In one corner of the Ravens' locker room, Joe Flacco was being asked to make sense of the recent past.
In another, Derrick Mason was just trying to make sense, and it wasn't going well.
On the day after the day after, the Ravens came back to The Castle on Monday morning to clean out their lockers before embarking on what will be - for Mason and many of his teammates - a very uncertain offseason. So, forgive them if they aren't quite sure what to think of what happened this season or what might happen before the next one.
"It's definitely abrupt," cornerback Domonique Foxworth said. "We weren't expecting to be answering these questions right now."
We'll find out soon enough whether Mason will retire (he's leaning in that direction ... or maybe not) or the Ravens will be able to find a big-time playmaker to augment the receiving corps (Mark Clayton thinks that would be nice). There also will be plenty of time to wonder about Ed Reed and how the NFL labor situation might affect free agency.
In the meantime, the players have nothing but time to reflect on a 2009 season that probably lasted longer than any of them had a right to expect but still ended too soon and too painfully to be viewed dispassionately just two days after their 20-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Flacco did his best when he was asked whether he could be objective enough to weigh whether this year's team should be viewed as an overachiever or an underachiever after going 10-8 and losing in the second round of the playoffs.
"I don't know," he said. "It's a little fresh, but I think you look at it both ways. I think when you're trying to be nice to yourself, you say how good of a season we had, and when you're being realistic, I think we should have done better and we could have done better.
"That's the way we feel. I think that's the way you've got to feel in order to be a good team, and that's why it doesn't feel good right now."
Clayton, whose free-agent status will be determined by the labor situation, was a little more philosophical when pressed to conclude whether the Ravens went long or came up short of expectations this year.
"I think we did what we were destined to do," he said. "Everybody laid their hearts out on the field. Everybody gave everything they had. I think we did what we were supposed to do this year. We fought as hard as we could fight, but, unfortunately, we're not going to be able to continue the journey to the Super Bowl."
Maybe that's the best way to look at it, since it's hard to answer the expectation questions without a specific frame of reference.
Obviously, if you look at how far the Ravens went last season - all the way to the AFC title game with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback - then it's hard to view a second-round playoff finish as a step forward. And, if you look at the consistent success of the franchise over the past two seasons, and throw in everything the Ravens overcame during the past five months, it's hard not to put a positive face on Year 2 of the John Harbaugh era.
What happens in Year 3, however, is anybody's guess.
There is no way of projecting what the receiver situation will look like and the shaky secondary will become an even bigger issue if Reed decides to hang it up. The next big thing, of course, is the draft in April, which will loom even larger if the continuing labor conflict inhibits Ozzie Newsome's ability to sign free agents.
From this distance, it doesn't appear as if the Ravens can take the next competitive step by getting defensive backs Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington healthy and hoping to get real receiver help late in the first round of the draft.
In other words, there are way more questions than answers as the Ravens head home for some well-deserved rest, relaxation and - for some - injury rehabilitation.
What else is new?
Listen to Peter Schmuck when he hosts "Sportsline" on WBAL (1090 AM), and check out "The Schmuck Stops Here" at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.