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I feel bad for the Baltimore Ravens defense. Year after year, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, etc. put in amazing performances, but they are consistently sabotaged by the Ravens mediocre offense. At least they won in 2000, otherwise this would have reached almost tragic proportions.

There are lots of fingers to point in the Ravens’ offensive failure in the 4th quarter yesterday. How does Lee Evans drop that touchdown? The entire field goal attempt was a disaster–bad snap, holder couldn’t get the ball set straight, kicker misses by a mile. And then there’s Joe Flacco.

Flacco didn’t play a terrible game, though that interception wasn’t great. But he hardly played great either. As Scott mentioned yesterday, Flacco is no Tim Tebow, but he’s also not very good. Baltimore needs to be serious about upgrading the quarterback position to compete for a Super Bowl, but they are so close as it is and starting over at that key position would be such a process that I understand why they wouldn’t do it. And they won’t.

And that led me to thinking–when was the last time a team has been close to an elite team for so long, over a decade in the Ravens’ case, while struggling to establish anything decent at the quarterback position. Flacco’s obviously much better than Kyle Boller, but he isn’t really any better than Trent Dilfer and it’s not like Dilfer was a world-beater. The Ravens have survived with the same strategy for a long time–amazing defense and try to put together enough pieces on offense. And it works just well enough to leave them short of the Super Bowl.

Is there another example of this scenario in NFL history?

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