Steve Bisciotti is not worried about the Ravens leadership.
Despite the offseason departures of future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, the Ravens owner is confident that his team has players fully capable of taking charge in the locker room.
"We're not going to miss a beat from a leadership standpoint," Bisciotti said. "Direction, these guys are going to know what direction to go in."
Veterans Terrell Suggs and Joe Flacco are naturally next in line to lead the defense and offense, respectively. Both of them have been vocal throughout the offseason and training camp, and Bisciotti sees this as their chance to command the team.
"I think this is a great opportunity for guys like Suggs to step up, and Joe to step up," Bisciotti said. "It's coming along exactly the way I figured."
Suggs and Flacco have both been leaders in their own right throughout their careers, but Lewis was always the lead dog in the locker room.
Suggs, an 11-year veteran, is one of the most accomplished players in the NFL – he's a five-time Pro Bowler, a former Rookie of the Year and a former Defensive Player of the Year – but he still regarded Lewis as the team "general."
Now Suggs is the respected elder.
"Ray Lewis is a once in a generation guy," Bisciotti said. "And you saw guys like Terrell Suggs – who was a Defensive Player of the Year, in the offseason and as the season started last year – he was still deferring to Ray Lewis. And it's just interesting."
Lewis' status within Baltimore and the Ravens organization is rarely achieved in the world of sports. He spent his entire Hall of Fame career in one place, and is the bedrock of the franchise.
As long as Lewis was playing, he was always going to be the team's leader.
"When you have someone of that iconic level, it was hard to step out of his shadow, and they really didn't try to," Bisciotti said. "They knew they that were seeing something special and that they were fortunate to be a part of it."
Now it's up to players like Suggs, Flacco, Ray Rice, Haloti Ngata and Torrey Smith. Bisciotti also praised newcomer Elvis Dumervil as a respected veteran leader.
In fact, Bisciotti is not concerned about the perceived decline in that area.
"One of the national [reporters] was asking me about the leadership vacuum, and it's just not true," Bisciotti said. "I thought that we were going to surprise people with our level of leadership on this team."