PRESTON: Lots of questions for Ravens
A state of the Ravens news conference has never been so highly anticipated.
Team officials haven't even set a date yet, but that's all that is left for the 2015 season. The remaining two games against AFC North rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, are mere formalities.
It's time to hear from owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome, and what Bisciotti thought about this season and how he plans to rectify the problems.
It was nearly a decade ago when Bisciotti said he didn't want to have up-and-down seasons and wanted to be competitive every year. In two of the past three seasons, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs and have had only one winning season.
Competitive should mean being at least .500. Competitive should mean not getting blown out by contending teams in the final month of the season, or having a 2-5 record on your home turf.
There have been numerous phone calls and emails demanding Bisciotti and Newsome speak out during the season, but those were ridiculous. Few general managers and owners, with the exception of the Dallas Cowboys' Jerry Jones, talk publicly during the season unless there is a crisis.
Newsome and Bisciotti have been consistent with this approach. They didn't beat on their chests when they were going to Super Bowls, so they didn't need to stand up earlier this season.
Former Ravens owner, the late Art Modell, was different. He answered his own phone when reporters called because Modell forged those types of relationships. He didn't need a spokesman.
That changed when Bisciotti became majority owner. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has never liked the title, but he is the "face of the organization" because Newsome and Bisciotti have been — and remain — private men.
But soon, it will be time to talk. I want to know how Bisciotti felt after getting embarrassed by the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago, and then giving away a game to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. I want to know if he plans to become more involved in daily operations, and if he still has confidence in Newsome.
And if he does, what recommendations will he make to improve the front office? I want to know if Bisciotti, or anyone in the administrative offices, will acknowledge for the first time that the $20 million in dead salary cap money hurt the Ravens in free agency last offseason, and if there will be a problem this year.
Newsome has some explaining to do as well. Some fans would like for him to talk about his recent drafts, but that's unfair because it takes three to four years to truly evaluate a class. But with the exception of second-year linebacker C.J. Mosley, the Ravens haven't drafted a Pro Bowl player since 2008.
Where are all the impact players? The Ravens had a lot of injuries this season, but so did the Steelers and they are in playoff contention because they have playmakers like Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton. And the best the Ravens can do is Kamar Aiken.
Is that the result of poor drafts, which might be the result of recent departures in scouting or the front office? Why can't this team draft a big-time receiver? One more thing: Why did free agents like safety Kendrick Lewis and cornerback Kyle Arrington have such little impact this season?
It will be nice to get Harbaugh in a different setting as well, and hopefully he will be more candid. I understand coach speak, and how he can't really throw players under the bus during the season.
But since the season will be over, we really don't want to hear about how hard the Ravens fought, how they stayed together, nobody pointed fingers, blah, blah, blah.
We get it.
But now, it's time to go deeper. I want to know how much the departure of former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak impacted this team. I'm not pointing a finger at current coordinator Marc Trestman, and won't do that with defensive coordinator Dean Pees either.
It's impossible to truly evaluate either because there was such a lack of talent on both sides of the ball. But I would like to know why quarterback Joe Flacco's mechanics were so poor compared to a year ago, and why the offensive line, which returned everyone from 2014, was so inconsistent.
On the defensive side, I want to know why the secondary had problems lining up, and why receivers were left so wide open. Was it because of low football IQ, or a lack of communication? And if it was communication, why did it last an entire season?
Harbaugh might also want to share some news on veteran players like Chris Canty, Daryl Smith, Steve Smith Sr. or Lardarius Webb, and whether they will return next season or retire.
Questions, questions, questions. There are lots of them, especially because Bisciotti and Newsome only let us in their world once a year. But at least they now have plenty of time to find some answers.
Until then, Merry Christmas.