Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Baltimore Ravens Will Have Busy Off-Season

The Baltimore Ravens off-season started earlier than I expected. The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens this past Sunday. Though that loss saddens me, the Ravens must move on and try to make the team better.

Rex Ryan has already move on to be bigger and better things as he has signed a 4-year contract with the New York Jets. Good luck with that situation, Rex! Hopefully, the Jets will get you a franchise quarterback in the draft or fix Brett Favre.

The candidates for the defensive coordinator position will have big shoes to fill. Most experts think the Ravens will promote inside as the assistants and coaches already know the system. The leading candidate seems to be Vic Fangio. The Ravens signed Fangio a couple of years to breakdown film of the opposition and scout plays. He also possesses experience at the defensive coordinator position. Those teams were Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Carolina Panthers. I would probably choose him to replace Rex Ryan. The job won't be easy and there will probably be a drop off in production, but he has the most experience among the defensive coaches. Picking him sounds good to me.

Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Bart Scott will be free agents this off-season. The Ravens won't have the money to sign all three. My order would be Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis. Terrell Suggs should be the one that is given a long term deal given his production and age. Plus, Suggs will be in his prime. I don't know if I would franchise tag Ray Lewis. That is a lot of money tied up in aging player even though he hasn't shown any obvious drop in production. Ray Lewis is not athletic or as fast he once was, but you don't notice that decline because of his ability to diagnose the play so quickly. Bart Scott can bounce. I always thought he was a bit overrated as he likes to gamble on plays and is not that great at tackling in open space. They could replace him with Tavares Gooden, Jameel McClain, Antwan Barnes, or Edgar Jones. There are many in-house candidates to replace Scott.

Chris McAlister could be a cap casualty along with Samari Rolle, Willie Anderson, or Todd Heap. Of the bunch, Chris McAlister seems to be the most likely candidate to go as he hasn't gotten along with the new regime. Fabian Washington has demonstrated he can more than hold his own as his replacement.Willie Anderson could be gone too as Marshal Yanda will be returning at full strength next year.

There are much decisions to be made for the Ravens. Hopefully, all of the right ones are made.

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