1. Regain self-control.
The Baltimore Ravens absolutely lost it during last week's 35-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, which included a franchise-record 21 penalties. It was a miasma of meltdowns that included Terrell Suggs being ejected for arguing with and slightly bumping into referee Mike Carey plus nose guard Maake Kemoeatu's obscene gesture to the crowd along with cornerback Chris McAlister and wide receiver Derrick Mason throwing footballs when they're not the quarterback. Can the Ravens regain their discipline today at M&T Bank Stadium? Was it a one-game aberration as Ravens coach Brian Billick hopes? We'll find out beginning with this game against AFC North division rival Cleveland Browns. It's likely that the Ravens are now a marked team who will draw increased scrutiny by officials, who are throwing flags in record numbers through the first five weeks of the NFL schedule. Baltimore (1-3) is talented enough to defeat the Browns (2-2), but first will have to make sure it has conquered itself.
2. Generate turnovers.
The 46 defense has yet to re-establish the Ravens as an overwhelming defensive force. Yes, the Ravens are ranked second defensively in the NFL and, yes, the offense has contributed heavily to Baltimore ranking 31st in turnover margin. However, the defense has only produced two interceptions and one fumble recovery. Where are the big plays? With safety Will Demps playing so close to the line of scrimmage, he's actively involved. However, he's not the best tackler in the secondary and got run over last week by Kevin Jones. Ed Reed, the Pro Bowl safety, is dropping deep to defend the pass. Quarterbacks are smart to avoid Reed, who intercepted nine passes a year ago. He has one pass deflection and no picks. The Ravens have only six sacks, an average of 1.5 per contest. Rex Ryan's father, Buddy Ryan, ran this defense two decades ago with the Chicago Bears. The major difference: The elder Ryan had Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and William "The Refrigerator" Perry. The Ravens have Maake Kemoeatu, Kelly Gregg, Suggs and Jarret Johnson. It's not even close.
3. Make better decisions.
Quarterback Anthony Wright has about two more games to try to prove he should keep the job when Kyle Boller's toe is healthy. So far, he hasn't done nearly enough to be the starter for the remainder of the season. He keeps forcing the football into traffic and has six interceptions on 129 throws, an interception percentage of 4.7 percent that ranks fourth-worst in the NFL. He has to be more careful.
4. Break a return.
Return specialist B.J. Sams had two touchdowns returns last season, but hasn't been nearly as explosive this year. He's averaging 10.5 yards per punt return, but is averaging only 21.7 yards per kickoff return. His longest returns are 28 (punt) and 31 yards (kickoff).
5. Respect Trent Dilfer's penchant for the deep ball.
The former Ravens starter is now a legitimate long-ball threat. Dilfer has six touchdowns passes, five are 25 yards or longer. He has a 91.5 passer rating and is completing 66.7 percent of his passes. This isn't the same Dilfer who played not to lose during the Super Bowl year.
In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
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