As we all know, the Baltimore Ravens have made a lot of changes after winning the Super Bowl this past season. With Joe Flacco finishing out his contract year by becoming the Super Bowl MVP, Steve Bisciotti was forced to open up his check book and give Joe the payday he deserved. After Flacco was signed, our cap room was next to nothing, meaning that some players had to be released. With the retirement of Ray Lewis, it was clear that it was time for a change in Baltimore. The Ravens lost two linebackers, Ellerbe and Kruger, to free agency, both of which were key parts in the Ravens success. Our first big move was to trade wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the Super Bowl runner ups, the San Francisco 49ers. They continued to make some changes in releasing Bernard Pollard and deciding not to resign Ed Reed and Cary Williams. Our last big cut came after the draft a few weeks ago by letting go Vonta Leach.
Many players were lost this offseason, but as we’ve said in the past, “Trust in Ozzie.” Ozzie Newsome has been with the Ravens since they became a team in 1996. He has been responsible for drafting Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden, and future members Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, and of course Ray Lewis. In this years draft, we had many positions to fill on the defense. Before draft day, the Ravens added some experience in adding Chris Canty, Michael Huff, and Elvis Dumervil. Ozzie’s focus this year was to add some talent that brought along leadership and high character attitudes. By adding players like Matt Elam from the University of Florida, Arthur Brown from Kansas State, and Brandon Williams from Missouri Southern State, he did just that. With many of our defense holes filled, I feel that not only did we keep our team competitive, but I believe that we have gotten better. By becoming a younger and more disciplined team, the Ravens have built a team that will compete for may more years to come.
To start the season this year, the Ravens will open up on the road against the Denver Broncos. Unlike previous years, the Super Bowl Champs this year will not start the season off at home due to scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles. Many people have a problem with this, however, I do not. Yes, it would be awesome to start off the season here in Baltimore with every one watching on national television. What you need to look at though, is that this will probably be our toughest game throughout the season. The Ravens tend to come out week one at top form and play at a championship level every year. If we can come out of this game with a win, we will prove that we are the best team in the NFL and we will get our toughest game out of the way. If we were to lose this game, it would not be the end of our season. It will be a great teaching point for our team and will show us what we need to improve on and give us an idea of what to look for in the playoffs. The Ravens could very likely play the Broncos again in the playoffs this coming year and possibly to go to the Super Bowl.
Another game to highlight on the season is our game on Thanksgiving at home against the Pittsburg Steelers. This game has the potential to be the best game of the year in the NFL.
I expect Baltimore to come out this year as a dominating offensive team, with a defense that shuts down most offenses. There is no doubt in my mind that the Ravens can and will win the division for a third year in a row. We possess the potential to make it back to the Super Bowl again this year, and the best part about it is everyone is going to write us off. We play better as the underdogs, and I would love to start the season under the radar even after being named champions.