The season is all over, the Ravens are world champions and Ray Lewis walks off with another ring.
Now the other season begins, the offseason... What do the Ravens have to do, to repeat?
1. Lock up Flacco.
Cool Joe proved he is the franchise quarterback, now pay him.
In Flacco's early years the team was build around the defense, that time is up... Now we need to build a team around Joe Flacco, and a lot of the pieces are already there.
2. Re-sign Ed Reed.
I really don't think the Ravens can allow Ed to leave. With Ray retiring i really think this needs to be done. He doesn't play on the same level he used to, but neither did Lewis. Reed needs to be on this defense until the end, he's a leader and thats what this defense needs the most. I think that if Joe doesn't get the franchise tag, you hit Reed with it, even if Ozzie said that no player but Flacco would get the tag.
If Ravens can do anything, it's building a team through the draft. Of the other free agents i think the Ravens should have there top priority on Ellerbe. With McClain coming back from injury i could see Ellerbe taking over, if signed i think we are set on Linebackers, we drafted Upshaw last year, and with Suggs getting back on track i think Kruger gets to walk.
Cary Williams is also a free agent, but i don't see them resigning him either. With Webb coming back, and Smith on the other side i think they draft a corner in 4th or 5th round and let Williams walk.
4. Offensive Line.
Over the season the Ravens shifted the O-Line multiple times, due to injury, but when the post season came they got it right.
McKinnie is a free agent, and i with a tight cap, i don't see them resigning him.
i think they move Oher back to left tackle, and Osemele back over to the right.
Soon to be unrestricted free agent quarterback Joe Flacco will be looking for the big paycheck this offseason.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported that Flacco will be looking for about $20 million dollars on average per year. This season Peyton Manning, a first ballot Hall of Famer made $18 million in denver. So the question is, Should Joe Flacco get that Manning/Brees contract?
My answer - Yes, pay the man! Flacco is coming of a career season, and under new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell he has looked like a totally different guy.
Since he was drafted in 2008 has never missed a snap and if there is something a team wants in a quarterback, it's that he can stay healthy!
There was some talk about a new contract before the year, but a deal was never done and Flacco and his agent said he would play out the last year of his contract, in hopes of maybe earning some extra money. Well, Flacco came out on top in that deal. Now he's in New Orleans preparing for the Super Bowl after outplaying Peyton Manning in Denver, then took to Boston to outplay Tom Brady and the leagues best offense.
If the Ravens and Flacco can't reach a new deal before free agency, the Ravens will use the franchise tag, that will pay Flacco $14.6 million a year and it would give the two sides till July to work out a long-term deal.
What should the 49'ers do to put the game out of reach for the Ravens?
The 49'ers are probably the most ''complete'' team in the NFL, but if they want to win they have to fix the problems there secondary have had in the last few games.
They led up 396 yards passing against the Falcons, and most of those yards where because of bad communication and errors. Dashon Goldson would often bite on small double moves from Julio Jones and Jones would come free over the top a lot!
Their Run D was as good as usually, and thats what you expect with the type of front seven they have.
One matchup to look for is Bryant McKinnie vs. Aldon Smith, Ravens O-line have been tossed up after a couple of mid season injury, but now they actually have the best unit they have had for a long time. They moved Oher from left to right tackle, put McKinnie on left tackle and now have Osemele at left guard, with Birk at center and Yanda at right guard. This have helped their offense gratefully in the passing game, with McKinnie looking like the left tackle he was with the Vikings, i could really see this O-line play a good game this Sunday.
On offense they need to keep a good balance between run and pass, let Kaepernick run loose like he did against the packers, and keep Vernon Davis in the game. The Ravens linebackers don't match up well against big fast tight ends, so he should have a big day.
One guy to look for on San Fransisco offense is the rookie spell back, LaMichael James.
He didn't have much of a role throughout the season but have been a good back in the new Pistol Offense the 49'ers have gone to after rolling with Kaepernick as the starter.
Against the slower linebackers off the Ravens, he should have no problem with getting some good runs on the outside.