It’s been quite a memorable off-season for the Baltimore Ravens. Let’s go back to the postseason. They win a big game in the Wild Card round at home to the Colts in Ray’s final home game of his stellar career, they win a double OT game in Denver behind Joe Flacco stepping up in a very hostile environment in at Mile High, they get their rematch with the Patriots in Foxborough in the AFC title game and win that game in a convincing fashion and they topped this magical run off with a Super Bowl title against the 49ers. That was definitely a ride to remember for the Ravens after losing 4 of their last 5 games to close out the regular season. Now, let’s fast forward to their offseason and some changes have been made in Baltimore. We all knew about Ray retiring after 17 seasons in Baltimore. That defense was pretty good without him for most of last year so you’d think they’d be good heading into next year. I guess it’s safe to say the Ravens “cleaned house” of some sorts so far. They did end up signing Flacco to a 6 year contract extension worth $108 Million and I had some very strong thoughts about this but it was a good thing to see them sign him for the next few years. After that was when some key pieces were let go. Paul Krueger, who was their most consistent defensive player last year is now a member of the Cleveland Browns so he’s still within the AFC North, Bernard Pollard was released and signed a deal with the Titans, the heir apparent to Ray, Dannell Ellerbe signed a 5 year deal with the Dolphins, Anquan was traded from one Harbaugh to the other as he was dealt to San Francisco, Ed Reed became an unrestricted free agent then went on to sign a deal with the Texans. That’s a lot for a defending champion to lose in an off-season. I knew things would be different without Ray there anymore leading them but I didn’t think key players in last years title run wouldn’t be with the team come 2013 but that is what comes along with the business side of things in the National Football League. Players will be released for the better of the team. Things have become quite interesting in Baltimore so far this year and I’m sure they’ll make some more changes as a team as the draft approaches. Draft wise, they’ll need to address many needs on both sides of the football offensively and defensively. All these changes will play a humongous role in their chances of winning the AFC North for the third straight season. They’ve lost important pieces in the past but none of this high magnitude. As a defense, they still have Terrell Suggs who’s their best defensive player, Haloti Ngata up front and LarDarius Webb coming back from an injury. It’s a new chapter for the Ravens, the big question is how will they respond to change?
Changes In Baltimore.