So desperate to upgrade their struggling offensive line, the Ravens were willing to make an unconventional deal by their standards. The Ravens don't like trading draft picks, though in this case, what they gave up should be sufficiently replaced when compensatory picks are awarded in March.
In March, amidst their offseason shopping spree, the Miami Dolphins grabbed middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe off the shelf and shelled out $35 million with $17 million guaranteed for him at the cash register. Three months later, the Ravens pulled veteran middle linebacker Daryl Smith, who was somehow still on the open market, out of the bargain bin and gave him a cheap one-year deal worth up to $2.125 million.
They're tied for first place in the division with two fellow 2-2 teams, the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. The Ravens defeated the Browns, 14-6, earlier this season and have yet to play the Bengals.
Given ample time to digest Sunday's mistake-filled 23-20 road loss to the Buffalo Bills, a candid John Harbaugh called the offensive line "disappointing," challenged drops-prone tight end Ed Dickson to "go catch the ball," and defended the play-calling.
In the months after the read-option took the NFL by storm, defensive coaches around the league became hell-bent on eradicating it, hoping to make the read-option go the way of the Wildcat and other near-extinct schemes.
Brandon Weeden was under heavy duress throughout the game, sacked five times as the Ravens delivered a dozen quarterback hits. Weeden didn't finish the game, leaving in the fourth quarter with a thumb injury as he was replaced by backup Jason Campbell for the final series.
The Ravens will commemorate their Super Bowl XLVII victory one final time before Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns with a video tribute and the unveiling of world champion banners. Whether they pay homage to last year's team by getting back to the same offensive script from their stunning postseason run is not as clear.
The Ravens are well-rested, motivated and ticked off, not a good combination if you are a Browns team that is looking for its first win in the series since 2007. Cleveland is an improving team and they will pose problems for the Ravens in several areas.
The Ravens have built a thorough scouting report on Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson, including the obvious knowledge that he's far too strong to simply arm tackle and expect to bring him down.
The Ravens will get a chance to right their ship against the Cleveland Browns, a team they have defeated 10 straight times. While Baltimore Sun reporter and blogger Matt Vensel thinks the Browns, who have a good defense, will put up a fight, picking an 11th consecutive win wouldn't be very courageous of him. But he is willing to go out on a limb and make these four bold predictions for Sunday's game.
Players described Pees as using his usual low-key tone during a defensive meeting following the Ravens' 49-27 season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos. But Pees had little difficulty finding plenty to correct for a defense that surrendered seven touchdown passes to Peyton Manning as he tied an NFL record.
The Cleveland Browns kept coming in waves at Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, blitzing him on nearly half of his dropbacks last Sunday and also harassing him when they rushed just four. The Browns sacked him four times, hit him three additional times and hurried him on a handful of other plays. It was just one game, but new Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton's fingerprints were easy to identify.
The Ravens last Thursday couldn't cover Broncos tight end Julius Thomas. Now the Ravens are preparing to face another former college basketball player turned NFL tight end, Jordan Cameron of the Browns.
For four years, Paul Kruger chased after Joe Flacco in practice, but the quarterback's bright red non-contact jersey was a reminder to hit the brakes if got a lane to the quarterback. He has always wondered what it would be like to hit Flacco. He'lll get a chance to find out Sunday when the Ravens host the Browns.
The decision, made with the fan base still in the midst of celebrating the organization's second Super Bowl title, was mildly criticized at the time, but the second guessing is growing louder by the day. It certainly didn't help that Boldin's dominant performance came just three days after his former team opened its season with a 49-27 loss to the Denver Broncos.
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.
The old-school, hands-on owner rewarded Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins with a five-year contract extension worth $54.755 million, including a $15 million signing bonus, making him the second-highest paid defensive tackle in NFL history behind Ravens Pro Bowl lineman Haloti Ngata.
With the Ravens needing to cut down their roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday at 6 p.m., there will undoubtedly be some anxious moments for many players over the next two days. However, recent history suggests that the 10 members from the team¿s 2013 draft class shouldn¿t worry.
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.
Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce took turns tearing through defenses last season. But in the second quarter of the Super Bowl, the Ravens sent the Pro Bowl running back and his rookie understudy onto the field together for the first time all season.