There is no question that the window for the Ravens to win another Super Bowl is closing. The D is getting older and there are still questions on O. The Ravens will be different but there is serious doubt that they will be better or worse than in 08.
The D will be a little younger. The Ravens jettisoned their expensive and injury prone pro bowl CB Chris McAlister and brought in FA Domonique Foxworth. He had better work out because they are spending 27 million for the next 4 years with over 16 mil guaranteed. The other corner will be ex Raider Fabian Washington. Samari Rolle who was a starter came back on a backup contract and will be the key replacement. FS Ed Reed is older than dirt but played at a high level last year. He had better be just as good this season. The SS spot is up in the air. The Ravens have their fingers, toes, arms and legs crossed that Dawan Landry can come back after missing all but 2 games from a neck injury last year. There isn’t much behind him so he had better get well soon.
The linebacking will get new look as well. Tavares Gooden replaces Bart Scott inside next to Ray Lewis. He needs to be more physical than he has shown up to now. Lewis is older than rock but got it done last year. He is on the down side of a Hall of Fame career. Jarret Johnson is unknown but has started for 2 years and is getting better with every game. Terrell Suggs wanted to be paid like a DE but got top OB money—63 mil over 6 years. The Ravens hope he plays with as much abandon as he did in his contract year.
On offense, TE Todd Heap will get a heap of passes thrown his way. The WR situation went from critical to life support when their only consistent receiver Derrick Mason announced his retirement. If he doesn’t come back, they are going to have to find another starting quality WR. Mark Clayton starts on the other side but has caught over 50 passes only once in the last 4 years.
Joe Flacco has developed nicely. He will yield to Troy Smith for more wild cat type O than they used last year. The RB will be by committee. Last year starter Willis McGahee and the versatile Ray Rice will split carries. Rice may start over McGahee who is coming back from injury again.
The O line is physical and nasty. All pro FA Matt Birk takes over at C and gives the team real leadership. The left side is solid with LT Jared Gaither and LG Ben Grubbs. Both are young and talented. They will only get better. The right side is a question mark. Rookie Michael Oher and vet Adam Terry will battle for the RT spot. Oher should win. They hope that RG Marshal Yanda has recovered from his knee injury. If not, that will be a trouble spot for the Ravens.
Overall—The Ravens have enough to be a playoff team but unless they get all the right answers from those coming back from injury and find a solution to the WR spot, they will be second again looking over their shoulder at the Bengals coming on hard from behind.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .