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Some people are fans of the Baltimore Ravens. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Baltimore Ravens. This 2017 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.

Your team: Baltimore Ravens.

Your 2016 record: 8-8. The Steelers scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to eliminate you. Suck on that a little longer.

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Your coach: John Harbaugh, who used Tray Walker’s funeral as an opportunity to bitch out De Smith for limited offseason player contact. You know what, you red ass? How about you find a decent training staff so that you’re not in the top three of Injured Reserve every year instead?

By the way, I will always be entertained by Harbs’s newfound obsession to exploit rules loopholes because of that one time the Pats fucked him in a playoff game with legally dubious formations. They broke his brain. You know damn well he spends all night guzzling coffee and poring over tape in a room covered with Beautiful Mind scribbles, eyebanging league bylaws to find something Belichick hasn’t thought of yet. “Intentional holding penalties! THAT’LL GET THEM! MWAHAHAHAHAHAH [lightning strikes in the background].”

Your quarterback: Joe Flacco, aka the world’s finest Adam Levine Replacement Android. Flacco once bought five massage chairs and then got rid of them when he realized that he didn’t like massage chairs, and that he is only one person. He’s an idiot. Every year we get away from that Super Bowl victory, the more inexplicable his playoff success becomes. He must have taken the Limitless drug that winter or something.

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Flacco, as of this writing, is still out with a disc injury in his back. The Ravens don’t think the injury is serious and expect him back for the opener but, as any 40-year-old man can tell you, EVERY disc injury is serious. That shit doesn’t just go away, my friends. The uncertainty around Flacco means that he still could miss real playing time at some point, which means the team could probably use some reinforcements at the position, right? Hmmm, I wonder what free agent QB out there might help provide backup and fit in well with the rest of the team? I wonder who that could POSSIBLY be…

/head

/desk

I know this is beating an already-flayed horse, but the current backup is Ryan Mallett. Ryan Mallett is a beanstalk truant with atrocious career numbers. They just acquired Thad Lewis, who hasn’t thrown an NFL pass in FOUR years. This team gets decimated by injuries year after year after fucking year. But your lounge singer of an owner won’t sign Colin Kaepernick because he’s afraid of losing beer money and insists on pandering to imaginary racist fans. What a complete pussy.

I went to Annapolis once. In the Annapolis Harbor, you may catch a glimpse of Winning Drive, which is Steve Bisciotti’s luxury yacht. Rumor has that it’s the second largest yacht in that harbor, just after some bigtime doctor’s launch, and that Bisciotti isn’t exactly pleased with being No. 2. He’s a butthole. PAY YOUR WATER BILL, COOKIE MAN.

I care about the fan base but I have to absorb the opinions of the layers that have been there.

Sure buddy. LAYERS. There’s a statue of a dude who obstructed justice in two murders right in front of your stadium. Glad the guy who gave up on finding the Ray Rice tape is suddenly so interested in conducting a comprehensive sociological study of his own fanbase. Accused domestic abuser and Uruk-hai chieftain Terrell Suggs is still on the roster, for God’s sake.

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What’s new that sucks: In their neverending quest to import every old wideout ever to play in the league, say hello to Jeremy Maclin, who’s already destined to miss at least a quarter of the season. They also brought in anti-Kaepernick Danny Woodhead to appease all the layered opinion-havers among the Dundalk citizenry.

Woodhead has played 21 games in the past three years. He has no chance with this Civil War infirmary of a team. They also grabbed Brandon Carr from the Cowboys, which will not stop them from allowing Antonio Brown to go for 150 yards against them twice a year.

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The math guy quit. Dennis Pitta broke down. They signed Austin Howard to a $15 million deal and he reported to camp hurt. Zach Orr retired with half a neck and then unretired. No one who cares about him would ever let him return to this franchise.

