.
The Preakness left town. OH NO WHERE WILL MIFFY FROM TOWSON GO TO BARF UP TWISTED TEA NOW?!
What has always sucked: Baltimore is like if Philadelphia were smaller and less cool, yet with more expensive housing. Honestly, I fucking hate it. Everyone from Baltimore thinks they live in some hidden treasure along the Eastern Seaboard when, in reality, they live in a crab trap with a raw turkey neck stuck in its grate. The shit that is cool in Baltimore is only cool if you’ve been stuck IN Baltimore your whole shitty life. Marilyn Mosby is a sociopath and the Baltimore Police Department is literally a drug-dealing gang that happens to wear badges and has committed more murders than it has solved. So when the Ravens put out a cool tweet like this, it’s INSTANTLY undermined by a city that treats its citizens like shit and a governor that treats that city like it’s fucking Baghdad. I have no use for Baltimore. No one does. Cleveland deserved Lamar Jackson FAR more than you ever will.
The Wire is dated now. You don’t have to watch it. I never liked John Waters’s movies. Larry Hogan is a corrupt sack of shit and I hope he gets eaten by a shark.
What might not suck: Lamar is my fantasy QB, and the beauty of that is that I’ll get clutch performances from him late in the regular season, without having anything at stake when HE has to play with something at stake after all that.
Ratto says: “The Ravens have Lamar Jackson and understand how to use him, which is great and awful at the same time. When he is invulnerable he is riveting. On the other, he won’t be invulnerable for long because that is the way of most quarterbacks who double as running backs. In other words, the clock is running double-time on this particular gem, so enjoy all his gifts while he can deliver them.
“Their average margin of victory in 2019 was the 12th largest in football history and they rank eighth for most points in a season, which raises the question, ‘One touchdown against Tennessee in the playoffs?’ This better not be one of those ‘great teams you never remembered’ things while Jackson can still break people’s wills on television for our amusement.”
HEAR IT FROM RAVENS FANS!
Until Lamar wins a playoff game, Donnie from Dundalk will continue to argue Joe Flacco is a better QB because of the Super Bowl win.
Because we have the NFL MVP and most electric player in the league at quarterback and half our fanbase is convinced we lost to Tennessee because John Harbaugh was too aggressive on fourth downs.
The fans are still awful. The backlash will be swift and merciless.
We also have a disproportionate number of ‘iM nOt WaTcHiNg If ThEy KnEeL’ fans because of the clownshoes waterbillies in Dundalk, Middle River, and Glen Burnie.
If you’re wondering what it tastes like, it’s like a burp that goes up through your nose after eating crab cakes and chugging natty boh.
Denny from Dundalk in his purple camo pants spent all of 2018 claiming Lamar Jackson “never had the makings of a varsity QB,” booed him in the playoff game vs. the chargers, then did a complete 180 about two thirds of the way through the 2019 season.
To this day, my friend (and any other drunk Baltimore dive bar resident) will still say “This is why we should have played Flacco in that Chargers playoff game” everytime Lamar has a play that ISN’T a 60-yard touchdown, as if Lamar isn’t already the best quarterback the Ravens have ever had bar none. Just stop I never want think about that lumbering Bert & Ernie cosplayer again.
Our facilities have these nouveau-riche gothic details that look like a cross between hot topic and the Haunted Mansion at Disneyworld. Fuck those stupid details and the stupid Hound of the Baskerville-ass font they use for everything.
When I was 9 my brother took me to a Baltimore Stallions game (!) at Memorial Stadium and a drunk fat guy dropped a beer on me in the concourse and then punched my brother in the face. It was still a better experience than going to M&T and hearing some extra from season 2 of the wire scream racial slurs at some Pittsburgh fan.
If they made a jersey that featured the Maryland flag as a design element I would buy it and I hate myself for that.
We should have seen this coming. The hype was building with every passing game like a coked up toddler with Duplo blocks. It was only a matter of time before we fucked up. We all knew it.
And the Titans, with human tractor Derrick Henry and Ryan fucking Tannehill did us in. Of all teams.
