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Ravens Fans Have No Reason to Panic Yet

It's only March!

It was inevitable.

When you lose FIVE Unrestricted Free agents from a team that was so close to getting to a Super Bowl it’s natural to get a little concerned.

But the cries of horror from the Purple faithful reached almost epic proportions over this past weekend. The talk shows were flooded with callers wondering what this franchise will do to replace so many important pieces to the championship puzzle. Some even went so far as to proclaim the Ravens playoff chances dead for 2012 – in March?!

Wow! Really?

So let’s just take a moment to digest what’s happened over the last week.

The Ravens lost one of it’s best Offensive lineman in former First-Round draft pick Ben Grubbs to New Orleans. This is the biggest loss of this group as Grubbs was a young Pro Bowler who helped form a solid interior to block for Ray Rice. Baltimore quickly brought in Evan Mathis to fill Grubbs’ spot but he ultimately re-signed with Philadelphia. That leaves Plan C to include the likes of former 49er, Chilo Rachal or perhaps converting Jah Reid from the Tackle spot. Neither of these options are as good as Grubbs or Mathis but this is the age of the salary cap. Creativity and open mindedness are important.

Cory Redding, Jarret Johnson, Haruki Nakamura, and Tom Zbikowski all departed as well this week. Redding and Johnson were key veterans on the top ranked defense while Nakamura and Zbikowski provided depth and contributions on Special teams.

But think for a moment, were any of these defections a surprise? On my list last week I had all of these players walking except for Nakamura which was more out of hope than reality. Once he stated he wanted more playing time it was clear that he’d be elsewhere.

So how do the Ravens replace these players? Like they always do, they’ll look in-house first, draft players and then find value free agents to plug the rest of their holes.

Just look at last season. Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, Willis McGahee and Kelly Gregg were let go while starting Safety Dawan Landry signed with the Jaguars and Le’Ron McClain left for the Cheifs. Second year players Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson and Terrence Cody stepped up while Bernard Pollard, Vonta Leach and Ricky Williams were signed. Torrey Smith was drafted.

We have a long way to go. This roster will be a work in progress all the way up until July, so making any assumptions either way about the fortunes of this team is more than premature. Let’s just take comfort knowing that the Ravens have made four straight playoff appearances and finally have the consistency of a winner that this town has been craving for.

It’s only March.

Just settle down and watch some College Basketball. It will all get sorted out soon enough.

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One Response to “Ravens Fans Have No Reason to Panic Yet”

  1. Judy Bowen says:

    I agree, Matt- the amount of hysteria this weekend was just the usual Ravens’ fan base overreacting. I was part of it too, until I realized Ozzie and co. know a lot more than I do about how to build a team. We just have to trust that things will work out. This will be our year, I feel it strongly!

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