Welcome to Scrawn Football's (completely biased) series of previews for the 2010 NFL season, one team at a time. Today's profile is on the Baltimore Ravens, which I like to call,
"A Dilfer-Free Zone".
GRATUITOUS WIRE REFERENCE. Let's make this snappy.
WHY THEY'RE GOOD
-When I'm not busy confusing him for Ozzie Smith, I'm applauding Ozzie Newsome for finally landing his ten-point buck in Anquan Boldin. While Boldin is seemingly in a state of perpetual surliness, he sure plays a mean football. He's big, physical, and makes catches all over the field. Finally, the Ravens have their premium wideout to couple with whatever stiff they've got playing quarterback.
-With Joe Flacco at quarterback, the Ravens are obviously set. He's no stiff, despite what bloggers may say about him. They're not asking him to reinvent the position, and with a talented backfield behind him all he needs to do is keep the ball out of the opposing secondary's hands. He only threw eleven interceptions last season, which was two less than the only other first-round quarterback drafted in 2008, Matt Ryan. And, with his completion rate over sixty percent, Flacco is on track for a torrid love affair with Boldin.
-Yes, it did take me this long to get to Ray Rice. That's just because I rank players by height though. Diminutive stature and delicious surname aside, Rice is no sidedish. He rushed for over 1,300 yards last season while making room for 78 receptions as well. The man is a wrecking ball, who apparently can now bench more than 400 pounds. Neat.
-Those were three pluses for the Baltimore Ravens offense, a unit traditionally used to rag the ball while the defense rinsed the other team's blood off. What do you really need to know about the squad though? They're still good. Ray Lewis is forever young. Terrell Suggs dropped some weight. Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, and Terrence Cody are fitting to demolish unsuspecting offensive linemen. Ed Reed is Batman (I'm assuming his hip heals up real nice). Jarrett Johnson is tough as nails. People will be bludgeoned.
WHY THEY'RE BAD
-The cornerbacks are suspect. There's no Chris McAllister like in 2001 to lock down opposing receivers while the goon squad lights teams up. There's Fabian Washington, who's bouncing back from a torn ACL; and LaDarius Webb is next on the depth chart and he's also rebounding from a knee injury.
-While Suggs has one of the defensive end spots sewn up, the other end is up for grabs. Dwan Edwards fled to Buffalo, and his possible successors look to be a step down.
-Baltimore spent a boatload on backup quarterback Marc Bulger. Though the Ravens (and many others) believe that this is the year, isn't $3.8 million a bit much for a guy you never want to see play? Also, various media outlets are questioning Bulger's commitment to football in general, which Bulger denied.
-If you hadn't noticed, I'm starting to reach a bit here, the team is pretty good. Now watch as I question Baltimore's kicking situation: Shayne Graham is shaky. That is all.
INCORRECT PREDICTION: 13-3, FIRST IN AFC NORTH, POSSIBLY SUPER BOWL CANDIDATES? YERP