Defensive Coordinator: Dean Pees
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Fantasy Football Outlook: Turnover is a word that comes to mind when looking at the Ravens roster moves this off-season. While it was a great finish for Ray Lewis and Ed Reed in Baltimore, the defense struggled at times through the 2012 season and because of cap problems, GM Ozzie Newsome was left with no choice but to move on from valuable veterans on both sides of the football.
Still, Baltimore has done some positive things this off-season as they picked up Elvis Dumervil in free agency and drafted linebacker Arthur Brown and safety Matt Elam in the draft. Both rookies have a chance to start year one, and should be fixtures in Baltimore’s defensive plans for years to come.
With Dumervil on the team (coupled with Terrell Suggs over a year removed from his Achilles injury), I like Baltimore’s odds to increase their sack total to over 40 this year, but don’t look to this group as more than a matchup play option.
It will take some time for a group that lost seven starters from a year ago to learn and trust playing with one another as a group. Not to mention the leadership void that will be felt with Lewis and Reed both gone.
In the end, Baltmore is one of the better franchises in the NFL, and they still have terrific leadership from upper management on down to the coaching staff. They will make a run at the playoffs this year, but expect them to go through some ups and downs in 2013.
Summer of 2012: Fantasy Projections
Sorry Ravens fans but you can’t talk about this defense without mentioning the Terrell Suggs injury. While Suggs says he will return later in the season, it’s likely he’s done for the year after tearing his Achilles tendon.
Before his injury, I was all set to rank this group as the top defense in fantasy, especially after they added Courtney Upshaw in the draft.
This is still one of the top three defenses to target on draft day, as they will continue to play well without their top pass rusher, but Upshaw will need to contribute, early on.
Summer of 2011: Fantasy Projections
The Ravens needed help at corner and drafted talented youngster Jimmy Smith in the first round of the draft. While Smith should make an impact right away I would still like to see them add a veteran. Thankfully the Ravens are in the running for Nnamdi Asomugha as he is one of the few cover corners in football but will come at a big price.