What has always sucked: 

Also, every year Ray Lewis gives me fresh reasons to hate his guts:

“Your name is in my Bible.” Even Jimmy Swaggart wasn’t this big of a religious phony. This jackass retired ages ago and yet still manages to embarrass himself and his team on a yearly basis. I say we throw acid at that dumb statue.

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As for Baltimore, it remains the most hilariously defensive city on the Eastern Seaboard. Your average Baltimore resident spends 10 hours a day scouring for ways to take umbrage at things. Here now is a typical conversation with any Baltimore resident:

YOU: Hi, there.

THEM: WE’RE NOT JUST THE WIRE, YOU KNOW. ROGER GOODELL RIGS EVERY GAME FOR THE STEELERS. OH, YOU THINK YOU’RE BETTER THAN US JUST BECAUSE YOU LIVE IN A MORE INTERESTING CITY DO YOU? I’LL CUT YOU GOOD.

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They’re the original snowflakes, by God. One of the Deadspin staff’s favorite hobbies is checking the Twitter feed of NFL access merchant Jason La Canfora, who tweets angry shit about the Orioles three times more often than he tweets out actual football information. It’s the most Baltimore Twitter feed in history: just a string of anger spasms intended for no one in particular. Like Boston fans, Baltimore fans always assume you give a shit about their problems, and that you’re always on their side. Neither of those things are true.

Did you know? They’ll steal your stairs.

 What might not suck: For real, that yacht looks pretty sweet. I wouldn’t kick it out of the docking slip.

HEAR IT FROM RAVENS FANS!

Matt:

A couple of years ago I wrote you that the Ravens sucked because their kicker was named the team MVP. Guess what? The kicker was named the team MVP again last year.

Tom:

Because we’re going to be 8-6, with 2 games to play, “controlling our own destiny,” and somehow find a way to blow it.

Gary:

Because we can play an entire season of games decided by three points or less and not a single one of those games will be even remotely exciting.

Luis:

Joe Flacco makes me sincerely regret the fact the Ravens won the 2012 Super Bowl. He’s a case study on the hypothetical question of what if winning one championship meant you’d be rubbish for the rest of eternity.

Jason:

We are only slightly more effective at scouting/developing receivers than the Orioles are at scouting/developing starting pitching.

Jarren:

The last Ravens game I attended, I got aisle seats (this is relevant). About 5 minutes BEFORE the game, a stumbling drunk woman barfs a Sandlot-tobacco-carnival ride-level amount of spew all over about three steps, two rows behind me.

As the only decent human in the section, I warn ascending fans of the partially chewed hot dogs and now only slightly more acidic Bud Light Lime ahead of them. People behind the mess, however, intentionally distract those going down the stairs so that they will step in the puke, after which everyone in the section cheers. After struggling to find guest services’ number, I text them to get the cleanup crew. When the cleanup man arrives, miserable, I ask how many texts they got. The answer was one. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were people booing when the sawdust went down.

Dave:

Joe Flacco will either throw the ball 80 yards down field or dump it off three feet in front of him immediately. There is no middle ground.

Danny Woodhead will most likely finish the year with 185 catches for 325 yards.

A friend of mine used to work for some entrepreneur clothier who provides high-end suits to Ravens players. Apparently Flacco said to him something along the lines of, “That’s great that you love what you do, hopefully one day I’ll find something I’m passionate about.”

Ryan:

This has to be the most boring team to watch on offense. I highly doubt any team has more three and outs over the last 7 years. Watching this team play on the road gives me a brain aneurysm every time. Harbs is one of the better coaches Monday – Saturday but if the opposing teams give him a wrinkle they didn’t account for on Sunday, there is zero hope for any adjustments during the game to contest it. Our fans will pick a fight and then try to pull the victim card when they get their faces stomped in front of their family.

I wish they would cut Michael Campanaro so he can go on to catch 15 TDs a year with the Pats. They have a $18 burger they sell at the stadium called the tailgater and it sums up this team perfectly, bad ideas and even worse execution. Fuck Anthony Wright for starting a playoff game in Ray & Ed’s Prime.