We got the most dynamic quarterback this franchise has seen in forever. We hypnotized the Rams into giving us Marcus Peters, then went to LA and had their stadium cheer for us as we stomped them into oblivion. We once again proved that the Texans are frauds. Lamar Jackson became the leading cause of ankle injuries. Justin Tucker is still Jesus Christ.
Yet none of that matters because we couldn’t win when we needed to. We had the right hand dealt to us, and then we took a shit on that hand and folded. This is what this city deserves. Our quarterback drove 105 miles a fucking hour, at one point was going to host a field day in the most infected place in the world before cancelling it, and advocates for Antonio Brown to come to the Ravens. His clothing line looks like shit. Harbaugh won’t get off of Jackson’s dick and wears his shitty clothes and supports his shitty opinions. Nick Chubb made us his bitch in Week 4 because no one thought to tackle one of the best running backs in the league (and then Henry would do the same, because we never learn).
Baltimore’s roads are tantamount to gravel. Everyone in Maryland worships Old Bay and thinks picking crabs is a fun activity and not fucking torture as it rightfully is. The Wire ended 12 years ago but it’s still a point of pride that we manage to be even shittier than a dramatized TV show could portray us as. Our governor thought he was special by doing the right fucking thing when the pandemic hit, only to propose to defund our schools by a fuckton later: what did we expect. Berger cookies are stale and flavorless. No one knows how to drive. Baltimore’s attitude towards Ray Lewis is a masterclass in cognitive dissonance. Royal Farms’s greasy chicken kills more people than the coronavirus.
Fuck Ray Lewis and his stupid dance. Fuck Derrick Henry with Vrabel’s amputated dick.
That 14-2 record couldn’t stop the fact they let their best LB and that front seven was so bad they had to resort to blitzing all season long, which works against bad QBs but not Hulk-like running backs. Here’s to another season praying for pick sixes and Lamar running because we don’t have a receiver who can actually catch a pass when open.
It’s a miracle that the entirety of Arundel Mills didn’t organize a boycott when we signed a rotational defensive lineman named Jihad.
Fuck Lee Evans and double fuck Billy Cundiff.
I hate the way the Ravens are always on the wrong side of every issue.
2014: Ray Rice caught on tape physically assaulting Janay Palmer. The Ravens fucked up their response six ways to Sunday, eventually releasing Rice but not before hemming and hawing for months.
2016: The team releases vocal cannabis advocate Eugene Monroe. Total bullshit. God forbid their best lineman toke up to manage his pain rather than mainline opioids.
2020: We learn that University of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, a former Ravens OL coach who remains close to many within the franchise, apparently runs the single most hostile program for Black players in the entire FBS Division.
Nice job winning 14 regular season games and shitting the bed in the playoffs.
Fuck John Harbaugh with his brother’s stupid khakis.
Are you fucking kidding me with these jizzstains. We discover the key to eternal football happiness in LLAMA and become the most exhilarating and unpredictable offense in football this side of Boise State. I must remind the uninitiated that Ravens fans had been deluding themselves into believing that Joe Flacco’s Gawky Eli Manning Tribute Act was elite, rather than what it actually was:
a. Dumpoff to Buck Allen
b. White Tight End
c. Chuck the ball aimlessly down the field and pray for DPI, or
Watching the Baltimore Ravens have an excellent offense for the only time in recorded history was comparable to how Jesse Pinkman felt when he shot up heroin for the first time. But, of course, none of that matters as we immediately lose to Ryan Tannehill’s Tennessee Titans. Derrick Henry curbstomping our front seven and batting away Earl Thomas like a moth will ensure that the Dierdorfs of the world shall continue proselytizing the supremacy of SMASHMOUTH FOOTBAW for the next several decades, regardless of what three ring circus act Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs pull off.
Our most beloved player is the White Kicker, which should surprise nobody who has ever been to Carroll County. The most beloved player in franchise history is someone who yells about Jesus to any moving object and got down on two knees for BLM because he couldn’t wrap his head around any of it.
A critical mass of Ravens fans still want to bring back Ray Rice.
We lost to Charlie Batch once and are the reason for purple camo.
Fuck Cam Cameron.
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