A new sheriff is at the helm of the Ravens defense.
Unlike a plethora of indecisive, second-year college students, sophomore pro and safety Matt Elam has declared his major for the upcoming season.
"I need to be that guy on the back end that lines guys up and takes control."
After strong safety James Ihedigbo animorphed into a Detroit Lion in March, Elam admitted his desire to lead the Ravens' defensive squad in 2014. We believe that this is highly feasible, especially now that he has a much stronger grasp on the defense. Much like how Ray Lewis used to do as the leader of the linebackers, Elam will be have to make defensive calls and ensure that guys are lined up correctly. That is a task that has some major importance as cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb look to continue with their late 2013 form and as the Ravens look to put a new face in at the nickle corner position. Elam's success in this role will mean success for the Ravens' secondary.
Way too early to call, but Elam and Ed Reed had similar numbers as rookies. I compared Elam's to Ed Reed's rookie campaign and discovered the following: Elam was eight tackles behind Reed's 85, six pass defensed and four interceptions short of pushing with the Baltimorean legend. Remember that Elam didn't start his first game until Week 2 and could've added to those numbers against the Broncos' high-octane offense in the (unfair) season "home" opener.
Our staff writer Matt Miselis wrote on how much the veterans, specifically the Ravens outspoken cornerback Lardarius Webb, are impressed with Elam's maturity and growth. The strong safety will retreat back to his natural habitat, and either rookie Terrence Brooks or newcomer veteran Darian Stewart will man the other half of the backend.
As for now -- the free safety race is quite close to call, lucky for them our beast editor Matthew Stevens (who actually has better coverage skills than both of them) isn't on the depth jam. Sorry, Raven_all_day, we'll let you know as soon as hear. I promise.Again, for now, the Ravens community has a whole 'lotta Haloti Ngata to look forward to in 2014. Slim Ray-dy (catching on yet?) is looking 'd*mn sexy on the field these days. Kelechi Osemele's back--well, it's still healing--but he's a standout at the OTAs nonetheless.
So what if Steve Smith Sr., Torrey Smith, Marlon Brown, Jacoby Jones and Dennis Pitta didn't make Bucky Brooks' list.
Matt Elam's defense wins championships.