Keith:

This was something an acquaintance posted about 6 months after the actual incident, and right after the commissioner announced Rice had been suspended indefinitely. And at least 8 people liked it!

And now today, multiple people I know from high school have been posting that they’ll become Cowboys fans if the Ravens sign Kaepernick. We’re the worst.

Will:

I have been to nearly every Ravens home game with my dad since they came to town. Last season I was going through the breakup of a 15-year relationship. The Ravens became my weekly escape - but only in the sense that I had an excuse to get blackout drunk by noon at age 35. I looked back through the schedule this morning, and literally cannot recall one memorable or significant moment from any game. My dad sold his tickets after last season - likely out of concern for my liver. We will be spending our Sundays doing something less mediocre this year.

Chris:

Last year, the morning of the Ravens first preseason game, I had to endure a “Ray Rice is not getting another shot because of double standards” discussion first thing in the morning at work. Years ago, fellow colleagues almost laughed me out of the office for just suggesting that I’d rather have Matt Ryan than Joe Flacco. Cian Fahey pretty much summed up the Joe Flacco experience when he said “It’s not that he fails to read coverages, it’s that he fails to realize the defense can call plays too. He throws the ball like he’s surprised whenever there is a defender trying to cover one of his receivers.”

News broke that Flacco could likely miss the first couple weeks of the regular season. I did a quick search to see who our backup QB was because I couldn’t remember. I saw that it is Ryan Mallet, who is essentially a non-punctual and somehow crappier version of Joe Flacco. Good Times!

Joe:

So you’re interested joining the purple inbred brotherhood of Glen Burnie’s finest? Well then friend, see if you qualify by taking the Ravens fan entrance exam!!

1) Ray Lewis....

A) Had a hand in killings those two guys

B) Has a totally bitchin statue next to Johnny U out front of the stadium man! Well earned!!!

C) Innocent from the start! The court system prevailed!!

D) Are you guys really still talking about that? Move on already.

E) BIG BEN IS A RAPIST!

2) A Suggs jersey, fake purple hair wig, and purple camo pants (to tie the outfit together of course) is appropriate for:

A) A Ravens game

B) Any night out to a dinner and/or bar setting

C) A wedding

D) A technical exchange meeting with company shareholders to discuss 3rd quarter projections

E) All of the above

3) Is Joe Flacco elite?

A) Yes

B) Definitely, yes

C) Absolutely! Now enough silly questions. Here, hit this pipe and let’s get back to cornhole

D) Hell yeah! And don’t forget Trent Dilfer won a ring here too! That’s two historically elite QBs! How many franchises can claim that?! You can honestly make a case that our two are better than Bradshaw and Ben.

4) Discuss Ray Rice.

A) He served his suspension and learned his lesson...seriously we should consider signing him to a league minimum deal. I mean it’s been a couple years, but I’m sure he’s well rested.

B) There are guys in the league that have done MUCH worse! He’s not Aaron Hernandez, let’s give the guy a second chance!

C) Look, it’s never right to hit a woman...but man if a bitch come at you swinging like that, whatcha supposed to do? Just let her hit you??

D) BIG BEN IS A RAPIST!

ANSWER KEY:

Pick one, any of them. Your answer doesn’t matter. You’re a Ravens fan and nothing you do matters. Now go get your fuckin’ shinebox and fuck off back to Pasadena or Dundalk.

James:

I still own my authentic Ray Rice jersey because I am convinced it will be worth money someday. I am an asshole.

Gary:

Are we still relevant? Steve Smith is gone. Flacco is only going to get worse, our secondary is forever cursed, and I just read our resident genius John Urschel decided to retire. We’re so fucked.

