When the Ravens lost or chose to say goodbye to key players like Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Anquan Boldin, Paul Kruger, Bernard Pollard and Dannel Ellerbe early this offseason, there were plenty of people wondering if the Ravens would be able to mount a strong defense of their Super Bowl title in 2013.
That feeling meant some criticism for General Manager Ozzie Newsome, although you’re hearing a lot less of that after the Ravens signed Elvis Dumervil, Michael Huff and others to make up for the departures on that side of the ball. Newsome met the media on Tuesday and took the opportunity to make it clear that he made choices he felt were in the best long-term interests of the team. And he took a swipe at his critics by strongly stating his opinion that the team isn’t going to suffer at all in the short term.
“We like our football team this year. I’d like for someone to tell us we’re not good enough to go to the playoffs right now. Can anyone say that? OK,” Newsome said, via Jim Corbett of USA Today. ”Well, then, we just wanted to make sure that when we looked downstream, we were able to keep the Torrey Smiths, the Dennis Pittas, guys we wanted to keep. And if you don’t make tough decisions this year, then it would be tougher to keep those guys in years to come.”
Newsome made it clear before the offseason got underway that he wouldn’t make deals to keep last year’s team together if he felt it would hinder the Ravens’ cap down the road. He followed through with that while also adding replacement pieces that should keep the team competitive this year without too much pain down the road. On paper, it looks like a job well done for Newsome, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given how consistently the Ravens have done well under Newsome.