The Baltimore Ravens defensive leaders over the last decade were Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Both of these players will not be lining up on defense for the Ravens in 2013. So, who will be the new voices of the defense?
Many fans immediately turn to former Defensive Player Of The Year Terrell Suggs when this question is raised and to a certain degree he is the logical choice. Suggs is definitely one of the more vocal players left on the team and when he is healthy he can be as dominant as any defensive player in the game. As far as leading by example goes Suggs may be the guy but as vocal as he is he is also a total goof ball and it may be up to someone else to take over the role of emotional leader.
Recently Denver Bronco's star linebacker Von Miller was quoted as saying that Elvis Dumervil was the rock that held their defense together. Will he bring that stability with him to his new team even though the Ravens are already laden with star players on defense? This could be why the Ravens were so adamant about signing him when he became available a few weeks ago. Perhaps coach Don Martindale saw the perfect opportunity for Dumervil to become the new emotional leader of this defense. Maybe that is why Elvis was so enticed to come here even though he could have returned to Denver for more immediate money.
There is no doubt that players like Chris Canty and Haloti Ngata will also lead by example but Canty will be a new face on anew team and Ngata is more the quiet type. Rolando McClain was the captain of the defense at Alabama that featured Terrence Cody and Cortney Upshaw. Perhaps being reunited with his collegiate alumni will help to bring out the leader in him once more. Although his play will dictate how much of a leader he is able to become on this new squad he has shown in his past that he is more than capable of being a leader amongst men. Unfortunately he was unable to step up in Oakland and help that organization get it together. Many hope the structure here in Baltimore will be more conducive to his leadership skills.
Lardarius Webb and Cory Graham will be held accountable for leadership in the secondary but without Reed that role will be up for grabs as well. Will new safety Michael Huff take on that role or will the Ravens use the draft to bring in fresh new leadership faces? Only time will tell.