The Ravens are going to be fun this year, they had all the distractions around Ray Rice, among other players getting arrested, they had all the question marks about Joe Flacco being worth the money, plus they added Steve Smith, who is a personal favorite, but lets just say if he punched out a teammate, it wouldn’t be the first time. The Ravens might have been better off had Ray Rice taken a shot at Steve Smith, come to think of it. With all that, the Ravens still made the playoffs at 10-6, beating arch-rival Pittsburgh in the rubber match before falling, yet again to New England with no deflated balls, so no excuse.
This year Joe Flacco has lost another offensive coordinator to the head coaching ranks, as Gary Kubiack went to Denver, but gets Marc Trestman as his replacement, and I’m not sure Trestman is going to be going anywhere anytime soon. Flacco threw for almost 4000 yards, but had 12 INTs to go with his 27 TDs, he’s got to improve that ratio in a run-happy offense. Justin Forsett took advantage of the opportunity, and gained over 1200 yards and got 8 TDs, he got a good contract, and with Benard Pierce gone, he should be the workhorse back.
Steve Smith proved Ex-Panthers GM Marty Hundley absolutely correct in saying he had nothing left, but the Ravens kept him on despite him only getting 79 catches and 1065 yards and 6 TDs. Owen Daniels is also gone- so the Ravens pretty much had to find some WR talent, and having Breshad Perriman fall to them was a steal. he’s going to step in day 1, and play day 1 unless he ties his shoelaces together and blows out a knee. The Ravens have a TON of camp bodies, so who knows who is going to shine in Pre-season and get some playing time.
The Offensive line is a WALL. Flacco went down only 19 times last year- and even with some holding the ball too long issues, that’s an incredible number. Everyone is back, so expect this trend to continue- even though individually, some need to preform better *Eugene Monroe cough*
Ngata is gone in a contract squabble, and I don’t blame the Ravens it comes to a point where you need harmony, I don’t see a huge dropoff here, Timmy Jernigan played well as a fill-in, and with the talent around him, just has to grow into the role. Chris Canty was resigned, and is still a force and on the inside, Brandon Williams is a stinking BEAST.
The Linebackers are as solid as they come, Terrell Suggs is older than dirt, but ask the 12 QBs he slammed on the ground if he is too old for the NFL, Courtney Upshaw is still slated to be the starter, but Elvis Dumervil is still there as well as at least a designated pass rusher. On the inside is CJ Mosley and his Pro-Bowl self, and he’s allowed to do what he wants since Dayrl Smith can clean up the mess if Mosley guesses wrong. I love this grouping.
The last line of defense starts off great with Jimmy Smith as good a corner as they come, but went down last year, and Lardarius Webb also had injury problems. The Ravens have a bunch of camp bodies to fill in as possible bodies to try and get some reserves.
Father back, Will Hill is steady, and the team has been trying to replace him for years, but with super-bust Matt Elam, that’s easier said than done. Kendrick Lewis was brought in from Houston to take the other spot, but neither of these guys is going to remind anyone of Eric Ed Reed.
The Return game stinks. Like a lot of teams, everyone is going to get a chance here with Jacoby Jones gone. The Kickers themselves are well above Par. Sam Koch had a career year, and now is pushing for a new contract, and K Justin Tucker is also looking to not only break records, but get another high dollar contract.
The Ravens play in the AFC North- and went 3-3 last year, and I’ll give them the repeat. They get the AFC West, with the hardest game coming first- at Denver. I’ll give them the win at home with KC, and they also have Seattle at home, So I could see a win there as well. They drew the Dolphins at Miami and the Jags at home- I’ll give them 2 wins there.
I’ll go 11-5 here. I do like the Ravens chances, and could even go 13-3 if they beat the Broncos on the opener. That December is BRUTAL though. Home for Seattle/KC/Pitt then off to Cincy. Ouch.
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