Rob Long: When The Dust Settles
It would be easy for me to tell you not to panic right now. After witnessing what some believe to be the demise of the Baltimore Ravens, now would probably be a bad time to convince you not to panic.
The Ravens have lost several starters from this year’s Superbowl winning team and even if it’s just sentimental, fans are not understanding this current roster shake up. Ray Lewis and Matt Birk both retired so there will not be the sting of seeing those two play for other teams. They’ve ended their careers on positive notes and with the Purple and Black.
However, Anquan Boldin, Paul Kruger, Bernard Pollard, and Dannell Ellerbe will line up for other teams in 2013. All four players made major contributions to the championship run during the 2012 season. Now, they’ll do their best to dethrone the same team they fought for.
Maybe the “Great Exodus” isn’t over. Ed Reed is currently on his free agent tour, with trips scheduled for Houston and San Francisco. Who wouldn’t want to sign Reed, right? Of course, if the price is right.
The Ravens offensive line started to play a lot better when Head Coach John Harbaugh decided to put Bryant McKinnie at left tackle after an injury to Jah Reid. Now, McKinnie is a free agent, leaving uncertainties on the team’s offensive line for a $120 million quarterback.
We’ve all read, in the past, about riffs between Harbaugh and certain players. Maybe these departures have something to do with that and maybe not. Either way, one thing we know for sure. John Harbaugh is about to face his greatest challenge ever. He’s going to have to find leadership to replace the dominant figures he just lost. It will be difficult, but not impossible.