With all of the questions rising about who will fill the shoes of Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, the Baltimore Ravens have silently addressed issues on the other side of the ball. During the offseason, the Ravens managed to lose nine starters to injury, free-agency and retirement. A majority of those starters were on defense.
Critics everywhere do not have much to say except Jimmy Smith got beaten a few times by Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones. The defense as a whole is a very impressive unit, despite the loss of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Cary Williams, Bernard Pollard, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe. The defense will definitely be better considering with all of the aforementioned players on the roster, the Ravens still ranked 17th in total defense in 2012; for a team that never places below 10th overall, that was horrible. This year Ozzie Newsome aided in the turnover by coming through big with all of his acquisitions. John Harbaugh and Ravens’ defensive coordinator Dean Pees deserve some of the credit as well. They have managed to work with the youth of this defense and allowed their strengths to shine.
Lardarius Webb coming back from the ACL injury really helps bolster the secondary and allows the line to pin those ears back and rush the passer. The defense has been completely off the radar this preseason because of so much talk about the offense. The Carolina Panthers did not score an offensive TD Thursday night. Yes, they need to shore up the run-stop just a bit, but I assure you this 2013 defense will be better than last year’s. They are younger, faster, and honestly easier to coach.
Teams expecting to fly into Baltimore and walk over a depleted defense are in for a rude awakening. They’ll need to seriously game plan this defense unless they like their QB in the dirt. Look for the Ravens to top charts again in sacks and points allowed this season. There may be new faces in starter slots, but these gentlemen are about to wreak havoc on the league.