Since the Baltimore Ravens drafted Ray Lewis in the 1993 NFL Draft; out of Miami University, Baltimore has always been known as a defensive team. Now, with offensive players like Joe Flacco and Ray Rice on the team, the Ravens are starting to get known around the league as an offensive team.
Don’t believe me.. Ray Lewis said he is fine with the offense being the strong side of the ball in a ESPN story I saw. It’s not really hard to see that with the best players on the Ravens defense are either getting old or just aren’t as good as players from the past defenses they have had. With Lewis who has been playing in the league up there in how long Favre played in the league (without the back and forth of wanting to retire or not) and Ed Reed not knowing if he wants to play anymore, is meaning these two are passing their primes. The 17-year vet Lewis has 95 tackles last year. Reed missed a few games last year cause of a neck injury, but was still able to pick the ball off three times.
Yes I know they have two defensive studs in there front seven with Terrell Suggs who won defensive player of the year last season and Haloti Ngata who was ranked as the NFL’s best defensive lineman in this years NFL top 100. Suggs sacked the qb 14 times and forced seven fumbles to gain the MVP award on defense. He will most likely miss at least half of this year because of an injury he received when he was playing basketball. But looking past these two, Lewis, and Reed the Ravens don’t have too much with their defense.
They have some pretty decent corners on the outside with Jimmy Smith their first round pick last year out of Colorado, and Lardarius Webb. Webb this year got a new contract that puts him as one of the highest paid corners (that’s why Darrel Revis was holding out in the beginning of Jets mini camp). They also lost their outside linebacker Jarrett Johnson to the chargers this year in free agency. Johnson played opposite of Suggs, and was one of their best players against the run.
Don’t get me wrong now, I do believe the Ravens will be a top 10 defense next year. To believe that their offense can be better than their defense would have been crazy talk a couple of years ago. The 2000 super bowl champion Ravens would have laughed at you if you said offense in front of them. That championship run with one of the best defenses of all time was led by qb Trent Dilfer, I think that team would have loved to have Joe Flacco on their team though (just a hunch). Flacco was the 18th pick in the 2008 draft out of Delaware University. The six-foot six-inch quarterback has led the Ravens to the playoffs every year since he’s been drafted. Behind Flacco in the backfield is the player that was drafted one round later in Ray Rice.
Ray Rice is a top three running back in the game, that I also think is one of the best offensive players in the league, because of his ability to run and receive. Rice was drafted out of Rutgers, where he set every rushing record imaginable. Last year Rice rushed for over 1350 yards, and had over 700 yards receiving while getting in the end zone 15 times. I believe Rice can be a MVP candidate this year if he can put up stats like that again.
Ravens are defiantly a team that can make it to a super bowl, especially since they were a missed field goal attempt last year from a super bowl. Even after I wrote this I still can’t believe I would have ever thought that the Ravens offense could be better than their D a couple of years ago. Best of luck to Baltimore this year on both sides of the ball.
Written By Navid Khoi
Follow Navid on Twitter: @NavidKhoiReal1