Remember back about six weeks ago when everyone was killing the Baltimore Ravens? No one could believe how the Super Bowl champions were just letting players walk out the door left and right. Ray Lewis‘ retirement seemed like a thing in the distant past, after Baltimore let a slew of talent leave town. Some deemed it a good old fashioned ‘fire sale,’ and while I wouldn’t go that far, it was still quite the sale.
At the time, I just chalked it up to one of things that happens in pro sports. The 2012 Ravens were very much a team where everything just kind of came together for one last run. They weren’t a group of guys who had a few years left together, it was their last chance at the Lombardi trophy, and they came through in a big way. I considered the resulting casualties, as just part of what happens when a group of veterans win the SB.
Ultimately though, the Ravens found a way to sign some talented free agents to replace their departed Pro Bowlers, and then followed it up with a very solid draft class. They had to replenish their legendary defense, and they did so with players like Elvis Dumervil, Matt Elam and Arthur Brown. All in all, the defense is now much younger, and in a good place heading forward.
Ironically, it’s now the Baltimore offense that seems like the backbone of the team. Led by the recently re-upped Joe Flacco, the Ravens’ offense will basically return to form in 2013, minus Anquan Boldin.
The Ravens had priorities this offseason. Number one was clearly to give Flacco a new deal, and after that, the team was forced to part ways with veterans to clear cap space. At the same time, they had to get younger on defense, while staying competitive in the AFC North. With two big phases of the offseason already in the past, I think you have to say the Ravens have done an excellent job so far, given their situation.
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