View Full Version : Ravens go from good to favorites to win AFC North

04-25-2010, 11:17 PM
Ravens go from good to favorites to win AFC North
Buzz up!By Mike Preston, THE BALTIMORE SUN
Monday, April 26, 2010

Training camp still is a couple of months away, but there's reason for the Baltimore Ravens to be very optimistic about next season.

Since January, the Ravens have made enough upgrades to become serious contenders.

We're not just talking about the results of the NFL Draft this weekend, but the entire offseason.

The Ravens have improved in the areas where they had major weaknesses, from the addition of several wide receivers to getting younger on defense to finding another pass rusher.

It's still early, and the additions are only on paper, which prompts some skepticism. The Ravens still have needs at cornerback and fullback, and they haven't received a definitive answer from Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed about retirement.

But, overall, if you asked yourself whether the Ravens are better now than they were last season, the answer would have to be a resounding yes.

As of today, they are clearly the favorites to win the AFC North.

The Steelers have imploded, the Browns are rebuilding and the defending champion Bengals have had problems putting together two good halves of a season much less two consecutive good years.

The key for the Ravens will be the development of quarterback Joe Flacco and how well the team incorporates new receivers Anquan Boldin and Donte' Stallworth into the passing game.

The Ravens have made some good moves since last season, but none was better than signing Boldin as a free agent. He's big, tough, makes yards after the catch and can dominate the middle of the field an area in which the Ravens needed drastic improvement. If Stallworth can become a vertical threat, all the bases will be covered in the passing game.

Because of Boldin, the Ravens really had a good draft.

He has to be worked into the equation because the Ravens surrendered picks to Arizona in this year's draft to complete the deal. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was criticized Friday night for trading down in the first round and recouping some of those picks, but it was a bold and successful move.

It would have been nice if the Ravens had drafted wide receiver Dez Bryant, cornerback Kyle Wilson or defensive tackle Dan Williams, but they still managed to get more picks, fill needs and come away with a proven receiver like Boldin.

That's a key. Unlike every player who was drafted over the weekend, Boldin is a proven commodity.

So, if Boldin was the equivalent of a first-round pick, then the Ravens made out well in the second with the additions of Texas outside linebacker Sergio Kindle and Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody.

Kindle has some drawbacks and apparently has some growing up to do, but he's tenacious and could be the pass rusher the Ravens desperately missed last season. His athleticism and explosion on the snap of the ball clearly were evident on film.

As for Cody, the Ravens still need a change of philosophy in selecting defensive tackles. It's time for more lean and athletic ones, tackles who can stop the run and pressure the quarterback.

But with the 57th pick in the second round, there are limitations, and the Ravens made a good choice in Cody. He can back up starters Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata, and Cody and Kindle have a year to sit and learn instead of being forced to play right away.

The knock on Cody always has been his weight (360 pounds) and that he takes plays off, but there isn't a defensive tackle in the league who doesn't do that.

The Ravens also drafted two tight ends, Oregon's Ed Dickson in the third round and Brigham Young's Dennis Pitta in the fourth, to back up starter Todd Heap, who has missed extensive time two of the past three seasons because of injuries.

As the draft ended Saturday, you still had to wonder why the Ravens didn't select a cornerback, especially with Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb trying to rebound from major knee surgery during the offseason. They also could use a backup fullback behind Le'Ron McClain.

But the 2010 season still is three months away, and the Ravens usually do a fine job of signing some good undrafted rookie free agents.

In two years under coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens have gone to the playoffs, but this is definitely their strongest team.

Galax Steeler
04-26-2010, 03:59 AM
:coffee: I will take the wait and see approach.

04-26-2010, 04:34 AM
on paper they are definatly the favorite but it dosnt always work out the way people think. week 8 last season we were predicted to go all the way and look how quickly things turned around from our 6-2

Third Rail
04-26-2010, 10:15 AM

Aren't they the favorites EVERY year?

And don't they always fail to meet expectations?

04-26-2010, 10:20 AM
I'm not sure that the improvements on the field won't be mitigated by off-filed problems with Stallworth, and to a much larger degree, Boldin.

I also think Flacco is overrated. What happens if Boldin doesn't get thrown to enough?

If they lose Reed, I'm sorry, well, Steelers fans should know better than anyone what happens when you lose the lynchpin of your defensive backfield. I think their defense will continue to slide....

Third Rail
04-26-2010, 10:51 AM
Flacco seems like an okay guy, but he is WAAAAAY overrated. His performance in the playoffs last year was the most pathetic effort by a post-season QB I've ever seen and was proof that they would have been nothing more than an 8 win team in the regular season had they not had a superior running game.

04-26-2010, 11:49 AM
The Ravens could end up being very good this year.

Boldin can be a dominant receiver.

They have a three headed monster at RB. Do they really need to throw the ball that much?

Sergio Kindle might end up being a terror in the pass rush.

Cody could be that lynchpin in the middle of the 3-4.

