The Baltimore Ravens certainly have a good roster going into 2015. Their superb season last year and the return of several key players ensures that the Ravens will be competitors once again. But did they do enough this offseason to give them the NFL’s best roster?
The conversation started after Pro Football Focus and ESPN combined forces to rank all 32 team rosters. According to them, the Ravens have the third best roster overall, but the best of any AFC team. It was a lofty prediction considering that the Ravens will start several rookies in 2015.
Expectations then went even higher for Baltimore when ESPN analyst and former AFC rival Tedy Bruschi announced that he thought the Ravens had the league’s best roster, not the third best.
“In terms of talent, the No.1 roster, I’m gonna go to Baltimore,” Bruschi said on an episode of SportsCenter. “You have a quarterback, I call him ‘Flip Switch’ in Joe Flacco. I mean, he can flip the switch whenever he wants when he gets to the playoffs.”
The new nickname Bruschi came up with for Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco certainly is fitting. Despite performing subpar during the regular season at times, Flacco has a career playoff record of 10-5 and has thrown for 25 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions once the calendar turns to January. He certainly seems to ‘flip the switch’ once the playoffs come around, so the nickname can probably stay.
Although Flacco was a big reason for Bruschi’s thoughts of the Ravens’ roster, it certainly wasn’t the only reason he picked them as the league’s best.
“I’m really combining a great offensive line with a good defensive front seven,” Bruschi continued. “I think that is a huge aspect in having rosters and building it.”
Bruschi continued even further into his love of the Ravens’ roster as he adamantly defended his choice for the best NFL roster.
“Steve Smith brings the toughness, you’ve got the solid offensive line, Rick Wagner’s a young player, they’ve got Brandon Williams, they’ve got Timmy Jernigan on the defensive line, can really have a great year, that would really help the loss of Ngata, the linebackers are great,” Bruschi said.
Clearly he likes the Ravens’ roster and thinks the sky is the limit for Baltimore in 2015.
Now despite Bruschi’s infatuation with the Ravens, there are some series question marks surrounding Baltimore’s roster.
As it stands right now, it appears that the Ravens will start two rookies on the offensive side of the football (tight end Maxx Williams and receiver Breshad Perriman). Although both players did very well in college and they have all the tools to be successful in the NFL, you cannot assume that both of them will have a smooth transition. In addition, it will take time for Flacco to develop a rhythm in the passing game with both players.
Moving to the defensive side of the football, they have big shoes to fill with the loss of former Pro Bowl defensive lineman Haloti Ngata. Ngata had been the centerpiece for the Ravens’ defense for the last nine years and was a main catalyst for their success. Baltimore will certainly miss him.
Now most people expect Ravens lineman Timmy Jernigan to help replace Ngata on the defensive line. Although Jernigan has a lot of talent, to expect the second-year player to replace a perennial All-Pro is a bit far-fetched, to say the least.
So the Ravens do have a good roster, but to say it is the best in the league is a bit of a stretch. They have a few too many question marks to be decided the best before any football is played.