Loss of a dozen starters has really hurt the Ravens

October 22, 2013 | Drew Forrester

Quick — name a newcomer in 2013 who has really kicked some major-league ass this season.

You said “Daryl Smith” right away, right?

And then you said nothing…and you’re still thinking about it, right?

That’s because no other newcomer has had a significant impact on the Ravens thus far in 2013.

I’ll rattle a few names off and give you a quick opinion on them.

Michael Huff — hasn’t really contributed anything thus far.

Elvis Dumervil — has helped, but not nearly as much as we all thought he probably would.

Brandon Stokley — nothing gained, yet…hardly plays, in fact.

Dallas Clark — he’s been OK, but certainly hasn’t made anyone forget about Dennis Pitta.

Matt Elam — looks the part, might be really good in a year or two.

Marcus Spears — no impact.

Chris Canty — minimal impact.

Marlon Brown — has made more of an impression than any newcomer except for Elam.

James Ihedigbo — was with the team last season, but didn’t start, so I included him in this list since he’s a regular at the safety position now.  He hasn’t been bad in ’13, but he’s not going to the Pro Bowl, either.

Gino Gradkowski — like Ihedigbo, he was with the club in ’12 but didn’t play…now, he’s a starter…and it hasn’t gone well.


You just can’t strip away eleven key players and expect to rebound gracefully eight months later and shoot right to the top of the football world again.

This isn’t to diminish, in any way, the poor play of the offensive line, the lack of a running game, the defensive front seven getting run over and the secondary not being all that great.  This doesn’t reduce the importance of coaching or game-planning, either.

But, the coaches are all trying to implement a winning strategy with a roster that features a huge amount of turnover in key areas of the field.

Just play the game I asked you to play above and scratch those twelve players from the Colts playoff game a year ago and tell me if you think the Ravens would have won.

You know they wouldn’t have.

And, despite the newcomers and draft picks showing up in August and, in a lot of cases, struggling to make an impact thus far, the Ravens are still “only” 3-4 and very much a playoff possibility over the last nine games of the season.

Oh, and take into account, please, the fact that Baltimore DID win the Super Bowl a season ago.  In other words, despite claims to the contrary, the much-discussed “hangover” might have very well seeped into that Ravens locker room because that’s just what happens once you’ve won the whole thing.

I wrote a piece at the beginning of the season that spelled a lot of this out for everyone.  I said, essentially, “Unless some things really go their way, this is a .500 team — or thereabouts.”

You just can’t take away twelve veteran players, all major contributors in their own way, and replace them en masse like the Ravens did — and expect to duplicate your success from the previous season.

Let the rebuilding continue in Cleveland in twelve days.

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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