The roll call of personnel changes the Ravens have experienced this offseason is pretty long. Ray Lewis and Matt Birk retired. Anquan Boldin was traded. Bernard Pollard and Vonta Leach were released. Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger and Cary Williams left via free agency.
The departures of those players and others has brought a stack of new names into the mix, and watching the 2013 Ravens begin to take shape in minicamp last week, I couldn’t help noticing how the front office used different approaches in overhauling the offense and defense.
To re-fortify the defense, which experienced more losses and thus had more holes to fill, the team went outside the building, bringing in a handful of proven veterans such as
The result is a host of new starters, new rotations and new looks.
But on the other side of the ball, where three starters are gone, the Ravens have mostly promoted from within rather than add new blood. They’re going with their “next man up” philosophy.
At wide receiver, they’re seemingly content to let a host of former understudies battle it out to see who replaces Boldin. It could be
The only offensive hole being filled by a new face is at fullback, where rookie
The situation remains fluid and the team does have the salary cap space to make an addition or two if it wants, but at this point, the offseason can be summed up this way: New blood on defense, “next man up” on offense.
A couple of observations about this:
It isn’t really a surprise. While both units had their ups and downs in 2012, the offense really came together and morphed into a powerhouse under quarterback
The front office had more faith in its offensive depth than its “next generation” on defense. Maybe that wouldn’t have been the case if Sergio Kindle had remained healthy and
Going with the “next man up” on offense is going to test the Ravens’ philosophy of building through the draft – the ENTIRE draft, as opposed to just ballyhooed top picks. Think about it. What do potential starters Gradkowski, Doss and Juszczyk have in common? They’re all fourth-round selections.
Of course, when you put together a Super Bowl-winning roster with former “deep draft” selections such as
I don’t know if the Ravens intentionally used different approaches for their offensive and defensive overhauls or if it just worked out that way on a case-by-case basis, but in the end, the goal for each unit is the same: play winning football, regardless of how the unit was put together.