I know we just came off a bad loss to Baltimore, but we have no reason to panic now. First off, yes we are 4-4 but we lost to arguably the 4 best teams in the NFL, two of those games we easily could've won and one of those games, had our special teams not collapsed, i think we walk out of there with a win considering how dominate our Offense and Defense were playing during the first half.
Regardless, no one here honestly thought that this is the year we would be contending for a championship. I'll admit I did, and still do, think we could make the playoffs but look at our team and see how well we positioned ourselves for the future.
Offensive line...we have maybe the best LT in all of Football in his Third NFL season, a great RT in Vernon Carey who is under 30, and a promising guard in John Jerry who is only a rookie. Plug in a center in next year's draft and you have a line that can be there for the next decade.
WR's...Brandon Marshall is 26 and we just signed him to a 5 yr extension...Davone Bess is one of the best slot receivers and he just got a 3 year extension...Wallace has shown a ton of promise in his rookie year and Hartline has definitely stepped it up in the last few weeks with big plays over 20 yards. Yea we could always use that speedster but from what I'm hearing, Wallace has some serious speed, just not that great route running. I really hope we keep this unit in tack as I think they will only get better and better considering how young they are.
D-line...Starks is as close to a pro bowler as there is who hasn't been to one...Langford is playing above everyones expectations...Solai is finally having a breakout season and is playing consistent as a NT and we still have Odrick and Merling who in my opinion have yet to really develop.
D-backs...Vontae...Sean Smith...Chris Clemons...all in their second year!!!...tell me who honestly doesn't think this unit can be dominat in another year or two and for years to come. Clemons has taken a big step this year as VD has obvi...and I think Smith will be good. Considering Terrel Owens even gave him praise and he really kept him quiet vs Cincy once he got in and he stayed with TO the whole time...we all know TO is still playing at a very high level.
Henne...its his first full year as a starter...Does anyone remember Eli as a starter or Drew Brees (as someone mentioned in a different post)...Both these qb are super bowl winning QB's and were definitely not that good in their second full year as starters but eventually found their role. Give him time, having Bess and Marshall will only make him better.
So what is their to panic about? We have a great pass rusher in Wake, good inside LB'ers in Dansby and Crowder and a promising OLB in Misi who i personally think reminds me a lot of Clay Matthews his first year with a crazy motor and look at Clay now after he learned a couple of pass rush moves.
People have said this time and time again but where were we 2 season ago...1-15...we are close, and we are veryyyy young. As this team develops we will only get better. I was thinking about the draft today bc I was bored at work and honestly I couldnt think of more than two positions that we really "needed'. I agree, we need a field stretching Tight End and we will need a RB after Ronnie or Ricky move on. Ronnie played very tough last week and was I the only one that saw him run AT Ray Lewis numerous times and fall forward not backwards...he still has a few years left in the tank and doesn't have that many miles on him considering the injuries.
Finally, yes we are 4-4 but again look at the teams we played. I dont care what anyone says but the Raiders, Browns, Lions, and Bears don't compare to the Ravens, Steelers, Packers, and Pats and Jets. We played the TOP teams and thats what you need to do in order to get over that hump. Playing soft teams all year and have a nice record only to get smacked in the face first rd of the playoffs is the worst wake up call you can have and we had that in 2008. Had Sean Smith taken that pick for 6 it would've been a 20-17 game in the third quarter and all the momentum would be in our favor. It didn't happen and yes it sucks but just realize how close we are.
Eventually, these ALMOST plays turn into game changing plays and it might not be this week or this year, but before you know it this young core will develop into a ton of pro bowlers.
All i'm trying to say is we have a ton to be optimistic about given the caliber of players this team has and the ones they are developing.