Twelve Ravens Thoughts following season-ending press conference

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With general manager Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh conducting the Ravens’ season-ending press conference in Owings Mills on Friday, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Those demanding a pound of flesh were left unsatisfied with DeCosta and Harbaugh saying little of consequence over the 42-minute session. Harbaugh said he was “heartbroken” not getting to a Super Bowl, but there’s nothing to say that makes anyone feel any better about the AFC title game loss. 

2. I’ll maintain discourse about abandoning their identity is slightly overblown, but Harbaugh stated the obvious acknowledging running so little was “not really going to win us” the game. Baltimore’s backs eclipsed 33 first-half rushing yards just three times after Week 10. Second-half leads preceded the ground attack truly taking over.

3. That said, the lack of runs and scrambles from Lamar Jackson was an obvious problem. Harbaugh treaded carefully discussing the volume of run-pass options in the game plan and Jackson forgoing scramble opportunities at times, but one MVP quarterback pretty clearly outplayed the other. We shouldn’t bury that unfortunate lede. 

4. The Ravens have a strong track record with defensive coordinators, so it’s interesting to note Zach Orr has never called defensive plays before, something Mike Macdonald gained experience doing at Michigan. Adding a veteran assistant with some play-calling experience to help Orr adjust to that dynamic would be logical. 

5. Though very complimentary of longtime friend and former director of player personnel Joe Hortiz, DeCosta didn’t sound overly concerned about replacing the man who had run Baltimore’s pre-draft work in recent years. “I think we have the people to kind of take care of the process for us.” 

6. Asked where the organization is with Ronnie Stanley, DeCosta acknowledged this being “a big offseason” for the oft-injured left tackle, who’s scheduled to carry a $26.17 million salary cap number for 2024. “We’ll make all those personnel decisions over the coming weeks [with] what we decide to do.” 

7. Meanwhile, Kevin Zeitler is scheduled to become a free agent after receiving a Pro Bowl nod that was long overdue. DeCosta was noncommittal beyond saying he had recently met with the soon-to-be 34-year-old. Even with some younger guards on Baltimore’s roster, it’d be really tough to lose the dependable veteran. 

8. Though Harbaugh took exception to use of the word “disconnect” in a question about Rashod Bateman and Jackson, the lack of on-field chemistry between the two was evident. Both Harbaugh and DeCosta spoke highly of Bateman’s ability to run routes and separate, so why hasn’t it clicked with his quarterback?

9. DeCosta isn’t closing the door on pending free agents Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins, but you’d have to think a meaningful outside addition is coming at running back. You can’t depend on Keaton Mitchell being ready for 2024, and Justice Hill is much more of a complementary back. 

10. Asked about Justin Madubuike and whether Baltimore will use the franchise tag, DeCosta said, “It’s beneficial to just not talk about things” like that. Though it’s difficult to fathom letting the Pro Bowl defensive tackle hit the market, the tag is projected to cost nearly $20 million, per

11. DeCosta continued the trend of nobody talking about Tyus Bowser’s knee situation with any meaningful substance, but the 28-year-old is scheduled to make $5.5 million in base salary in 2024 and has played in just nine games over the last two seasons. Such a weird situation. 

12. Saturday marked 11 years since the Ravens won their last Super Bowl. Andy Reid went 15 years between Super Bowl appearances with Philadelphia and Kansas City, but pressure is mounting on Harbaugh to get back to one, especially after falling short as the No. 1 seed twice in five years. 

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