Or this could all blow up in their faces and they could go 8-8 and miss the playoffs. I would be PERFECTLY fine with that result!

04-26-2010, 11:52 AM

here is there off-season trophy

Dino 6 Rings
04-26-2010, 11:53 AM

From good to Favorite...I agree with a few above who correctly pointed out, they were already called the "favorite" for the AFC North. Seriously LMFAO!

04-26-2010, 12:07 PM
Boldin can be dominant when healthy. Unfortunately, he hasn't been 100% the past few years.

Rice is good, McGahee is getting past his prime. McClain is underused.

Secondary needs help but if Ed Reed retires, that is a major hole.

Still too early to tell for all of this.:coffee:

The Ravens could end up being very good this year.

Boldin can be a dominant receiver.

They have a three headed monster at RB. Do they really need to throw the ball that much?

Sergio Kindle might end up being a terror in the pass rush.

Cody could be that lynchpin in the middle of the 3-4.

Or this could all blow up in their faces and they could go 8-8 and miss the playoffs. I would be PERFECTLY fine with that result!

04-26-2010, 12:08 PM
Where is Lee Flowers when you need him for a soundbite.


here is there off-season trophy

04-26-2010, 01:11 PM


04-26-2010, 01:50 PM
How about from good to actually being able to beat the Bengals in a game next season? That would be a good start. :chuckle:

04-26-2010, 03:23 PM
:blah: :blah: :blah:

Is it September yet?

04-26-2010, 03:30 PM
MaGahee getting past his prime??? He was knocked into the beginning of the end by Hitman Clark in the playoffs in 09'. He still hears the phone ring while he is sleeping.

Flacco is a good story coming from a small school, but he has less movement than the Statue of Liberty and less talent than Brittnay Spears.

Sixteen games is a long season and if the Ravens make it to the playoffs, expect one and done.

04-27-2010, 07:40 AM
The Steelers have imploded

Based on what may I ask? Santo going to the Jets and Ben getting a suspension? I guess this titstick forgot that we just got Lefty back in the B & G and we have more than enough capable WR's to get the job done, plus we got a nice gift in bringing B-Mac back into the fold.

I don't doubt that the Rats will be a challenge - they usually are - but this jerkwad really needs to take his mouth off of the birdie's knob and not discount the Steelers or he may be eating a couple of juicy crowburgers this season.

04-27-2010, 09:45 AM
It's just more off-season fodder. It isn't worth the paper and ink (or web space) it took to write it.

I mean I could write an article talking about how the bungals got lucky last year - like they do every 3-4 years - in winning the division, and how the ratbirds were lucky that flacco didn't go into a huge sophomore slump and were healthy down the stretch. Or a combined article on how lucky they both were that the Steelers didn't have Polamalu for most of the season, but it's all irrelevant because these things don't matter and won't matter because it will all be settled on Game Days starting in September!

04-27-2010, 09:56 AM
The Steelers have imploded?

Sounds like the writer was desperately trying to convince himself of such. He and so many Raven fans are afraid of Pittsburgh, so they write them off instantly like they don't exist. Just like them whining to not play in Pittsburgh last year.

Pittsburgh is 5-2 against the Rats over the past three years, and almost beat them in OT their house with a 3rd string QB. If a team played mine tough like that, I wouldn't look forward to playing them either. It's understandable. I always hated playing Steve McNair and the Titans back in the early 2000's.

The Ravens have an inferiority complex, which explains their obsession with the Steelers. They think they're so hot, but that stigma hanging over them is that the Steelers (and Colts) always stood in their way, and owned them.

Dino 6 Rings
04-27-2010, 11:06 AM
lets see...

At Jets
at Bengals
vs Browns
at Steelers
vs Broncos
at Patriots

I smell a 3-3 start.

Week 7 - 11, good chance of winning 4 in a row.

12-15, 2-2

maybe finish with 2 wins at the end. Lets add....11-5. That's not a bad year. But lets see, how do the Ravens respond historically

The last 10 seasons. Up and down. I smell 6-10.

Historically speaking.
Steelers last 10 seasons

History tells me, every time the Steelers fall for 1 year, they come back hard for 2. 9-7 = Down Year for the Steelers, guess who's coming to Dinner Fools!!!

04-27-2010, 11:40 AM
Not sure how it will play out....but I do like the signings of Kindle and Cody. And the signing of Boldin. I think they have helped their cause more than we have.

04-27-2010, 01:07 PM


Wow... #7 is pretty good. Glad we didn't trade him.

I love the shot of Harrison punishing Derek Mason for having the stones to even try and tackle him after the pick.

Reed is one more hit from being done altogether. He's made a career out of big returns, but has been a handicap in pass coverage for years. Has he dropped back to return anymore kicks since JH planted him after he knocked the ball out??

Murdering Ray is right behind him....his best highlights now come before the game starts. I look for the D to drop into the middle of the pack this year.