(Credit: Fifth Down)
After winning the Super Bowl in 2012, the Baltimore Ravens underwent quite the roster overhaul shortly thereafter. Team icon Ray Lewis retired, and longtime secondary star Ed Reed jetted to Houston via free agency. They also lost defensive lineman Paul Kruger to Cleveland and safety Bernard Pollard to Tennessee. If that wasn’t enough, linebacker Danell Ellerbe and cornerback Cary Williams also left for greener pastures. Early on, it appeared that the Ravens may be in for a long season losing so many intricate pieces on defense.
Fast forward to this summer. Quarterback Joe Flacco says the Ravens defense looks dominant, and I am not surprised for a few reasons. First, GM Ozzie Newsome is one of the best in the league. The Ravens are a top notch organization with excellent coaching. Secondly, their personnel on defense is actually pretty good. They signed Elvis Dumervil to replace Kruger, and Michael Huff to replace Ed Reed. Obviously Huff is no Reed, but he’s definitely serviceable. Linebacker Courtney Upshaw is coming into his second season, and they drafted highly touted middle linebacker Arthur Brown as the heir apparent to Lewis. They also picked up cornerback Corey Graham and drafted talented safety Matt Elam to help fill the voids left by departures. Then, of course, they still have T-Sizzle, Terrell Suggs.
Just like their AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens employ the next man up philosophy as good as any team in the league. We can only sit back and wait for the regular season to see if the Ravens defense actually does dominate, and they’re going to have to if they plan on defending their Super Bowl title successfully.