You hate to say that a team’s success was built on one player but when it comes to the Baltimore Ravens that may hold true. While the New England Patriots have Tom Brady they do have a host of others that plays a significant role in the team’s success. But when you mention the Ravens the first name that comes to mind is who?
Without a doubt he was the face of the franchise for 17 years, the heart and soul of the team but most importantly he was the attitude that made the Ravens defense so legendary during his time. Their recent struggles have not been due to Ray not being on the field making tackles it’s because no one has taken over his role of enforcer on or off the field.
You would think with Terrell Suggs still roaming the field that he would fit nicely into that role but he and Ray were part of a three-headed monster that has been knocked to one. Suggs can’t do alone what took he, Ray and Ed Reed time to build there are players that must attempt to rekindle that arrogance that had the Ravens, not only one of the top defenses in the league but a team come January no one wanted to see in the playoffs.
Where is that nasty?
It’s not coming from the QB position as Joe Flacco is not that guy. WR Steve Smith has the résumé and demeanor to be it but at this point in his career he is looking to ride off into the sunset as quietly as he can. So where does it come from? Why not head coach John Harbaugh? We know how fiery he can get but what the team needs is that guy to exit the tunnel with war paint on his face, last week’s bloody, dirty game jersey on, screaming to the stands and anyone else that will listen that it’s about to go down.
Maybe Elvis Dumervil could be that guy. His stats took a dip last season but you can see the fire he has. Whoever decides to step up must do it now. The AFC North is not a division for the faint of hearts, it may be the toughest the NFL has, and that’s counting the Cleveland Browns. This is a still a defensive division and Charm City is still the Mecca of defense with speaking of the North. This is what the foundation of the team was built upon, defense, grit and fear. Last season they seem to have stepped away from that and it cost them a playoff spot as fans had to endure a Brown-like 5-11 season as the team went fishing for an identity.
The blueprint is there, it’s always been there, they just need a new architect.