The Ravens wouldn¿t be walking into Sports Authority Field at Mile High as the defending Super Bowl champs on Thursday night had they not been dominant when it mattered in the most important 20 yards of the field.
When the Ravens take the field tonight against the Denver Broncos to begin the 2013 NFL season, their offseason defensive makeover will be on full display. There will be no Ray Lewis and no Ed Reed, but the two new leaders of the defense will be old and familiar faces.
As an encore, Flacco, who racked up team accomplishments since his rookie season in 2008, wants to take his individual game to the next level this season. It won't be easy with increased expectations and the loss of two of his favorite receivers. But if anyone can shrug off all this pressure, it's Flacco.
A tight budget could make it extremely difficult to retain many unrestricted free agents, which includes offensive tackle Michael Oher, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, cornerback Corey Graham, middle linebacker Daryl Smith, defensive end Arthur Jones, strong safety James Ihedigbo and kick returner Jacoby Jones. And the Ravens may not be able to expand their payroll with high-dollar free agents from other teams
As the Ravens try to defend their Super Bowl title, they're betting heavily on the acumen of general manager Ozzie Newsome. Though some speculated faintly that Newsome might step away in the afterglow of a second championship, he has instead embraced the challenge of reconfiguring the roster one more time. It's a process that might inspire great anxiety in many NFL cities. But that's less the case in Baltimore where in Ozzie fans trust.
Yeah, we know. The game isn't in Baltimore. And whether you've moved on and are just excited for the season to kick off or you're still in a deep state of depression, there's only one thing to do: drink.
The Ravens' front office has earned plenty of praise for their decisions during the draft but it is also in the minutes after the final pick has been made, a period that assistant general manager Eric DeCosta equated to a "feeding frenzy," where the organization has historically done some of its best work.
Junior Kareem Montgomery had two interceptions and returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown as McDonogh built a 21-0 halftime lead on the way to a 28-14 victory in the Eagles season opener against Bishop O¿Connell (1-1).
Michael Huff can relate to the immediate expectations with which rookie safety Matt Elam is dealing. He was once a first-round draft pick who had to help replace a perennial Pro Bowl defensive back who had left town. So Huff has taken it upon himself to teach Elam everything he knows about being a full-time professional.
With as many as six new defensive starters from the team that won Super Bowl XLVII in February, it was probably inevitable that the Ravens would deal with some communication issues, especially this early in training camp. However, a few too many surfaced in the Ravens' preseason-opening 44-16 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week.
As he begins his sixth training camp as coach of the Ravens, John Harbaugh sees change everywhere around the Under Armour Performance Center. There are a couple of new members of his coaching staff, a revamped roster and a shiny new trophy at the team facility.
Months before they would lift the Lombardi Trophy into the confetti-filled air, the Ravens' top decision makers started to have regular discussions about the future of the organization and the potentially wide-scale changes it would face following the 2012 season.
Given that track record of success after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Harbaugh is maintaining his low-key approach and staying the course. When asked if he's consulting with other coaches that have won championships as far as how they attempted to defend their titles, Harbaugh indicated he'll continue to consult with his usual advisors.
As the replacement for former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ed Reed, who joined the Houston Texans on a three-year, $15 million contract, Huff doesn't have Reed's 61 interceptions as the NFL's active career leader. However, he is younger and faster.
A former NFL Defensive Player of the Year who's the NFL's all-time active leader with 61 interceptions, Reed signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Houston Texans following the Super Bowl. He's ranked 18th on the list.
After last week's mandatory minicamp, Ravens players and coaches have gone their separate ways. After a productive 12 months, they should savor these next few weeks before getting back to business in late July.