USA TODAY Sports
If the Baltimore Ravens hope to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, they will have to follow a similar road as they did last year, with key players filling each of these roles.
Enforcer: For the past 17 years, the only guy who would easily fill this role has been Ray Lewis. However, with his retirement, that title is now up for grabs and the hardest hitter on this team is now strong safety Bernard Pollard. BP brings the wood on every pay, just ask the New England Patriots. The NFL and their officials may not approve of his play, but Ravens fans and NFL players around the league, know he earns this title every game.
Brain: One could also argue that Ray held this title as well, but the guy who seems to know where the ball is going better than anyone else is free safety Ed Reed.The ball-hawking center-fielder may not be the tackler he once was, but no one watches tape like him and knows opposing QB's tendencies.
Technician: Center Matt Birk, who easily could have been the "Brain" of the team, always used great technique to move bigger, faster and stronger players. With his retirement imminent, right guard Marshal Yanda comes to mind for the same exact reasons, which probably is why he was chosen to represent the Baltimore Ravens in the Pro Bowl. TE Dennis Pitta would also be a great choice for this title.
Loose Cannon: Even though QB Joe Flacco let loose his cannon arm in the post season, one could never give him the title of the team's "loose cannon." LB Terrell Suggs is another story, as he is known to say what he feels however and whenever he wants. His trash-talking debates with ESPN First Take's Skip Bayless are legendary and you never know what next is coming form T-Sizzle's mouth!
Motivator: It would be easy to name Ed Reed or Terrell Suggs as the obvious motivator, but we are looking ahead to the 2013 season and I see this as Joe Flacco's team now, as even Ray Lewis handed him the scepter to be the new leader of this team. Flacco's postseason performance will elevate him to not only the leader of the offense, but the voice of the team for years to come, as all this "Will Flacco Stay" stuff is a waste of time, since everyone knows Joe will be here in Baltimore for a long, long time.
Prankster: Hmmm..on a team with a lot of personalities, we'd have to be a spider on the wall of the locker room to know who is the team's practical jokester. I wouldn't be surprised at all to find out RB Ray Rice is the goofball of the team, as he is always smiling and quick to laugh at any time.
Muscle: When you look at the success that the aforementioned Rice has had running the ball, a lot of it is due to having the road ahead of him cleared by FB Vonta Leach, easily the best fullback in the game. Leach has laid out the best players on the opposing defenses game-after-game and if you've ever seen the guy close-up, you wouldn't argue with this title being bestowed upon him.
What's your take on these titles and players?