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The Baltimore Ravens have always been a team that had built its team around a monstrous defensive mindset. Built behind Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs over the years, all incredible players, and their dominance over the NFL in was frightening to say the least. Lewis with seasons like in 1999 where he had 131 tackles, 3 picks and 3.5 sacks, Reed in 2004, with his 9 ints, 17 PDs, 3 FF, and 64 tackles. But times seem to be shifting in Baltimore these days.
They still have an imposing defense, led more now, by 6-4, 335 lb, DT, Haloti Ngata, who is virtually a truck on the defensive line, and underrated 27 yr old, CB Lardarius Webb on the outside. But with Ray Lewis, now 37, isn’t the same guy from years ago, of course. Reed is also a worn down 34 years old, still guys that can play, but not the same these days.
Over the years, the Ravens have never quite had a big time QB to lead their team as their field marshal in battle. Going through the Kyle Boller experimentation, an aging, at the conclusion of his career, Steve McNair, journeyman Jeff Blake, and Elvis Grbac to name a few, over the last 12 seasons.
And candidly, their offense was nothing to write home about either, previous to Flacco, having averaged 21 or more in a season, only 2 out of 7 years. Bottom line, not a team that brought concern for an offensive explosion, they were based more around winning the 18-13 game style for numerous years.
With Ray Rice and his astonishing skill set, both running the ball and his receiving ability, he is a danger every time he touches the ball. Generally getting 24 touches/game, he is accountable for about 125 yards of offense every time stepping onto the field. But in the new “passing league” it’s not necessarily the RB that a team builds their team around. It seems a top end QB needs to be the one these days.
And that QB in Baltimore is Joe Flacco, many may doubt, some may scoff. But the 27 year old 6-6 QB can straight up play the game. His development has been first-rate. Bringing his yards/attempt up 3 over the last 4 seasons, his interceptions have constantly been on the low end, and he is 47-21(69%) as a starter with his team.
With an aging defense, the Ravens appear to be going into a more offensive style on the field. In 2012, so far, scoring 30/game, and having put up 23 + in every game. The AFC North looks as if it’s theirs to lose. Going through them is now the expedition I believe most teams would grasp. Pittsburgh is still good, Cincinnati is a serious up and comer, but the Ravens are the team that these guys shoot for.
Flacco needs to keep growing in the right direction, and it certainly shows as if he is moving right along. I root for Joe Flacco, not because I am a Ravens fan, not because I am a Delaware fan. But because when he was drafted 18th in the 1st round, numerous media felt at the time it was an inadequate choice. They had Boller and McNair splitting the QB duties at the time, and I take great pleasure in a good underdog story.
I would say 47 wins, 87 TDs and (team all-time leader) 15000+ YDs later, Flacco is doing just fine. Well done, Joe Flacco, proving the haters wrong.
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write by FREDERICK ELLIS