Newspaper logo  
 
 
   Prediction: Ravens Will Win Superbowl

Sports:

Prediction: Ravens Will Win Superbowl

by Darrell Carter

The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a 7-9 won/lost 2002 season that employed the youngest team in the NFL history. Baltimore began the season with 19 rookies and first-year players, an NFL record.

Salary cap dumping was the battle cry last year, in which the embattled Ravens started 3rd year quarterback Chris Redman after veteran quarterback Elvis Grbac quit football in his prime. Redman became hurt six games into the season, and was relived by Jake Blake.

Blake’s 77.3% quarterback ratings were among the lowest in the American Football Conference. The injury bug continued to plague the Ravens, when All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis played only five-games, and defensive end Michael McCray played in six games.

This season will have all eyes focus on the quarterback position that will have the pundits second guessing if Chris Redman or 2003 first round pick Kyle Boller deserves to run the offense. Redman’s back injury is still a concern of the team, though Redman did not show any discomfort during the pre-season.

Let’s take a look at the 2003 campaign—by offense, defense, and special teams.

Quarterback: Offense will be key to this team making a drive for another Super Bowl hunt. At the quarterback position, either Redman or Boller must step-up during the season. Boller, a three-year starter in college, maintained a 101.9 quarterback rating over four years, while posting 48 interceptions against 36 touchdowns. If Redman’s back holds up throughout the season, Boller will have a difficult time unseating the four-year veteran.

Running Back: The incumbent Jamal Lewis will be seeking another 1000-plus season on the ground, with Alan Ricard serving as his blocking back. “Versatile and crafty” describes third down specialist Chester Taylor. Taylor will spell Lewis at the halfback position until rookie Musa Smith is fully recovered from injury. Rookie Ovie Mughelli will split time with veteran fullback Harold Morrow as the backup.

Wide Receiver: This position has been the Achilles heel of the team. Travis Taylor is expected to make that much-improved status a reality this season, especially with veterans Frank Sanders (currently injured at press time), Marcus Robinson, and second-year players Ron Johnson and Randy Hymes, all vying for receptions. Lurking in the background is former Morgan State (Baltimore) receiver Marc Lester, who played well in NFL Europe and the pre-season.

Offensive Line: Perennial All-Pro Jonathan Ogden and Edwin Mulitalo will anchor the offensive line on the left side, with Orlando Brown rejoining the team after a four-year absence at tackle. Center Mike Flynn is injured, and has been replaced by third-year center Casey Rabach. Bennie Anderson is expected to maintain the guard position on the right side on the line.

Defense: Defense is what won the Super Bowl for the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. Defense and offense is what will win this season. The Ravens are enduring a tough 16-games schedule that will see several non-conference projected playoff teams, including Oakland, San Francisco, Miami, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, and Seattle.

Defense alone this season is not enough to overcome the running style of Kansas City’s Priest Holmes or the dominating defense in Miami. Mike Nolan and the coaching staff experimented with the 3-4 defense last season that saw the defense drop to a dismal 22nd in the league. This season the experiment continues, though the young players have gained a year’s experience, and the addition of first-round pick linebacker/lineman Terrell Suggs and a healthy Ray Lewis should prove favorable to the Ravens’ defensive standings at the end of the season.

Defensive Line: Nose tackle Kelly Gregg impressed all NFL watchers during the pre-season play; he was overlooked nationally last season, but not by local fans. Gregg was voted the unsung hero of the ball club last season. Considered as too short (6’0”) and too small (310 lbs.) for the defensive line, Gregg posted 84 tackles (53 solo), and two sacks.

In his first year as the left defensive end, former Notre Dame star Anthony Weaver contributed with a solid rookie performance. The other side of the line saw a multitude of linemen who contributed to the team defense, finishing 13th against the rush and 26th against the pass overall in the league.

Linebacker: The shinning star of the team has always been the linebacker core. Ray Lewis’s injury last season brought us the emergence of Edgerton Hartwell, who led the team with 191 tackles (though Peter Boulware was chosen to the Pro-Bowl). The addition of Suggs, who came off the bench behind Cornell Brown, will cause offensive coordinators to map out their game plan based on the strength of the linebackers.

