If you took the pulse of the local fan base here in Baltimore, the start of the NFL off-season for the Baltimore Ravens has gotten off to a rocky one.
As they always do, the front office of the organization has a plan in place, knowing this time of year is not when a championship is won. This time of year is used to build the team with a strong draft, and smart free-agent signings to replace pieces gone.
The Ravens made another strong free agent signing last Friday, inking former Dallas Cowboys defense end Marcus Spears to a two-year deal worth $3.55 million after playing his first eight seasons in Dallas.
Spears, 30, will likely take his physical early this week and sign his deal here in Baltimore.
He joins Chris Canty as new members of the purple and black as the Ravens begin to rebuild a defensive line that received inconsistent play from members like Terrence Cody, nagging injuries all season long to Haloti Ngata and guys like Ma’ake Kemoeatu who filled in admirably but won’t return to the team in 2013.
The move for Spears gives the Ravens even more veteran depth as another guy who fits right into a 3-4 personnel scheme. Spears has dealt with injuries the last three seasons in Dallas, but from 2006-2009, missed just three games for the Cowboys. The Ravens will bank on him being healthy to give Ngata some help and be the type of monster up the middle he’s capable of being.
Ozzie Newsome‘s moves made so far seem to be a careful plan that he, among others in the front office are constructing; wanting big, strong lineman up front to have their way with offensive lines, letting a young – possibly just drafted – middle linebacker to get his feet wet, make plays and grow under the tutelage of linebackers coach, Ted Monachino.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees will likely stick to what worked last year, rotating lineman in to keep players fresh and to fit different looks they want to give.
Spears could win a starting job in training camp, but at worst, provide the type of depth the Ravens desperately seek as Spears seems much more capable of stopping the run, and not coming in with a reputation of sacking the quarterback. In eight NFL seasons, Spears has only recorded ten sacks.
This is a move Ravens fans should be happy with as Ozzie Newsome’s plan of rebuilding the defense with a good blend of veteran talent and youth through the draft has just begun.
Matt Lund is a contributor for BaltimoreSportsReport.com and co-host of the BSR Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @MattCLund