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Handing out final grades for the Ravens

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The Ravens missed the playoffs for the first time in six years and there is plenty of blame to go around.

Quarterbacks: Joe Flacco had to deal with the losses of Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, poor pass protection, no running game and a late-season injury. That said, he threw the most interceptions in a single season in franchise history and his inconsistency and inaccuracy cost the Ravens in a lot of close games. Grade: D

Running backs: Ray Rice was absolutely awful. He looked three steps slower and often fell down with little or no contact. Maybe the hip injury plagued him all year, or all of those carries since college finally got to him. Bernard Pierce also really struggled and didn't look like the stud rookie from 2012. To be fair, the offensive line was awful. Grade: F

Wide receivers: Torrey Smith had a solid season but faded down the stretch. Marlon Brown was inconsistent, but showed a lot of promise for the future. Jacoby Jones also played well at times but struggled in the final two games. It was good for the Ravens to get Dennis Pitta back on the field, and hopefully they can lock him up long-term. Grade: C

Offensive line: Matt Birk may be the greatest center in NFL history after watching how the Ravens line fell apart without him. Kelechi Osemele's back injury was a big hit. Eugene Monroe was a solid pickup, but isn't great as a run-blocker. Marshal Yanda had arguably his worst year as a pro. This unit was record-setting bad in the run game and not much better in pass protection. It's hard to keep track of the number of times the Ravens failed to convert on the goaline or in short-yardage situations. It was the downfall of the team. Grade: F

Defensive line: Haloti Ngata had a somewhat disappointing season but played better toward the end. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil were great in the first half of the season but really disappeared when the Ravens needed them the most. Suggs, in particular, had a puzzling second half. His sacks dropped off greatly and he played really undisciplined, making rookie mistakes. Arthur Jones was the team's most consistent lineman. Chris Canty was a disappointment. Grade: C+

Linebackers: Daryl Smith proved to be the Ravens best pickup in the offseason. Without him, the defense would have been in big trouble. The rest of this group really struggled. Josh Bynes is hardly an NFL player and Arthur Brown did not develop as expected. Jameel McClain's return helped, but he is only league average at best. Grade: C-

Secondary: Jimmy Smith finally took a big step forward and became one of the top cornerbacks in the AFC. Corey Graham recovered from a slow start to play very well in the second half of the season. Lardarius Webb was inconsistent. It will be interesting to see if he ever gets back to a Pro Bowl level. Michael Huff was a short-lived disaster, forcing Matt Elam to play out of position. He struggled in pass coverage but was solid against the run. Grade: C+

Special teams: Justin Tucker had a phenomenal season and was arguably the team's best player. Sam Koch struggled at times and really cost the Ravens in a couple of games. Jones really gave a big boost to the return unit when he came back from his knee injury and helped win the team a couple of games. Grade: B+

Coaches: John Harbaugh once again brought in a buddy, this time Juan Castillo, and it caused major problems on the offensive side of the ball. Jim Caldwell's play-calling was really too vanilla, and Dean Pees wasn't all that imaginative with his schemes. Harbaugh's questionable challenges, game-decisions, clock management and use of timeouts cost the Ravens at least a couple of games. He may be a good coach during the week, but he struggles on gameday. Grade: D-

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