The Baltimore Ravens were the defending Super Bowl Champs in 2013, but failed to make the playoffs to defend their title. Inconsistency on offense ultimately kept them from repeating. The running game was non-existent for much of the year and quarterback Joe Flacco had no go to guy on 3rd downs to keep the chains moving.
Several additions made in the off season were made to rectify those problems. Gary Kubiak, formerly the Houston Texans head coach, was signed as the new offensive co-ordinator. Look for more of a zone blocking scheme in the running game and quick twitch pass plays with play action. Steve Smith may have been the best pick up. He brings veteran saavy and attitude to the receivers corps something that was missing last year. Look below for the other key additions that should help the team get back to the post season in 2014.
Steve Smith – Wide Receiver
Steve Smith, ex-Carolina Panther, brings veteran experience and attitude to the Ravens receiving group. With tight end Dennis Pita coming back from an injury in 2012 later in the 2013 season and receiver Anquan Boldin leaving for San Francisco the Ravens did not have someone with the toughness to attack the middle of the field and give quarterback Joe Flacco a go to guy on key 3rd downs. Smith’s presence should help in those situations.
C.J. Mosley – Linebacker
C.J. Mosley is an every down type linebacker who plays fast sideline to sideline. He was the Ravens 1st round draft choice in the 2014 NFL Draft. Mosley will instantly upgrade the middle linebacker position. He is a solid tackler and can drop into coverage and cover backs and tight ends with his athleticism and quickness. He could very well be the missing piece to make the linebacking group the best overall in the NFL.
Timmy Jernigan – Defensive Tackle
Timmy Jernigan had a 1st round grade by many scouts, but fell in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Ravens. This could be one of the steals of the draft. Jernigan has a great motor and provides interior pass rush. He has a knack for making plays in the backfield for losses. Jernigan should be a good rotational guy in the beginning. If he upgrades his techniques and becomes a more consistent player he will become a solid starter.
Jeremy Zuttah – Center
Jeremy Zuttah comes over from Tampa Bay via trade. Baltimore had troubles with their inside running game all season. The Ravens expect Zuttah to upgrade the production at center to help with line adjustments and overall interior blocking. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice should benefit the most with his presence.
Terrence Brooks – Safety
Terrence Brooks was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He brings versatility to the defensive backfield. Brooks has enough playing speed and range to cover slot receivers and protect the deep zones. He plays with physicality and will bring the wood. Has good instincts to play free safety. Regardless of where he lines up, he will give good effort.