Kinkhabwala: The Raven Way
- The Ravens are coming off a Super Bowl title and general manager Ozzie Newsome still made the decision to reconfigure the machine. Yes, salary-cap constraints forced his hand in some instances. But Newsome didn't allow goodwill to stop him from letting several name brands head elsewhere. The Ravens have 36 new players on their roster, an unheard level of turnover for a defending champ. It's unconventional, but Newsome has earned the benefit of the doubt.
- Joe Flacco, the stage is yours. The mild-mannered quarterback put the Ravens on his back in the 2012 playoffs in a performance that acted as the greatest contract push in the history of American sports. He won't put up stats to match that fat salary, but the Ravens know they have a player whom they can count on to step up in accordance with the stakes. It's an Eli Manning-like trait that's hard to quantify but certainly worth paying for.
- The Ravens are putting a lot of expectations on wide receiver Torrey Smith. The decision to part ways with Anquan Boldin was purely financial, but it puts Smith in a position where he needs to become more than the high-end deep threat he was during his first two seasons. We're not quite sold on Jacoby Jones on the opposite side, either. This is a positional group to watch.
- You want an underrated free-agent signing? How about Daryl Smith, who could go a long way toward fortifying the Ravens at inside linebacker following the departure of Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe. Smith's final season with the Jacksonville Jaguars was blown up by a groin injury, but he's a tackling machine who should fit well into Baltimore's scheme.
- What can we expect from Terrell Suggs? He wasn't close to the same player after returning from a torn Achilles last year. He showed up at offseason workouts significantly trimmer, but it's fair to wonder if Suggs -- who turns 31 in October -- will ever get back to being the player who took home Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2011. If he does, look out. Suggs and Elvis Dumervil could be a terror for opposing quarterbacks.