The Ravens are a full decade removed from their only
Super Bowl victory, but they're locked and loaded for another one. Let's take a
closer look at Baltimore on the 28th stop of NESN.com's 32-day trek through the
2009 Record: 9-7 (lost
to Colts in divisional round)
2010 Schedule Difficulty: Their
opponents went a combined 130-126 (.508 winning percentage) in 2009, which is
tied for the 12th most difficult schedule in the NFL.
Key Additions: Wide receiver Anquan
Boldin, wide receiver Donte Stallworth, defensive end/outside linebacker Sergio
Kindle (draft), nose tackle Terrence Cody (draft), tight end Ed Dickson (draft),
safety Ken Hamlin, kicker Shayne Graham
Key Losses: Defensive lineman Dwan
Edwards, cornerback Samari Rolle
Burning Question: Were the Ravens
responsible with their early draft picks?
They used their top-two picks –
a pair of second-rounders — on outside linebacker/defensive end Sergio Kindle
and nose tackle Terrence Cody. Some pundits believe those two players are
perfect for Baltimore's defense, but seriously, how many players haven't great
fits for the Ravens' front-seven in the last decade? They've churned out as
many pass-rushing stars as any team in the league in that span, but Kindle and
Cody have big-time question marks.
Hours into the April draft,
reports surfaced about Kindle potentially needing microfracture surgery on his
knee, which could be a devastating blow to his career. And then there's Cody,
who has had maddening problems with his weight.
Each players are huge risks, but if Kindle proves his knee is fine and Cody's
diet plan isn’t always out to lunch, they could pay off nicely. This could be a
week-to-week thing, though.
2010 Outlook: This looks like a
Super Bowl team. The Ravens were spotty in the 2009 regular season, beating the
teams they were supposed to beat and losing to some of the best teams in the
NFL. But they still ranked third in total offense and eighth in total defense,
and the additions of Boldin and Stallworth will make the offense
even better. If Kindle and Cody play to their potential in 2010, the Ravens
could be unstoppable.