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Can Ravens Win It All Next Year? 'Absolutely, Without Question'


Head Coach John Harbaugh is bullish about the Ravens' future, for next season and beyond.

As crushing as their playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans was, the Ravens have positioned themselves to continue competing for Super Bowls. They have won two straight AFC North titles. They had an NFL record-tying 13 Pro Bowlers in 2019, and outside linebacker Matthew Judon is the only Pro Bowler who's not under contract for next season.

A young, talented roster is in place with Lamar Jackson as the centerpiece at age 23, and it appears the entire coaching staff will remain intact. That leaves Harbaugh with many reasons to feel optimistic.

"Are we capable of winning the whole thing next year?" Harbaugh said. "Absolutely, without question. Now we have to go do it. And that's what we'll be working to do."

The Ravens aren't facing an offseason in need of a rebuild. They can reload, knowing they have a young core in place while they target areas they want to improve. 

It's hard to argue that the Ravens aren't already talented enough to win the Super Bowl. They had the NFL's best regular-season record (14-2), including a 12-game winning streak. At their best, the Ravens dominated, winning five games by 21 points or more.

Only three of Baltimore's Pro Bowlers are in their 30's – right guard Marshal Yanda (35), safety Earl Thomas III (30) and running back Mark Ingram (30). And with Jackson playing at an MVP level while still under his first contract, the Ravens have flexibility under the salary cap to upgrade their roster that they haven't always enjoyed.

"I think we have done a remarkable job of building this team to where it is right now," Harbaugh said. "I am really proud of what we have been able to do, on the personnel side and the coaching-scheme side. That gives me a lot of confidence where we are going forward. We have a few more resources in front of us right now. We have good draft resources; we have great cap resources that we haven't had in the past. So, we have a chance to build our roster in a way that we haven't been able to maybe in the last large number of years.

"Then, because we have our quarterback in place, and because we have our defensive and offensive systems in place, it is pretty straightforward where we want to go, roster-wise. Anybody in this room could name those spots. I think most of our fans could name those spots. As a matter of fact, I read some things, and they do name them, and that's good. We see it the same way."

The Ravens could decide to place the franchise tag on Judon to avoid losing him in free agency if they can't agree on a long-term deal. He was their leading pass-rusher with 9 ½ sacks, he has a great attitude that blends well in the locker room, and he's in his prime at age 27.

If Yanda retires, he could be the team's biggest offseason loss. Harbaugh has made it clear he wants Yanda to return, but the team is giving the eight-time Pro Bowler time to make his decision.

"Marshal made it pretty clear that he's going to think about things going forward," Harbaugh said. "When you're a Hall of Fame-type of guy and you're a lineman, it's really important to finish strong in your career, to play Hall of Fame football at the end, because that's when everybody is watching. And he's doing that. So, I'm all for him playing Hall of Fame football for another year if he so chooses. But he'll do what's right for his family, and whatever he does, we'll respect it."

But regardless of Yanda's decision, Harbaugh is confident the team will have a championship mindset. He has dealt with difficult playoff losses before during his 12-year tenure, like in 2011 when the Ravens lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship, before bounding back to win the Super Bowl the following year.

Losing to the Titans was a setback. But Harbaugh doesn't believe it will define the Ravens' future, which he still views as very bright.

"I feel like we've been here before," Harbaugh said. "Every year that you don't win it, you're there. Our guys are tough. They're resilient.

"We're going to start from the beginning. When our guys come back, we'll be talking about building the foundation up from the beginning and starting to stack one good day after another – that's what we'll do – and try to build the very best team we can and be the very best team we can be this next season. We'll see where it takes us."

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