The safety position has always been a point of strength for the Baltimore Ravens. Despite losing their best safety of all time, I think the Ravens are still in really good shape. Ozzie Newsome has always believed that you need to build a defense up the middle; much like a GM in baseball does the same with the catcher, shortstop and centerfielder.
Over the years, the safety duos the Ravens have employed have given them the ability to win. It all started with Rod Woodson and Kim Herring. They anchored arguably one of the best defenses in NFL history. The Ravens then drafted Ed Reed and he played with Will Demps (which included a very funny scene of them doing rock-paper-scissors to see would blitz on a particular play), Dawan Landry and Bernard Pollard. Other than a few odd years, the safety tandem at the back of the Ravens defense was set by the time training camp rolled around.
Michael Huff and Matt Elam have some big shoes to fill, but I think they should be more than capable of doing it. Like in many seasons past, there is a hitter and a pass defender. Ed Reed had the pass defender positioned locked up for a decade, but that has since come to an end. I am very excited about Michael Huff. He is a solid player who started his career in a terrible situation. Is there a bigger change of scenery than going from the Oakland Raiders to the Baltimore Ravens? Huff will play the pass defender role, which he has excelled at in recent year. Huff also has improved his one-on-one ability by playing a bit of corner in Oakland. This will give the Ravens the ability to blitz and not be afraid of the slot receiver burning the safety. Elam brings a similar level of excitement. He is an athletic freak who will play the role of hitter, which is something that he loves to do. I think Elam is a great replacement for Bernard Pollard.
Huff and Elam began developing a rapport in this week’s mini-camp. Huff even tweeted that Elam might need to drive him back to Texas because his flight was cancelled. Coupled with Corey Graham, Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith, the Ravens could have one of the best secondaries they have ever had. I think these guys might be in Charm City for a long time.