Pro Football Teams


Baltimore Ravens:

Ravens and Lewis trying to rush back into the playoffs

The Baltimore Ravens franchise wasn’t always the Baltimore Ravens. Before the 1996 season the team was the Cleveland Browns. Then owner of the team, Art Modell, announced a few months before the season started that the team would up and move to Baltimore. Needless to say, the fans were outraged and that is the reason why there is a rivalry between the two teams when they meet on the field. The Baltimore Ravens have had a great deal of success since the move to Baltimore. In 1999 the team brought in new head coach Brian Billick and since then the team has gone 51-34, has won one NFL divisional championship, and made three postseason appearances. The most memorable of the three postseason trips came during the 2000 season. The Ravens had ridden their defense all the way through the season and were on a seven game winning streak going into the playoffs. The defense was what that team was all about and many say that they were the greatest defense they had ever seen. As far as statistics go they were the best defensive team ever holding opponents to just a hair over 10 points a game. The team only gave up 970 yards rushing all year and only gave up 2.69 yards per carry. The Ravens won their first three playoff games and earned their way into the Super Bowl. In those three games they only gave up 16 points. In the Super Bowl the Ravens matched up against the New York Giants who had been riding the hot arm of their quarterback Kerry Collins. The game was supposed to be the collision of two super powers and ended up being the Ravens smashing into the Giants. The Ravens didn’t allow an offensive touchdown and won the game 34-7. Linebacker Ray Lewis was named the MVP of the game.

Last season was a good season for the Ravens; maybe not as good as they would’ve liked it, but still a good season. The team finished 10-6 and won their first divisional title in Ravens history. Running back Jamal Lewis fell 49 yards short of breaking the single season rushing record running for 2,066 yards becoming the 5 th person to ever rush for 2,000 yards in one season. They sent a franchise record eight players to the Pro Bowl. In the first round of the playoffs, the Ravens went up against the Tennessee Titans whom they had beaten in their last five meetings. The game was close and the Titans won the game as time was running out when kicker Gary Anderson nailed a 46 yard field goal with 29 second left to put them up 20-17.

In the off-season the Ravens felt they just needed time to grow as a team and only signed one free agent, cornerback Dale Carter. The Ravens went out and got Jaguars wide receiver Kevin Johnson and sent the Jags a 4 th round pick in return for him. The team also made a trade for troubled San Francisco wide receiver Terrell Owens that would later be nixed by Owens. Owens said he wouldn’t play for Baltimore and that he would rather play for Philadelphia. The 49ers then traded a 5 th round pick to the Ravens as compensation to pull back the trade and sent Owens to the Eagles. To say the least, leader Ray Lewis was not happy how Owens disrespected the Ravens organization. The teams will meet up in week 8 at Philadelphia.

In the draft the Ravens didn’t make a pick in the 1st round but had a pick in the 2 nd round. With that pick they chose Oregon State defensive tackle Dwan Edwards. The 302 pound lineman will be a good fit at nose tackle in the Ravens 3-4 defense. With their 3 rd round pick Baltimore elected to take Washington State wide receiver Devard Darling. He should give some added depth to an otherwise thin Baltimore receiving corps.

The Ravens have a good offense, they won’t go out and score 30 points every week, but they do enough to get wins. Jamal Lewis is arguably the best running back in all of football and they have a solid offensive line coming back. Tight end Todd Heap is in the same class as Tony Gonzalez when it comes to catching the ball and is basically a wide receiver playing from the tight end position. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Boller will need to take some of the work load off of Lewis because no one has ever had two 2000 yard seasons, much less two in a row.

The defense is what the Ravens are all about. The attacking unit is led by Ray Lewis who has won a number of Defensive Player of the Year awards in his career. They fly around and swarm to the ball, making them an exciting team to watch and helping the team to continually sell out tickets to M&T Bank Stadium. They run a 3-4 defense which is confusing to most teams because the Ravens can send a blitz from any of the four linebackers they have on the field. Other standouts on the defense are cornerback Chris McAlister, linebacker Peter Boulware, linebacker Adalius Thomas, linebacker Terrell Suggs, and safety Ed Reed.

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