HTower wrote:michaeljohn wrote:Do the raven have what it takes to repeat?
I don't think they have a chance, so many players took free agent contracts and Flacco got a huge payout.
You must not pay too much attention to the Ravens then. They've actually upgraded in many positions. Like safety, Ed Reed ISN'T the old Ed Reed anymore...he'll still hurt ya' if you get careless down the middle of the field, but...that's about it. Doesn't have the same speed to blitz him, doesn't cover that well anymore, blew more than a few "overtop" last year and doesn't tackle well(since the shoulder injury). In fact, there was a joke here the last few years that "Ed Reed couldn't hit the ground hard if he fell down." I respect what he did, but...he's past his prime and, frankly, isn't worth what the Texans gave him. If this kid Elam plays out like everyone thinks...BIG upgrade. I think Huff coming in after Pollard left is about a push. IF(and a big if) Webb can stay healthy and Smith plays like he did "down the stretch"...the defensive backfield should be MUCH improved over last year. Ellerbe leaving was the biggest blow to the D and as much as Ray was loved, he was past his prime too. Still ILB is the biggest for me, hopefully Arthur Brown will be a plus, but you never know with rookies? Kruger leaving was, I thought a big deal...until Dumervil fell into the Ravens laps, thanks to Denvers screw up. So, that's an upgrade from Kruger, who had a career season...and only had 1.5 sacks until Suggs came back and most of those were when Suggs was lined up next to him/behind him...read, Suggs got the attention. Picked up Canty at DT, nice addition. And the rookie NT Brandon Williams looks promising, but again...rookie Overall I think the "D" will be better than last year.
Offense, two main Boldin leaving leaves a bit of a hole. He's a hybrid, bigger/stronger than your average receiver, smaller/faster than your average tight end. I think they'll slot Pitta a lot. He can make all the catches Boldin can, just won't be able to get the same YAC's. And center is the other With Matt Birk retiring that leaves Flacco a "new" center to get a feel for, could be issues there? As far as Vonte Leach goes, he was overpaid for his usage. Since the Ravens now are a pass oriented team and as likely to throw on first and/or second down as they are to run, he wasn't worth the $3 mil price tag. He'll be a GREAT fit for a ground-n-pound team that uses the run to set up the occasional pass.
If all goes well, and they stay healthy...they SHOULD be in the Playoff hunt. Now, do I think they'll repeat? No, but...that's just playin' the percentages. Only a handful(or so) of teams have done it. I think they had their best chance the last two years for that...but, they beat themselves in '11-'12. I think they woulda' matched up well with the Giants.
...is that a breadstick or are you just happy to see me?