Check out our Extremely Premature Baltimore Ravens 2009 Preview and our Offense Preview.
The Ravens had an off year in 2007, especially defensively. In 2008, however, the team rebounded to post a dominant year in which they, yet again, didn’t allow a 100-yard rusher, while forcing turnover after turnover after turnover.
The Ravens’ defense should go into 2009 even better. On the defensive line, Trevor Pryce is going into a contract year, Kelly Gregg is coming back 100 percent healthy, and Haloti Ngata is playing his natural position—defensive end. The Ravens actually have some capable backups, in Dwan Edwards, Brandon McKinney, and now, Paul Kruger.
Image Courtesy of the Baltimore Sun
The Ravens linebacking core has always been dominant. 2009 should be no exception. Ray Lewis goes into the season playing under a new contract, Terrell Suggs goes in trying to earn the long term extension he wants, Jarrett Johnson is developing into a very good linebacker, and Tavares Gooden should benefit immensely under the tutelage of the trio.
Unfortunately, the Ravens weren’t able to retain Bart Scott, but as Terrell Suggs said: “you can’t always have your big brother fight for you.”
This Baltimore team finally has young, stingy cornerback play. Last year, the Ravens had Samari Rolle and Chris McAlister lined up to start before the season. But now, it’s 25 year olds Fabian Washington, Domonique Foxworth, and possibly Chris Carr if injury occurs.
The comforting thing for the Ravens is that these corners can make up for it with playing speed. If Chris McAlister or Samari Rolle get burned, you can basically forget about the receiver getting tackled. With Foxworth or Washington, you can count on it.
Ed Reed is a playmaker. We know this.
But something that will be crucial for the Ravens as a defense going into next season is the health of Dawan Landry. He was victim to a concussion last season in a 28-10 victory over Cleveland in Week Three, but returns healthy for 2009.
Folks, remember, this is a Dawan Landry who had 70 tackles, five interceptions, and scored a defensive touchdown as a rookie in 2006. Ed Reed, we don’t have to worry about. He’s going to get his seven interceptions, block his punts, and score his three defensive touchdowns.