I feel like this title is a pretty good reflection of what has happened during the NFL free agency. The Baltimore Ravens appeared to be hemorrhaging players-while, other than Joe Flacco and the signing of Elvis Dumervil. I was not going to comment on this unintended fire sale-but then Arthur Jones had to go open his mouth.
Jones recently said the Ravens are becoming a dream team.
Oh no, you did not say that.
The last time a man said that about his team they crashed and burned. Vince Young said, “dream team” and the title haunted the devastated Eagles the entire season.
Will it haunt the Ravens in 2013?
First, let’s look at who the Ravens lost. There have been 8 key players who have left the team, and 6 of those were defensive players. Ray Lewis, the heart and soul of the team, retired after the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Matt Birk also retired. Ed Reed went to the Houston Texans. Paul Kruger signed with the Browns. Dannell Ellerbe moved on to the Miami Dolphins. Anquan Boldin shocked the NFL by signing a deal with the 49ers.Lastly, Bernand Pollard agreed to a one-year deal with the Titans.
This all leaves the Ravens needing a slot receiver, a left tackle, as safety, a pass rusher and at least one inside linebacker.
How damaging will this be to the defending Super Bowl champions in 2013?
The Ravens are no longer a defensive-minded team. They proved to be very strong offensively. They have retained Joe Flacco. They also have maintained some key players around their quarterback. Torrey Smith, Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta, and Ray Rice are still Ravens. The loss to Boldin will hurt them. He was a big physical player capable of making clutch plays. However, over all, their offense will still be impressive.
The Ravens defense is where the damage will show. Haloti Ngata will still make some big players for the defense. He is often shifted across blocking schemes, which has confused other team’s offenses. The team will also be welcoming back Terrel Suggs and Lardius Webb. There have been some low-key signings but the Ravens are still coming up short on defensive talent.
The loss of Ray Lewis’s leadership can also not be underestimated. Teams’ need captains; they need leadership, and that was Ray Lewis.
In closing, the loss of key players on the Ravens will show damage in the defense. How much will depend on the health of Ngata, Suggs and Webb. It will also depend on what the Ravens pick up in the draft.
My advice to Ravens fans is to sit tight. There has been a lot of loss; but this is nothing new. Ozzie Newsome loves to rebuild his teams; and he has already produced Super Bowl champions twice