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5 Most Critical Players to our SB Season
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b-rave11


Joined: 04 Mar 2007
Posts: 537
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:56 am    Post subject: 5 Most Critical Players to our SB Season Reply with quote

So I'm having a hard time letting go and still think about us winning the Lombardi every 45 seconds or so.

Today I was wondering which 5 players were the most crucial to our path to the SB -- not which 5 players had the best seasons per se, but which guys were the most instrumental to our advancement through the playoffs.

It's always hard to say that without Player X we definitely would not have won, but here it goes anyways:

1. Joe Flacco - Pretty self-explanatory

2. Ray Lewis - He did not have a great year, nor did he have a great playoffs, but I am of the opinion that had he kept his retirement plans private we would not have won the SB.

3. Jacoby Jones

4. Bryant McKinnie - Allowed KO and Oher to go back to their natural positions to form a dominant line. He wasn't too shabby in his own right either.

5. Anquan Boldin

What do you guys think?
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diamondbull424


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... mines would be similar, but I'll say...

1a. Ray Lewis- I don't know, this team has been close for the past few years but could never get over the hump. The team at the start of the playoffs seemed like a drastically different team than the one that ended the regular season limping... the only discernible difference that I can make out is Ray Lewis joining the fray and informing his teammates of his plans to retire. Call me crazy, but I agree with you... the team looked gelled and focused since the start of the playoffs. They used Ray's retirement to noticeably fuel them through a tough battle against Indy that were playing for Chuckstrong and on a mission. And more than that, we were possessed of that extra layer of urgency that you could never truly feel in past years.

In addition, I think Lewis' return was huge on the field as well. Sure he sucked against San Fran, but he had a playoff record high for tackles in a post season. And was dominant against Indy. You also can't discount his on-the-field leadership against two elite QBs in Manning and Brady.

1b. Joe Flacco- Was beast mode in the playoffs with his absurd TD/INT ratio. He also was incredibly clutch. He didn't force the issue and made big time plays. The QB is the most important player on the field on most any night and while Lewis was the most important intangible factor- by far, Flacco was the most important tangible factor.

3. Jacoby Jones- He was a clutch factor throughout the playoffs. Not only did he have multiple critical returns, but he was on the receiving end of the Mile High Miracle/F-Bomb that basically gave us the win against Denver. He also had a similarly phenomenal play in the SB with the catch and shake he performed for the score.

4. Terrell Suggs- This dates back to the regular season, but I also think the playoffs value of what he meant to the defense stands. With Suggs out and the rest of our defense healthy at the beginning of the year- it played like trash. Some of that I'm sure was getting comfortable with Peas as a play caller, but the defensive improvements made huge leaps upon Suggs return, even as multiple defenders went down or were largely limited due to injuries. The playoffs showed our defense doing a very good job with containing offenses outside of a power outage in the Super Bowl that gave San Fran life. Suggs is/was the most valuable tangible figure on our defense. His ability to shut down runs and force offenses to gameplan against him made Kruger and multiple other players more effective throughout the playoffs.

5. Anquan Boldin- While he couldn't separate from defenses to save his life, when the ball was thrown in his vicinity, more often than not, he got the job done. He had a huge game against Indy, perhaps one of his best games as a pro. And he preceded to continue to come up huge in key moments with key grabs on 3rd downs. He wasn't really dominant outside of that Indy game, but he was a consistently reliable target in clutch situations. He and Flacco were in an obvious groove.
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not in any order, but I believe the following:

Cary Williams
Joe Flacco
Ray Rice
Anquan Boldin
Ray Lewis / Haloti Ngata
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RavensDefense3


Joined: 21 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
Not in any order, but I believe the following:

Cary Williams
Joe Flacco
Ray Rice
Anquan Boldin
Ray Lewis / Haloti Ngata


Ray Rice? He had two fumbles in the colts game, and he fumbled in our territory in the superbowl which could've possibly cost us the game. He wasn't that great running the football too, with a 3.6 YPC
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Flaccomania


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe Flacco
Ray Lewis
Jacoby Jones
Anquan Boldin
Kelechi Osemele
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mcdni


Joined: 12 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RavensDefense3 wrote:
SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
Not in any order, but I believe the following:

