The Ravens defense looks a lot different than it has in the past. The absence of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis will be sorely missed, but the Ravens have retooled and gotten younger. The team has picked up key assets in Elvis Dumervil and Michael Huff as well as drafting a safety in the first round of the draft.
I think this Ravens defense is a bit of an unknown. Their two mainstays are gone. The theme of this year’s Ravens defense will be pass rushing. Having Terrell Suggs and Dumervil coming off the edges should be one of the deadliest combinations in the NFL. To neutralize this, I think that teams will run a lot of screens as well as run the ball at the edges.
Teams are going to try and take advantage of the Ravens inexperience. The Ravens will probably have two rookie starters in Arthur Brown and Matt Elam. I think teams might be able to have some success isolating these two in coverage in the early games as they get used to the NFL speed.
I also think that the Ravens could be vulnerable in the middle of their line. Terrence Cody has had some very bad moments as a Raven and will need to improve to give Haloti Ngata the help that he needs.
Lastly, I think teams will try and keep the ball in the middle of the field. The strength of the Ravens defense beyond their pass rush is probably their corners. Cory Graham had a breakout year last year and Lardarius Webb is back from injury. If they can stay healthy and Jimmy Smith can continue to improve, I think this will be a very good unit.
The Ravens defense will certainly be different without Ray and Ed, but I am very excited about this unit.