Cooler Heads Prevail

Ozzie Offseason

Just over 3 months ago, the Baltimore Ravens were hoisting the Lombardi trophy as Super Bowl Champions. A few weeks later the sky fell on Baltimore as they lost 8 starters. The NFL and Baltimore fans all thought that was it. The Ravens were having a fire-sale and were done. They could never recover from their loses.

Now that some time has passed, we can take a step back and look at the Ravens off-season plan as a whole. See, the problem with all the criticism a month after the Super Bowl is that things didn’t have time to play out yet. When you navigate a road map, you have all sorts of twists and turns to go through before you get to your destination. Judging an off-season before Free Agency, the Draft, and the second round of Free Agency is like counting your chickens before they hatch. You have to let plan play all the way out.

Let’s look at this. The Ravens lost: Paul Kruger (who signed for $40 million), Dannell Ellerbe (who signed for $35 million), Ed Reed (who wanted $6 million), Anquan Boldin (who had a $7 million cap number), Brendon Ayanbadejo, and Bernard Pollard. They also lost Ray Lewis and Matt Birk to retirement. Yes, they are significant loses, but for the amount of money they were looking at, it was not realistic to think you could keep them all. But when Baltimore lost them, you’d thought the world was ending.

But now we know the Ravens have the best front office in all of football (just ask Jason La Confora). They had a plan and it’s playing out better than even they could have expected.

In essence, the Ravens swapped Ellerbe for Elvis Dumervil (same money). I call that an upgrade. They swapped Reed for Michael Huff (a good swap for the money and age). Then they got Marcus Spears and Chris Canty and saved $40 million. I like all those upgrades.

But that’s not it. You have to continue to let the plan play out. The Ravens have the best draft department in football. At least 5 of their draft picks I see as making significant impacts. Matt Elam, Arthur Brown, Brandon Williams and John Simon can all make a big impact this year. And I like the potential of Aaron Mellette, not to mention a number of other under-the-radar guys who could have an impact.

With the exception of Boldin, I think the Ravens have upgraded every player they lost, while saving a ton of money. I know that Wide Receiver is still a major issue for many Ravens fans, but once again, the plan is not complete. There is another round of veteran cuts that will be made later this summer. That’s how the Ravens got Jacoby Jones. I truly believe Ozzie Newsome has an eye on the other teams rosters knowing that a quality WR will become available that the Ravens will pick up.

And if they don’t get a WR, I would be just fine with using Dennis Pitta as a slot receiver to catch the balls over the middle that Boldin did.

The Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl Champions and although a lot of big names are gone, I believe that the team is better now than the one that won in New Orleans back on February 3, 2013.

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About Joe Polek

Joe Polek
Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. In 2001, he moved to Portland, Maine for a job in radio. In 2012, he moved to Columbia, SC for another gig in radio, where he currently resides with his wife, Nicole, and their two daughters....more

8 Raves on “Cooler Heads Prevail

  1. Timpo on said:

    I still have that hope that Cruz gets pulled in. I know the price would be high, but it would be nice to have another threat for Flacco.

  2. purple reign on said:

    The team is going to have a tough time making the final cuts down to 53 — there’s a lot of depth on this roster. Even at linebacker and WR, where we’ve had losses, there’s good young talent that won’t make the squad. We might snag a veteran WR this summer, but I expect teams to snag our final cuts, too. Also, I think we’ll cut Leach if Juice and Furstenburg prove themselves at camp. And as for John Simon, he is the reason that Suggs will be cut after this season — there’s no way we can afford to pay the final year of his deal.

  3. Robert Fuse on said:

    On paper, the team looks much better, but the one underrated thing they must have to win is chemistry. Hopefully these guys mesh together well.

  4. bogeyroy on said:

    Been telling my friends all along that Ozzie has a plan in place to get another veteran reciever to replace Boldin. Every year, good players are cap caualties during training camps.

  5. on said:

    actually looks like a better team on paper (at this point) than last year. I’d say we’re on par with denver as AFC front runners. I guess the only negative is knowing how hard it is to repeat for various reasons. Looks like a top 10-12 offense with a new offensive cooridinator and philosophy and a definite top 10 defense, if not a truly elite one like 2011.

    Ravens shoulde be in the mix and prove, once again, that our fans should be patient and trust in an organization that has earned it.

  6. Dot on said:

    Great Post! The message of having faith in our front office has never been more evident than this past off season. I really hope one of our WRs can emerge as the No. 2 receiver with Jacoby being number 3. I really think we have the talent at WR to be a potent offense. If some of these young wide outs were on a time such as the Giants, they’d probably be very successful in the likes of Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham. We just need to give them a shot and hopefully Joe can put the ball in the right place to help transition them into a secured starting role. Pitta should most definitely be given some strong looks as a permenent receive if one of the young guys do not work out before we spend anything big on a veteran WR. Leach and Juice should both remain on the squad this year as it would not make since to have a rookie blocking for Joe and Rice when you have the Top blocking fullback in the game. Let Juice sit and learn for a year and contribute in a couple of packages but not fulltime.

  7. Mike on said:

    Great article. While we might not win the Superbowl again, I think we will be much better in the regular season. I have to laugh when I see Vegas sportsbooks over/unders at numbers like 8 and 6.5 wins because of our offseason “losses”. When has a team won an offseason championship and a Superbowl in the same year? Or even made the playoffs?

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