Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Ravens keep getting younger, more athletic
By Jamison Hensley
The Baltimore Ravens officially released Vonta Leach on Tuesday, continuing a trend of getting younger and more athletic.
In the Super Bowl, the Ravens started seven players over the age of 30. There is only one (offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie) in Baltimore's projected starting lineup right now.
While the Ravens didn't rule out Leach's return, Baltimore has parted ways with eight players who were over the age of 30 from last season's championship team: linebacker Ray Lewis (37 years old) and center Matt Birk (36) retired; safety Ed Reed (34) signed elsewhere; nose tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu (34) hasn't been re-signed; wide receiver Anquan Boldin (32) was traded; and Leach (31), linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (36) and guard Bobbie Williams (36) were released.
The Ravens also lost the core of their physical identity with the departures of Lewis, Boldin, safety Bernard Pollard and now Leach. I'm not suggesting the Ravens will be softer, but they will be more athletic. The Ravens might replace Lewis with a sideline-to-sideline linebacker like Arthur Brown. They could go with a deep threat like Jacoby Jones or Deonte Thompson to fill Boldin's wide receiver spot. They'll have faster safeties like Matt Elam and Michael Huff to take over for Pollard. And they'll turn to a more versatile fullback in Kyle Juszczyk after releasing Leach.
So, to sum it up, there are not just new players on the Ravens. They're younger and different type players.