Cary Williams
Joe Flacco
Ray Rice
Anquan Boldin
Ray Lewis / Haloti Ngata


Ray Rice? He had two fumbles in the colts game, and he fumbled in our territory in the superbowl which could've possibly cost us the game. He wasn't that great running the football too, with a 3.6 YPC


Without Ray's 4th and 36 miracle against the Chargers do the Ravens even get a chance at a playoff run? So yes he was a critical player to our SB season.
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wackywabbit


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcdni wrote:
RavensDefense3 wrote:
SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
Not in any order, but I believe the following:

Cary Williams
Joe Flacco
Ray Rice
Anquan Boldin
Ray Lewis / Haloti Ngata


Ray Rice? He had two fumbles in the colts game, and he fumbled in our territory in the superbowl which could've possibly cost us the game. He wasn't that great running the football too, with a 3.6 YPC


Without Ray's 4th and 36 miracle against the Chargers do the Ravens even get a chance at a playoff run?


Yes, they probably do.
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Flaccomania


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcdni wrote:
RavensDefense3 wrote:
SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
Not in any order, but I believe the following:

Cary Williams
Joe Flacco
Ray Rice
Anquan Boldin
Ray Lewis / Haloti Ngata


Ray Rice? He had two fumbles in the colts game, and he fumbled in our territory in the superbowl which could've possibly cost us the game. He wasn't that great running the football too, with a 3.6 YPC


Without Ray's 4th and 36 miracle against the Chargers do the Ravens even get a chance at a playoff run? So yes he was a critical player to our SB season.


We likely still do.

But, I don't think that's what this thread is about, really. I think it has more to do with the playoffs than the season itself. If it were the season itself, we'd likely have to list players other than Boldin/Jacoby, guys like Ellerbe, Kruger, etc that filled in admirably for injured stars that kept our season alive.

But, to me at least, the spirit of the thread has more to do with the playoff run itself.
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RavensDefense3 wrote:
SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
Not in any order, but I believe the following:

Cary Williams
Joe Flacco
Ray Rice
Anquan Boldin
Ray Lewis / Haloti Ngata


Ray Rice? He had two fumbles in the colts game, and he fumbled in our territory in the superbowl which could've possibly cost us the game. He wasn't that great running the football too, with a 3.6 YPC


So you're telling me that Ray Rice wasn't a critical piece for the entire season to our SB run? I'll agree that for the playoffs he wasn't as much a critical piece, but you're out of your mind if you don't think that he wasn't a critical piece the entire season, which is what I based my criteria off of, which is also why you won't find Jacoby Jones on my list, either.

So if I had to variations, it'd look like:

Entire Season:
Flacco
Rice
Cary Williams
Boldin
Ray Lewis / Ngata

Playoffs:
Flacco
Suggs
Ellerbe
Boldin
Jacoby Jones
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coordinator0


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I kind of look at this as who was most important for the actual Super Bowl run too. If you think back the Ravens weren't looking too good at all going into the playoffs and most of our hope (hype) was coming from Cameron getting fired. With that in mind here's my top five:

Flacco - No explanation needed. One of the all-time great playoff performances by a QB. It still makes me smile to think about that and it's not just looking through purple-colored glasses.

Boldin - Another pretty obvious one. He made just about all the big and small plays you could hope from him.

Jones - Pretty much the same reasoning as above.

After those three I have a harder time singling out some of the other players. Lewis probably deserves to be in there. He did fairly decent after coming back but like it has been mentioned one of the bigger factors about Lewis was the emotional influence he had on the team by just being out there. That's harder for us as fans to accurately quantify but I believe in it.

For the last spot... man I don't know. Arguments can be made for a lot of guys. I think I'd go with Kruger though. He had a beastly playoff run too and as a pass-rusher that holds a ton of value for a team.
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wackywabbit


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love Ray Lewis, but he doesn't belong on any of these lists. Too many players had bigger tangible impacts than his intangible.