Joseph:

So the fans must be on board with the idea bringing in Kap, right? Nope. You cruise the Facebook page of any (white) Ravens fan and you’ll find plenty of comments like, “DISGUSTING! I don’t want to see him in OUR colors!” or “If he kneels during one of our games he better have extra security because our fans will BEAT HIS ASS!!!” It’s worth noting that Baltimore City served as the backdrop for civil unrest due to police brutality only a few years ago, but don’t remind the county folk of that. Only Ravens fans could have their judgment so clouded by their racist underpinnings that they’d scoff at the idea of a halfway decent quarterback taking over for a few games.

Mike:

Every year my brother and I engage in the “Is Flacco an elite quarterback?” debate, and every year as we sit together and watch the games, I honestly can’t believe he chose (and still passionately defends) the “elite QB” side of that argument.

I can’t believe that as a 32-y.o., 11-year veteran QB, Flacco still makes the same stupid mistakes he always has for the past 10 years in a row. He cannot throw deep with any accuracy at all so his “big arm” that the commentators talk about endlessly is useless. Whenever he throws long (usually on 3rd and short because that really catches the defense off guard, and for good reason), I usually just close my eyes because I know the only thing he’s guaranteed to hit with that long pass is the grass.

He is unable to consistently hit the 5-7 yard passes over the middle that an offense needs to establish a rhythm, esp. one with as few offensive options as the Ravens. (There’s a reason the Ravens routinely are in the top 5 in most 3-and-outs in the league every year.)

And this has nothing to do with his “lack of options” or “stability on the O line” as my brother likes to use as an excuse, because Flacco was doing this shit when he had Ray Rice and multiple tight ends and wideouts at his disposal. The Ravens have changed their offensive coordinators a bunch but an elite QB should be able to work around that. For some reason Shit For Brains comes to life in the playoffs which I equate to a savant who can play the piano flawlessly but the rest of the time doesn’t even know how to use an eyebrow trimmer. Perhaps we’re seeing a new type of CTE manifest itself?

Tom:

Being a Baltimore Ravens fan means you have to defend the position that Joe Flacco is elite; a position not supported by any objective facts or statistics. You end up saying words like “clutch” or referring to obscure statistics that only Ravens fans know (i.e., most road playoff wins). Donald Fucking Trump said Joe Flacco is elite and, God forgive me, I liked the man for half a day.

Having to argue that Joe Flacco is elite is similar to having to argue that Qdoba is better than Chipotle just because Qdoba is closer to your house and doesn’t have as long of a line. Qdoba is not better than Chipotle. The Ravens have spent the latter part of the off-season deciding whether our fan base can handle Colin Kapernick as QB. This is a fan base that gave Ray Rice a standing ovation after he punched out his girlfriend in a Vegas elevator.

Jesse:

You just get the feeling that since the Super Bowl, Flacco has just been killing time until he can dupe this god awful fan base into electing him to the Senate. Every spiritual felon in Dundalk who spent his entire life avoiding voting like the plague will cream his jeans the second he can vote for a real no nonsense, lunch pail kinda guy.

Also, Steve Bisciotti is Opus Dei weirdo who cheated employees out of billions. Nationalize his organs.

Matt:

Fuck Lee Evans, Fuck Cundiff, and Fuck Steve Saunders with his new hard mode training camp, leaving a promising team looking like the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan.

Dan:

Over the past few seasons the Ravens have done the one thing in sports that’s worse than sucking, they’ve become boring. You know how there are dog owners that sort of look like their dog, that’s what happened with the Ravens. It’s like we got the most boring milquetoast QB and the entire organization just decided to fall in line. From Ozzie looking dopier and dopier every year, to the boring Harbaugh brother, right on down the roster. We don’t have anyone you’d want to sit down and have a conversation with, let alone that you’d want on your fantasy team. Flacco can throw it 60 yards on a frozen rope, and I’d bet my first born son Danny Woodhead leads the team in receiving this year. This organization is clown shoes, and if I hear “In Ozzie we trust” one more time I’d going to have an aneurysm.

