Baltimore Ravens Only Getting Better

Sam SnyderCorrespondent IApril 2, 2009

BALTIMORE - DECEMBER 07:  Running back Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens eludes Washington runs the ball in first quarter against the Washington Redskins December 7, 2008 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Despite defensive losses, the Ravens will only get better. Bart Scott is the most high profile loss. However, Bart Scott is only good with a pair of strong linebackers at his side, which, quite frankly, NYJ is lacking. Brendon Ayanbadejo (three-time Pro Bowler), Jameel McClain and Antwaan Barnes are all ready to take his spot.

Dawan Landry is ready to take the spot of Jim Leonhard, and re-team with Ed Reed However, a void is left in the kick returns as Leonhard had a breakout season, and Yamon Figurs had a poor kick return season.

Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs both return, making a deadly LB pair.

The new additions to the defense include cornerbacks Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr. Foxworth is a young, promising corner with strong hands and the speed to match. The only negative is his small size, which can prevent him from adequately covering larger receivers, which also affected opposite corner Fabian Washington.

Chris Carr is another addition. Although a cornerback, he is going to fill the void
left by Jim Leonhard on returns, as he helped the Titans reach an NFL best 13-3 record.

Matt Birk, is a Pro Bowl center from the Vikings, now on the Ravens. He is the centerpiece of the O-line that is improving with every game. Jared Gaither, Willie Anderson, and Chris Chester, will join him in protecting Joe Flacco.

Speaking of which, coming of a 2004-5 Ben Roethlisberger-esque season (minus the 15-1 record). Joe Flacco has shown himself a capable runner, game manager, and passer with a cannon for an arm.

Willis McGahee, who started the season slow, but finished strong near the end of the season, returns as a short yardage runner and screen passer. Despite a bone crushing, brutal (yet legal) hit at the end of the season by Steelers FS Ryan Clark, the damage isn't permanent, despite maybe a drop in a few IQ points.

All-Pro FB/RB Le'ron McClain is coming off arguably one of the best seasons for a fullback ever, is emerging as a power-back with size, strength, and speed.

Ray Rice, a rookie from Rutgers, is quite possibly one of the fastest backs in the league. With good blocking and some fancy moves, Ray Rice can drive down 50 yards in a single plat, yet always end up short of the goal line.

Derrick Mason, a golden oldie, has become Flaccos's favorite receiver, being the most consistent receiver. Mark Clayton, although inconsistent is still capable of making great plays and improves with every year.

Tight ends Todd Heap and LJ Smith return as both blocking and receiving TE's.

Despite a few losses, the Baltimore Ravens will be back and better than ever. Just a little tweaking and some new receivers are the route to make the Ravens Super Bowl contenders.