Throughout the years, the Ravens have been forced to make transactions and lose fan favorite players, but they have excelled at replacing them. A strong defensive core has always been at the heart of the Baltimore organization and no matter where the guys in the Ravens system seem to go, they are never as success on other teams as they were donning purple.
Look at Adalius Thomas’ career in New England, Jamie Sharper’s career in Houston or Duane Starks career in Arizona. All of those guys were on Baltimore’s defense in 2000, one that is looked at as the best in the franchise and among the top in NFL history.
Over recent years, Baltimore has lost a few key players from their roster to the New York Jets. After the Ravens second ranked defense took them to the AFC Championship in 2008, they lost their defensive coordinator Rex Ryan as he accepted the Jets head coaching vacancy to replace the recently fired Eric Mangini. Ryan took with him a talented and beloved Baltimore linebacker Bart Scott and a safety that helped keep together Baltimore’s shaky secondary, Jim Leonhard.
Ryan’s Jets went to back to back AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010, but this year failed to make the playoffs after an abysmal 8-8 season. As for Scott, or the Mad Backer as he became known in Baltimore, he’s currently being investigated by the NFL for making an obscene gesture toward a photographer as he cleaned out his locker on Monday after the Jets season fell flat with a loss in week 17 to the Miami Dolphins.
Scott’s on-field talents were always on display in Baltimore, but his emotions sometimes got the best of him. Remember when he hurled a referee’s flag into the stands during a dramatic 27-24 loss to the New England Patriots in 2007? As the Pats scored with a minute remaining in the game, Scott was flagged for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that killed the Ravens chances of tying and handing the Patriots their only regular season loss.
I am critical of the Ravens when I feel it is necessary, but I also try to give them credit where it is due. After the NFL lockout, the Ravens decided to part ways with veteran tight end Todd Heap and receiver Derrick Mason. I found these decisions to be crazy, ignoring the Ravens past history of replacing talent with the next man up. After Mason was traded from the Jets to the Texans and later cut by Houston, I admitted I was wrong. As for Heap, I’ve completely forgotten about him with the talents of the Ravens tight end tandem of Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson.
Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and host of the BSR Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @zamwi or send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.