Christian:

The Ravens brought this Kapernick shit storm on themselves. Harbaugh brought his name up in a presser unprompted because it probably makes good football sense to have a backup that has started a damn Super Bowl. Then for the next two weeks when the press asks him about it, he coach speaks around everyone.

Fuck Billy Cundiff.

Tyler:

I am a Ravens fan, and damn do I hate other Ravens fans. Did you know that, not only is Joe Flacco elite, he’s better than Aaron Rodgers? In Baltimore, it’s true. And Ray Lewis didn’t kill anyone.

Did you know that the Ravens should be Super Bowl favorites? Did you know it’s because we’re going to have the NFL’s best three-man running back tandem (bet you can’t name all three of them without looking) and the NFL’s best defense? In Baltimore it’s true, and the NFL is just biased against us.

In fact, did you know that the NFL has always been against us? That’s why they let the Colts leave. That’s why they made it so hard for us to get a team again. That’s why they turned off the lights in the Super Bowl.

Ravens fans believe this shit. We gaslight ourselves. I hate the Ravens, I hate myself, and we belong together.

Hunter:

That there was even a discussion about whether these assholes would sign Kaepernick is a fucking hoot. Did anybody really think they would? After a few days of deliberation and consulting the team’s icon and totally-sane-man-who-yells-in-empty-garages, the Ravens determined Kaepernick wouldn’t be a good fit with the backwards fan base. Then pastor Ray-Ray took to Twitter to deliver an empty-as-ever sermon for Kap, his rendition of “stick to sports.” Fuck us. Kaepernick deserves much better. To the Ravens, it’s a bigger problem to kneel during the national anthem than to be a domestic abuser. Fuck this organization, fuck it hard.

Czech:

The Ravens are still operating under the mystique of the 2000 defense. Every year, they either draft a player or sign a random FA on the defensive side of the ball, and suddenly it’s the greatest defense in the history of the league. They haven’t been able to cover a top WR for the last 5 years, and that might be generous. So, this season, they brought in the top safety available (after bringing in Weddle last year), and spent a first rounder on a cornerback as well. Of course, this has already led to purple camo wearing mouth-breathers to declare this defense unstoppable, and the Ravens are going to be back in the playoffs, etc, etc.

Of course, in doing all of the above to help out the secondary, we completely ignored the gaping hole at WR, and on the right side of the OL. In the first week of OTAs, we lost the starting nickel CB for the year, and then 70% of the offense disappeared when Pitta dislocated his hip for the third (and final) time. 86 receptions, Flacco’s safety valve, and the pace of the offense just evaporated. But don’t worry, we have Danny Woodhead now, and 87-year-old Ben Watson coming off of a major injury (he’s now timed with a sundial). We have two receivers who only see success running as fast as they can down the field (Perriman and Wallace), so of course all the fans were shitting their dicks at the chance to sign Jeremy Maclin, who is exactly the same as those two and would no sooner go toward the middle than Trump would.

Hopefully, the front office realizes they need someone capable (and willing) to run intermediate patterns, and defined routes other than “sprint as fast as you can and hope you get interfered with” (which was Torrey Smith’s entire career, have fun Eagles fans). Flacco will do the same disinterested trot on and off the field, whether it’s his eighth 3-and-out of the day, or a 13 play, 87 yard scoring drive.

The defense will start strong and fade, as it does every year, as being on the field all the time and getting beat up wears out anyone. Maybe with all the money in the secondary they won’t give up touchdown leads in the three games they manage to score more than four field goals this season. Crabcakes and Football, that’s what Maryland does! Only, 90% of the time, both of them are nothing but filler and the rest of the country can’t figure out why those around the Chesapeake think it’s so great (but nothing does beat a good crabcake!).

Jeremy:

Fuck Lee Evans with Ray Lewis’ I-didn’t-do-it knife and a pair of those awful gold pants

Submissions for the Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: Washington Redskins.

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