On Now
Coming Up
  • Thu., Aug. 25, 2016 1:00 PM EDT Live Press Conference Head coach John Harbaugh and key players will address the media following practice.
  • Sat., Aug. 27, 2016 6:30 PM EDT Live Pregame Show Gerry Sandusky, Stan White and Qadry Ismail preview the Ravens' preseason matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.
  • Sat., Aug. 27, 2016 7:00 PM EDT Live Game Audio Broadcast Listen to the live WBAL broadcast of the Lions vs. Ravens on BaltimoreRavens.com or in the Ravens mobile app.
  • Tue., Sep. 06, 2016 8:00 AM EDT Paint The Town Purple Help us paint the town purple! Visit M&T Bank Stadium on Tuesday morning or the Maryland State Fairgrounds in the afternoon to have your car stenciled with the official Ravens logo.
  • Wed., Sep. 07, 2016 8:00 AM EDT #FindTheFlock Scavenger Hunt Locate one of the six LED Ravens letters spread around Baltimore on Wednesday, Sept. 7 and you could win great prizes by using the hashtag #FindTheFlock! Clues will be provided Wednesday morning via the Ravens Snapchat account, so stay tuned and make sure to follow BLTRavens on Snapchat!
  • Fri., Sep. 09, 2016 5:00 PM EDT Countdown To Kickoff Party Presented By Miller Lite Grammy Award®-nominated rock band 3 DOORS DOWN will perform at the Ravens Countdown to Kickoff Party Presented by Miller Lite on Friday, Sept. 9 at Maryland State Fairgrounds. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. Open to all ages.
  • Sat., Sep. 10, 2016 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM EDT Ravens Report Hosted by WUSA-TV's Kristen Berset, Ravens Report, the flagship program of the Baltimore Ravens that showcases life in the NFL. Created by Ravens Productions, this magazine-style show features behind-the-scenes access to Ravens players and coaches as they prepare for each week's opponent.
  • Sat., Sep. 10, 2016 7:30 PM - 8:00 PM EDT Ravens Wired See the plays, hear the sideline conversations and feel the hits on Ravens Wired, the only behind-the-scenes show featuring a Ravens player wired for sound during each week's game. Go behind the Ravens bench for in-game adjustments and inside the locker room for Head Coach John Harbaugh's post-game speech. Produced by Ravens Productions, Ravens Wired is hosted by Comcast Sportsnet's Brent Harris.
  • Sun., Sep. 11, 2016 1:00 AM - 1:30 AM EDT Ravens Unscripted Ravens beat writers Ryan Mink and Garrett Downing join our host to tackle the latest Ravens headlines and hottest topics. Each week's show, brought to you by Ravens Productions, also features a special guest, including prominent sports media, front office staff, players or other Ravens insiders.
  • Sat., Sep. 17, 2016 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM EDT Ravens Report Hosted by WUSA-TV's Kristen Berset, Ravens Report, the flagship program of the Baltimore Ravens that showcases life in the NFL. Created by Ravens Productions, this magazine-style show features behind-the-scenes access to Ravens players and coaches as they prepare for each week's opponent.

News

Print
RSS

Eisenberg: New Blood Defense, 'Next Man Up' Offense

Posted Jun 22, 2013

The team seemingly had more faith in its offensive depth than its 'next generation' on defense.

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 Elvis Dumervil, Chris Canty, Michael Huff, Marcus Spears and Daryl Smith; and also addressing that side of the ball with its first four picks in the April draft, selecting Matt Elam, Arthur Brown, Brandon Williams and John Simon.

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 Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, David Reed, all three or someone else.

At center, their plan to replace Birk with Gino Gradkowski seemingly is unfolding exactly as planned, although the team did trade for A.Q. Shipley to provide competition.

The only offensive hole being filled by a new face is at fullback, where rookie Kyle Juszczyk seemingly is being penciled in to take Leach’s snaps and more.

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 Joe Flacco in the playoffs, while the defense clearly needed to be upgraded in numerous places, as the unit’s coordinator, Dean Pees, recently stated. So, bottom line, the offense needed less help. Its status quo was pretty darn good.

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 Terrence Cody had emerged as a force, but between those situations and the departures of Kruger and Ellerbe, the defense needed more of a personnel patch.

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 Dennis Pitta (fourth round), Ed Dickson (third), Arthur Jones (fifth), Marshal Yanda (third), Lardarius Webb (third) and Bernard Pierce (third) playing key roles, and other such as Chykie Brown (fifth), Pernell McPhee (fifth) and DeAngelo Tyson (seventh) also getting their share of snaps, a team’s ability to put its entire draft to use is already clearly indicated.

Between Elam, Brown, Williams and Juszczyk, this year’s draft class could be called on to provide more of an immediate impact than any of the Ravens’ recent classes. And underneath that developing plot line, those other “deep draft” picks could also be asked to step up and produce.

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.

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

Related News

Recent Videos

Recent Photos