A decade ago, the Baltimore Ravens were Super Bowl champions.
They boasted one of the best defensive units in NFL history. Ray Lewis, Jamie Sharper, and Peter Boulware were considered to be one of the greatest trio of linebackers ever. Just take a look at NFL Network’s list of the top 10 linebacking corps of all-time:
They listed Lewis and company at No. 10, but I would have to disagree with that; they should have at least been in the top 5. Regardless, the linebackers of the 2000 Ravens were known as one of the greatest.
Similarities Between the 2000 and 2010 Ravens’ Defenses
Flash forward 10 years later, and now the Ravens have a whole new unit. The current defense may not be as great as the 2000 championship defense, but there are some interesting similarities to take note of.
First, we have Ray Lewis still leading the defense. While Lewis may have lost a step in speed or stamina, his passion for the game still burns with intensity. His experience and leadership is unmatched. If the Ravens want another great defensive unit, Lewis is the way to go.
Another similarity between then and now can be seen in the defensive line. Back then, Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams were huge walls that often required 3 or 4 offensive linemen to guard them. These 2 monsters helped Lewis and co. roam free to make plays. Now we have a similar duo in Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody. Both are massive bodies that could force opponents to double team, and ultimately leave the linebackers to roam free.
Finally, we have Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson mimicking Peter Boulware and Jamie Sharper. Suggs brings size and pressure, while Johnson shows awareness and pursuit. If the Ravens D-line can bully their opponent’s O-line, then Suggs and Johnson will have no trouble making big plays.
The great thing about the Ravens’ current linebacking corp is the level of depth they have. Rookie Sergio Kindle and sophomore Paul Kruger adds youth and keeps the veterans fresh. They will make a significant impact this year, no doubt.
I won’t say the 2010 Ravens will produce a defensive unit exactly like the 2000 Ravens, but I will say they are going to be much better than the 2009 Ravens. The upgraded defensive line could help the linebackers, and better pass rush and coverage by the linebackers means less pressure on the corners.
It has been 10 years since Super Bowl XXXV… could it be a sign for another championship? The Ravens winning Super Bowl XLV would be quite a story.