When you think of the Baltimore Ravens, you instantly think of Ray Lewis. He is the face of this franchise with a larger than life atmosphere when he enters a room. Finding the emotional leader of the team Ray Lewis gone is tough. It’s not something that can be replaced. Nobody on this roster can and will replace him and that goes for any future representative of the Ravens.
Lewis, unlike many players who have played for their respective teams in this era of sports, has a unique situation to his legacy because he was part of a team that was established in the in 1996, the same year he was drafted by the Ravens. Lewis was there since day one. 17 years later, he decides to hang up the cleats. When you think about the Ravens, you think about physical punishment awaiting their opponents whether they win, lose or draw. NFL teams are like a person in some ways. Every team has an identity and when they change who they are, it doesn’t feel right to them at times.
With the Lewis era ending, should the Ravens transition themselves into the Joe Flacco era, where the offense will now be the focal point of this team? No, they shouldn’t. That is definitely not a knock on Flacco. He did his job. All he needs to do is improve on that. But the Ravens only know one way to succeed. And that’s being the best football team they can be in all areas of the field.
Head Coach John Harbaugh has preached team unity ever since he stepped foot into the building. Even though the Ravens were established before he came, he has tried to make every moment a stepping stone for the next and building upon the physical nature in which they have dominated the league with their two championships in the last 17 years.
Defense has always come first with this team. For the most part, it has been to the Raven’s benefit. Most would argue that the Ravens have been defense first because they had no choice with their quarterback position in the past and they would be right.
The one thing the Ravens don’t want to do is put themselves in a position where they are only driven by quarterback play. All that says is when you rely on your quarterback to win games for you every single game. It says that your team is one injury away from having their championship window shut.
Win with what has got you there. Even though Flacco was the main reason for the championship run, it is prudent to go in the direction that has made this team elite regardless of the situation. It all starts on defence and Flacco finishes the job.