How about some love for Corey Graham? Looking back, the Denver game has the biggest hurdle and he had 2 of the biggest plays in that game. Plus good coverage the whole run, from a player brought in for special teams. Considering how they held up against the caliber of QBs we faced, someone on the secondary deserves a mention.
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sp6488


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wackywabbit wrote:
mcdni wrote:
RavensDefense3 wrote:
SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
Not in any order, but I believe the following:

Cary Williams
Joe Flacco
Ray Rice
Anquan Boldin
Ray Lewis / Haloti Ngata


Ray Rice? He had two fumbles in the colts game, and he fumbled in our territory in the superbowl which could've possibly cost us the game. He wasn't that great running the football too, with a 3.6 YPC


Without Ray's 4th and 36 miracle against the Chargers do the Ravens even get a chance at a playoff run?


Yes, they probably do.


As has been said, they probably do.
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diamondbull424


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wackywabbit wrote:
I love Ray Lewis, but he doesn't belong on any of these lists. Too many players had bigger tangible impacts than his intangible.

How about some love for Corey Graham? Looking back, the Denver game has the biggest hurdle and he had 2 of the biggest plays in that game. Plus good coverage the whole run, from a player brought in for special teams. Considering how they held up against the caliber of QBs we faced, someone on the secondary deserves a mention.

I disagree. There was a stronger sense of urgency in every player and coach, a greater aggressiveness to get it done this year over what we've seen the past few seasons. You're right that many players appeared to step up their tangible impact, but its also accurate to say most didn't finish the season at that level of play. So factoring in our lack of urgency in past years along with the increased level of determination from the players throughout the playoffs... And I can't agree with removing Ray Lewis from the list- at all. More than that, like I mentioned his actual tangible impact as a field general (getting guys in place) as well as his defense were pretty good. He was really good against Indy, alright against Denver, pretty good against the Patriots, and bad against San Fran... But even as bad as he was in that game he was an upgrade over Jameel McClain through the playoff run.

In terms of Corey Graham. He had a huge game, but so did Torrey Smith, Boldin, Jacoby, Flacco, etc. Graham, like Torrey, was huge in that game... But didn't quite play to that same playmaking level outside of that game. And personally, I'd put Torrey smoking Champ Bailey all night (and conversely having everyone start calling him old) before Graham in terms of playoff impact. I'd also put Kruger ahead of Graham as well... Ellerbe also.
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diamondbull424


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcdni wrote:
RavensDefense3 wrote:
SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
Not in any order, but I believe the following:

Cary Williams
Joe Flacco
Ray Rice
Anquan Boldin
Ray Lewis / Haloti Ngata


Ray Rice? He had two fumbles in the colts game, and he fumbled in our territory in the superbowl which could've possibly cost us the game. He wasn't that great running the football too, with a 3.6 YPC


Without Ray's 4th and 36 miracle against the Chargers do the Ravens even get a chance at a playoff run? So yes he was a critical player to our SB season.

Without that play the Cincy game actually means something. We win and were in the same spot minus a possible week of rest. Also with a loss the Butterfly Effect states anything could happen. After that game we still had five games remaining.

Whose not to say a loss there is the final nail in the coffin for Cam Cameron. Caldwell gets promoted earlier and Flacco finishes the season on a tear, the offense gets in rhythm prior to the playoffs and finishes with a bye week and one of the top seeds... Maybe the Patriots now have to play the AFCCG in Baltimore in what would be Ray Lewis' definite last game in Baltimore... Remove on block and the pieces could fall anywhere.

But one things for certain. Rice, while important, wasn't nearly as impactful to the offense as he had been in years past. He made some huge plays- like always, but beyond that he wasn't a top 5, perhaps not even a top 10 back IMO. He just didn't possess the same burst and agility on a play by play basis as in years past. He also was pretty horrid in pass pro from his RB spot even after having beefed up.
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Graham, but I mean I can't say he had a bigger impact that the other players I listed - same with Paul Kruger despite the fact he was a beast.

Also, Justin Tucker should be on there as well and I feel bad I left him out. Straight up money the entire season.

As for Ray Lewis - his on the field play was average to say the least, but the motivation he gave the ENTIRE team when he announced this would be his last ride simply cannot be ignored, neither can his preparation and pre-snap adjustments that he brings to the table. Not to mention he still was a tackling machine, even if he couldn't hang in coverage or shed blockers or move more than 5 feet in any direction. He definitely belongs.
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