Written by: John V.
Although he had a successful rookie season, Joe Flacco has yet to prove himself as the quarterback of the future for the Ravens. Don't get me wrong, he has some potential, but 14-12 touchdown to interception ratio isn't that impressive. He's not Ben Roethlisberger. He can't win you the game. Last year was a great but deceiving year for our Ravens. Ray Lewis and that Raven Defense won us a lot of those games especially towards the end. You can't be a one dimensional football team and expect to win the Super Bowl. I hope Cam Cameron works with him this off season to strengthen his passing ability. I noticed in quite a few games last year, he was calm and collect in the pocket, but almost to the point of being oblivious. It almost seemed like he didn't know the pass rush was getting there. I'm not saying he is a bust, I am saying that he definitely needs to improve his basics. He made some unbelievable plays last year. They need to sure up that offensive line, which is much improved since last year. They have one of the best backfields in the NFL with McGahee, McClain, and Rice. Derrick Mason is getting old and Mark Clayton is somewhat inconsistent, even though he is extremely talented. The Ravens need to go out and get a solid number 1 or number 2 receiver, because the rest of the receivers are unproven.
Chris McAlister, the best corner in the history of the organization, was released to clear some much needed cap room. This marks the rebuilding of an Aging Ravens' defense. Baltimore isn't known for making a huge splash in the free agent pool, but the players of past that have proven to be worth the investment, have paid their dues. They being Steve McNair, if only for a year, and Derrick Mason. Ray Lewis has 3 productive years in which offenses will have to account for him in their game plans. Ed Reed will be 31; Samari Rolle will be 33; and Trevor Pryce will be 34 heading into next season. All of these players are taking up a lot of cap room that could be used to bring in younger players. They are all more injury prone than they have been in previous years. They have a solid defensive front with Bannan, Edwards, Ngata, and Douglas. The linebacking core is in question with the loss of one of the Big 3, although look for the Ravens to add to that through the draft. The secondary is a concern at the corner position now having lost number 21. As I mentioned, Rolle is getting old, but Fabian Washington has some potential to step up to that left corner position. Frank Walker and Corey Ivy give nice depth but lack the talent and consistency to be a starter. Dre' Bly is a free agent and could be a nice fill in at corner, but it would only add to the Ravens' list of players over 31. The Draft is the way to I think, maybe look in the second round or try to snag Lito Sheppard from Philly. He lost the starting job this season to superstar free agent Asante Samuel, but filled in nicely in nickel and dime packages. Corey Ivy is getting old, and Drayton Florence would be a nice pick up, even though he was a disappointment last season. The safety position is deep with Landry, Zbikowski, Leonhard and obviously Ed Reed.
The point is the Ravens need to get younger, and the release of Chris McAlister mark the beginning of the long and usually treacherous road of embarrassing and shameful seasons. Joe might have showed up at the wrong time, and could take a good bit of the blame. The Ravens have always signed older and proven players rather than take the risk of young, one year wonder players. The upcoming year should prove to be interesting to see which direction the offense goes in and how the defense will fair against the test of time.
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