Just like that, the Ravens have entered offseason mode.
It all flips so quickly, huh?
It's kind of strange to think about, given that just two days ago, the Ravens were completely focused on another win and continuing their run to the Super Bowl, but the 2010 season is now over, and the focus suddenly shifts to upgrading the roster and seeing where the team needs to improve.
I'm heading back to The Castle in a little bit for the yearly locker room cleanout day, where players pack up their things, pass around footballs and helmets for their teammates to sign, and say their goodbyes to the guys that they've spent nearly every day of the last six months with.
My guess is this day will feel a little different than it has in years past for two reasons: first because of the situation surrounding the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement and the possibility of a lockout next year, and also because the players realize that this team could look a lot different in 2011 (assuming there is football) than it did on Saturday.
The Ravens' brass will have a lot of personnel decisions to make this offseason. Where do they need to get better? Which of the many free agents are worth trying to bring back? Where should they look with their top draft picks?
By the way, we now know the Ravens will have the 26th selection in the first round of April's draft. Start mapping out your mock drafts now.
We'll have a number of offseason-themed questions for John Harbaugh when we meet with him later on today, so I should have plenty of updates to pass along on that front.
Before I head out to Owings Mills, however, I wanted to get everyone's final impressions of the 2010 campaign.
The Ravens were an incredibly polarizing team this year, which made for a fun season of debates and lively discussions.
Some fans look at the Ravens' impressive 12-4 regular season record and their fourth postseason win in three years and see a successful season. That group might make the claim that 31 teams will come up short of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, and the Ravens made it further than the vast majority of those teams, including the defending Super Bowl champions and the Colts.
Others are of the mind that while the Ravens came within a game of the "final four", the season is a disappointment. The frustratingly close wins over statistically inferior teams, the blown second half leads, the inconsistent offense all might play a part in that thinking. This is the third straight season that the Ravens made the playoffs and come up short of a spot in the Super Bowl, which is, after all, the ultimate goal.
We've got plenty more about this season that's left to discuss, and lots to look forward to this offseason as well, but before we do all that, I've got my traditional Monday morning question for everyone.
What do you make of the Ravens' 2010 season?
No one is happy the postseason run is over, but do you find yourself satisfied with how things played out? Or given the high expectations surrounding this squad all year, are you disappointed (or frustrated, or what have you) that the Ravens failed to take the next step?
What's your take?