Heading into training camp, the Ravens biggest issues are pretty evident.
On defense, they have to find a way to pressure opposing quarterbacks without Terrell Suggs, who is out indefinitely with a torn Achilles.
Offensively, all eyes are on their offensive line, which is not getting any younger with center Matt Birk (36), guard Bobbie Williams (35) and tackle Bryant McKinnie (32) expected to populate the left side.
Throw in right-siders Marshall Yanda (27) and Michael Oher (26) and the units total age is 156, for an average of more than 31 years per person. Thats a violation of ESPNs John Claytons Theory of 150, which holds that anytime a lines total age surpasses 150 years, trouble is lurking.
With that in mind, the lines performance in 2011 bears a closer inspection. The people at Pro Football Focus looked at the films of every game, pulled out their abacus and ranked the Ravens line as the NFLs eighth best, which isnt bad.
There were times when the Ravens line looked a lot worse than this, but thanks to a strong interior, they stayed in the Top 10 for a third year running, Pro Football Focus wrote. The obvious problem spots occurred at tackle and whenever Andre Gurode got on the field. It really showed up in the playoffs against some motivated defensive lines.
According to the article, the teams best lineman last season was not the departed Ben Grubbs, but Marshal Yanda, who just so happens to be the best right guard in the NFL.
As for the worst player, according to the article, it would be Gurode, but given that he was depth thrust into the lineup because of injury (and he was playing an unfamiliar position), well cut him some slack and instead turn to Bryant McKinnie. For such a big guy you feel like he should do more when he gets his hands on defenders.
Gurode is gone after the Ravens elected not to re-sign him, and Grubbs, last years starting left tackle, also is gone, having signed with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent. Bobbie Williams is his replacement.
Its a veteran group that played fairly well at times in 2011 before struggling in the playoffs. How it holds up in 2012 could have a major impact on the arc of the Ravens season.