Baltimore Ravens – A Bright Season Ahead

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Edgar Allen Poe wrote “Quoth the Raven, nevermore.” Well, the Ravens (whose name was actually influenced by Poe who lived in Baltimore) are saying “never mind” to anyone who thinks they are going to fall off at all, even though some of their key players are getting a little “long in the tooth”. Truly, they have managed to improve their defense (if that’s even possible) in the off-season, and really increased the talent level in the offense. Their 9-7 record from 2009 was good, but it will be an even brighter season in 2010.

Baltimore starts with D: Aging Ray Lewis remains the unquestionable leader of this team, and the Ravens drafted a couple of big-name, big-talent defensive players for him to mentor. Sergio Kindle, a linebacker from Texas, was selected in the first round, and will play behind Lewis. He should learn everything it takes to be a Pro Bowl player from him. The second pick made by the Ravens was “Mount Cody”, also known as Terrence Cody, the nose tackle from the University of Alabama. All the SEC teams are glad to see Cody gone, as his 360-pound frame clogged up the middle against the run on every down. At Alabama, he was even known to line up at fullback in first-and-goal situations inside the five. As a defender, how would you like to see THAT lead-blocking for the ball carrier?

Wow! Is that OUR offense?: The Ravens made the strongest offensive off-season moves in the free agent market of any other team in the league. They picked up Anquan Boldin from Arizona and re-signed Derrick Mason. Most surprising has been the early performance of Donte’ Stallworth. After being suspended for the entire 2009 season (after he unfortunately killed someone while driving a motor vehicle under the influence), he has worked hard in voluntary off-season workouts in Baltimore. Coach Harbaugh said he looked good in minicamp, that he was “quick, explosive, and has good hands”. He could easily be the marquee receiver for this team in 2010.

Worst off-season move: Why in the world did the Ravens hire Jim Zorn as the quarterbacks coach? So he played quarterback in the NFL years ago. Clearly, in the disaster that was his tenure at Washington, he has not proven he knows how to do anything with a quarterback. Starting QB Joe Flacco has looked amazing in his brief professional career. Let’s hope Zorn doesn’t mess it up.

Moving to the blind side – literally: Michael Oher, about whom the movie The Blind Side was based, has moved to left tackle. He has taken Jared Gaither’s place, whom the Ravens are trying to trade. Playing on the left side, Oher will be tasked with protecting Joe Flacco’s blind side in passing situations. Do we think Sandra Bullock needs to go to Ravens camp and tell Michael how to do that.

Baltimore went 9-7 last year. They play in the AFC North, which contains Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, so 9-7 will win the conference again. They’ll do better than that, as they will likely be 6-1 going into the bye in week 8. Face it; with this defense, if the offense can score 17 points, chalk up a W.

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