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Does Newsome see Ravens as bounce-back team?

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When Around The NFL ranked the AFC North as the top division in all the land, the Ravens had plenty to do with it.

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Baltimore bottomed out at 5-11 last season, but the ultra-consistent Ravens loom as a popular bounce-back candidate. General manager Ozzie Newsome, though, isn't ready to print playoff tickets in April.

"I think I can probably answer that better after about the third preseason game," Newsome said, per the team's official website.

Still, the Ravens weren't a bad club last season. Their hideous record was more a result of the injury bug gnawing away at the roster. Quarterback Joe Flacco went down with a torn ACL, while wideout Steve Smith, running back Justin Forsett, pass rusher Terrell Suggs, center Jeremy Zuttah, tight end Crockett Gillmore and first-round receiver Breshad Perriman all missed major time.

All those players will be back, along with a handful of key free-agent additions in Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle, deep threat Mike Wallace and tight end Benjamin Watson. Did we mention the Ravens also have the sixth-overall pick?

Still, Newsome took the cautious route, saying: "If you listen to some of the other people in the business, it normally takes you through the first four games (of the regular season) before you find out what team you really have. So we will take that same path in trying to find out where this team is going to be."

Newsome isn't about to sing the praises of his roster five months before the opener, but there's no general manager we trust more to patch up holes and deliver a winner than Ozzie. They'll be back.

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