Defensive backs: This may be the best defensive backfield since the team last won the Super Bowl. The addition of veteran Cory Fuller and the coming-out party for strong safety Ed Reed will complement the talented cornerback Chris McAllister and the improvement of Gary Baxter. Coming off the bench in the nickel will be Will Demps.

Special teams: What makes the special teams so special is future Hall-of-Famer Matt Stover. Entering his 14th season, Stover is almost perfect in extra points conversion, going 366 for 369 in his great career. He has only missed one extra point in Ravens history.

The Baltimore Ravens’ talent has improved overall, and this reporter predicts they will return to championship status this year. Last year’s prediction in this newspaper was 5-11 won/lost record for the team; they finished 7-9 won/lost. This year I predict the team will finish the regular season 12-4 won/lost, and will go on to win the Superbowl.


Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on October 20, 2003.
  
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

12.17 40 Million Americans Depend on the Colorado River. It’s Drying Up.

12.17 Now we know: Air Pollution Makes You Stupid

12.17 What was agreed at COP24 in Poland and why did it take so long?

12.17 At last, divestment is hitting the fossil fuel industry where it hurts

12.17 I led the National Park Service. Ryan Zinke leaves lasting damage

12.17 Former fossil fuels lobbyist to head interior department as Zinke exits

12.15 World leaders are trying to make a climate deal in Poland — despite Trump

12.15 John Kerry: Forget Trump. We All Must Act on Climate Change. [Might he be a candidate for President in 2020?]

12.15 Black lung disease is still killing miners. The coal industry doesn't want to hear it [Trump loves Coal]

12.14 You, Too, Are In Denial of Climate Change

12.14 After 30 Years Studying Climate, Scientist Declares: "I've Never Been as Worried as I Am Today"

12.13 'Whoever You Are, Wherever You Are, We Need You': 15-Year-Old Greta Thunberg Calls for Global Climate Strike

12.12 In Early Holiday 'Gift to Polluters,' Trump Guts Protections for 60 Percent of Nation's Streams, Wetlands, and Waterways

12.12 An Indication of What's Coming': Melting at North and South Poles Worse Than Previously Thought [4:47 video]

News Media Matters

12.17 Make climate crisis top editorial priority, XR campaign urges BBC

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

12.18 'Not the Kind of Moral Leadership We Need': Critics Pounce After Schumer Refuses to Back Medicare for All

12.18 Chris Matthews Predicts Trump Could Resign ‘In The Coming Weeks’ [1:55 video]

12.17 Pennsylvania meltdown triggers Republican alarms

12.17 Floridians Voted to Restore Ex-Felons’ Voting Rights. But the Legislature Has a History of Ignoring Voters.

12.17 Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out

12.17 SNL cold open imagines a world where Trump isn’t president, angering the real-life Trump [8:55 video]

12.15 What the Hell Is Wrong With Paul Ryan? [”The Saudi check is in the mail.”]

12.15 Scott Walker signs bills to limit powers of incoming Wisconsin Democrats [Immoral people cheat, etc.]

12.15 Paying Congress’s interns a living wage is a good idea. Paying professional staff one is even better.

12.15 Trump science adviser casts doubt on links between pollution and health problems [Consider the ignorant/bribed source.]

12.15 How Republicans are turning US states into labs of anti-democracy

Justice Matters

12.18  'Confuse, distract' / Russian propagandists targeted African Americans to influence 2016 US election

12.14 The Trump inauguration is now being criminally investigated

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

12.18 This Radical Plan to Fund the ‘Green New Deal’ Just Might Work

12.15 Top House Democrats join Elizabeth Warren’s push to fundamentally change American capitalism

12.14 A World That Is the Property of the 1%: Wall Street, Banks, and Angry Citizens

International & Futurism

12.18 Hungary’s prime minister stole the country’s democracy. Now Hungarians are rising up.

12.18 Migrant family who fled tear gas at U.S. border seeks asylum

12.18 181 Nations Just Voted to Help Refugees. Only the Far-Right United States and Hungary Voted "No"

12.17 The Guardian view on COP24: while climate talks continue, there is hope

12.15 How to do good better [Republicans may not understand this story]

12.15 Denmark gives new fathers paid leave. Why do so few take it? [Audio clip]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web

Public Service Ads: