I know it’s difficult to deviate from the craziness that is March Madness right now, but I thought I’d touch on a few things going on in the Baltimore Ravens camp.
The Ravens are an eclectic mix of key players returning, while others have moved on. Some moves make sense, some tug at our football hearts. It’s been a crazy offseason that I haven’t fully processed yet. So many changes, so many moves.
So far, we have seen Torrey Smith, Haloti Ngata, Bernard Pierce and the Jacoby Jones (I had to) leave the Ravens squad. We have also seen some other intriguing moves around the league, including some organizational decisions and some players’ decisions (see Chris Borland). Needless to say, the Ravens look a bit different.
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The Ravens can easily be considered the most thick-skinned team. Baltimore, as of late, is a team that’s been through it all with how they’ve endured salary cap issues and huge controversies.
How many Ravens from the 2012 Super Bowl winning squad are still on the team? Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs come to mind, but that’s about where it ends. Baltimore has certainly been busy shuffling things around.
So it begs the question: which player are the Ravens going to miss the most?
Baltimore certainly has a few questions on offense at the wide receiver position, but the more glaring hole certainly came on defense in the secondary where they struggled all season. That being said, the Ravens will miss mostly the player who anchored the defensive line for nine seasons: Haloti Ngata.
All of us were certainly heartbroken to see Ngata go. Especially after the immense amount of class he showed speaking highly of the Ravens in the midst of his departure.
What the Ravens are going to miss most about Haloti is obviously his play. He was the cornerstone of a defense that ranked seventh in the league with arguably the worst secondary the Ravens have ever had. That fact was made even more apparent late in the 2014 season when Ngata was absent for a four-game stretch. His return during the playoffs said it all.
Pittsburgh never had a chance. Could not run the ball. Could not protect Big Ben. Haloti Ngata devoured the Steelers’ offensive line which allowed T-Sizzle to put on a pass-rushing clinic. Ngata simply elevates the game of the players around him. At the toughest position behind quarterback to fill, players of Ngata’s caliber do not come around often.
Sadly, the salary cap and the inability to reach a new deal has seen the Baltimore Ravens send Ngata to the Detroit Lions. A move that left the rest of us wondering, “Who are we going to get now?”
The Baltimore Ravens, like many other teams, are rebuilding. Many familiar faces aren’t so familiar anymore. Many impact players are gone. Out of all we’ve seen, who are we going to miss the most. To me, it’s not even a debate.
Ngata, you will be greatly remembered and missed.
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