Loss of a dozen starters has really hurt the Ravens

October 22, 2013 | Drew Forrester

Everywhere I went on Monday, the question was basically the same:  “What’s wrong with the Ravens?”

A few folks who asked that of me quickly followed up with, “You shouldn’t be this bad a year after winning the Super Bowl.”

Well, what’s wrong with the Ravens is, in fact, a by-product of winning the Super Bowl in New Orleans last February.

The 2013 edition of John Harbaugh’s team isn’t the same one that won the title in 2012.  Simple, right?  Well, yes, it sort of IS that simple, actually, even though people are always trying to find the “hidden secret” or “untold story” of the team.

Try this simple exercise for a second.  You’re going to have to put your pre-conceived negative opinions of John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice on the side for a moment, because this little game won’t work if you can’t do that.


I want you to rewind your brain all the way back to last January.  The Ravens have just finished 10-6, won the AFC North, and get to take on the Colts in the first round of the playoffs.  If they win there, their “prize” is a trip to Denver to take on a Peyton Manning team that rocked you in Baltimore a month earlier.  And, if you’re somehow fortunate enough to get past the Broncos, the last remaining hurdle between you and the Super Bowl is a visit to Tom Brady’s house in Foxboro.

Still with me?

OK — the week before the Colts game, a crippling virus races through the Ravens locker room and these ten players are deemed OUT for the remainder of the playoffs:  Anquan Boldin, Matt Birk, Dannell Ellerbe, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Paul Kruger, Brendon Ayanbedejo, Bernard Pollard, Cary Williams and Dennis Pitta.  Add Bryant McKinnie to the mix after Monday’s trade and that makes eleven key players gone. (Keep in mind, as much as people like to beat up McKinnie, the Ravens are 0-2 since they jettisoned him to the bench in favor of Eugene Monroe.)

Could the Ravens have won four straight games in January and February without those eleven players a year ago?


Of course not.  They wouldn’t have moved past Indianapolis in the first round of the playoffs given those ten starters missing the game due to the mythical “virus” I described above.

Well — of those eleven players I listed, nine of them were STARTERS from a year ago who haven’t played a single down for the Ravens this season.  McKinnie played 5 of 7 games before they sent him packing on Monday afternoon.

Of the players listed above, only Dennis Pitta remains on the roster, and he’s injured and was unavailable through seven games of 2013.

If you’re looking for the biggest reason why the Ravens are 3-4 at the bye, you just saw ten of them above.  There are, generally speaking, 22 “starters” in any game.  Ayanbedejo wasn’t technically a starter, but he WAS a special teams ace, so I deem him to be an important cog in the machine.  So, ten starters – out of 22 – are gone.  That’s not quite 50%, but it’s a huge chunk of quality missing that needed to be replaced.

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. unitastoberry Says:

    Great points. Like I said yesterday too many new faces who are not good enough. As far as McKinney without him at LT we don’t win the Superbowl and don’t forget the year before when he took no prisoners all season to be left in the dust by a dropped pass. The man reminds me of Bubba Smith before the knee injury because neither took the game seriously to the point where they could have been HOF material, but when they did no one could beat them at their respective positions.

  2. The Armchair QB Says:

    We wanted to believe that all the changes weren’t, “rebuilding”, but, in fact, they were! The team needs playmakers at some of the skill positions on offense, i.e., WR and TE and the “O” line desperately needs a…center! There’s enough young talent on the “D” to form a solid nucleus, but the “O” needs an infusion to become more competitive. In the interim, the offense needs to set up the run with the pass, not vice versa. The were widely criticized for throwing the ball so often against Denver when they really had to. But,, they did manage to score 27 points, which would have been enough to win ALL of their other games…….

  3. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    Yesterday I said I didn’t have an answer for fixing what’s wrong with the Ravens, but thanks Drew for reminding us of all the players we lost from the Super Bowl Winning Team !!!

  4. justafan Says:

    So0me “experts” predicted that the Ravens might even be better this year than last despite losing half of their starting players. This is what is known as whistling past the grave yard.

  5. Jason Manelli Says:

    Bisciotti doesn’t say much about the team, but when he sat there next to Oz and Harbs with the Lombardi, he prepped the fans and the media to expect that we would not be the same team next season, that we would not repeat the mistakes that caused the 2000 team to need 12 years to get the trophy back. I’m a season ticket holder and I’m willing to be patent this season. As Drew pointed out this AM, if you can’t get away with a rebuilding 8-8 after winning the Superbowl, when can you?

  6. Dan Says:

    My question is did this have to happen, or did somebody distribute the money poorly ? Did we get rid of key players unnecessarily ( like we did after 2000 ) or could this have been handled better ?

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