Before the start of training camp, Terrell Suggs stood in front of the media and fielded questions on how the Ravens would approach the 2013 season. As a player looking to take more of a leadership role within the locker room, Suggs made it clear that this team was prepared to avoid a Super Bowl hangover. But it was one statement that he made that stood out above all others.
“You definitely want to go into the season healthy,” Suggs stated. “I think the No. 1 thing is just to get healthy [and] stay healthy. I’ve always said it, ‘You’ve never won a Super Bowl in training camp, but you have lost them.'”
Of course with the recent loss of Dennis Pitta due to a hip injury, that quote from Suggs now resonates more so than it did then. Has the injury to Pitta sealed the Ravens fate? Did Baltimore lose a chance at a consecutive title before the season even began? Let’s just say Ravens fans shouldn’t throw their tickets on Stub Hub just yet.
The Ravens have a knack for overcoming adversity. It’s kinda been their thing since John Harbaugh first arrived in 2008. It was the theme of their 2012 campaign and the mantra looks to spill over into the upcoming season. Though fans of all sports teams tend to panic whenever something fails to go their way, the Baltimore Ravens seldom make that same mistake. This mindset starts from the top of the organization and trickles down into the locker room.
A little “not so secret” about GM Ozzie Newsome needs to be revealed. The man is always working. Always working the phones. Always preparing to ensure the Ravens field the best team possible on a day to day basis. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that Newsome had TE Visante Shiancoe in for a visit to watch the Ravens practice. What may be more impressive was that this visit was made prior to Dennis Pitta’s injury.
Was it an eerily strange coincidence that such a meeting took place? Perhaps! But the work ethic of Ozzie Newsome made the transition from Pitta to Shiancoe as seamless as possible. It’s this kind of work ethic that helped bring Vonta Leach back to Baltimore a few days later. And it’s a big reason why he’ll present Jonathan Ogden at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday.
Of course, it takes more than a great general manager to get the job done in the NFL. Head Coach John Harbaugh continues to bring the best out of this group of players with a talented staff and a quarterback that can throw it anywhere on the football field. No one will miss Pitta more than Joe Flacco, but pundits will soon realize it was Flacco that made him great and not the other way around. As is also the case with Anquan Boldin, Flacco does a great job of throwing the receiver open. Neither Boldin nor Pitta got much separation from their defender. And while their great hands certainly helped, the play isn’t made unless Flacco makes the perfect strike.
Nobody likes to see injuries in sports and championship aspirations are often squashed because of it. But that isn’t the case with the Baltimore Ravens. You need three things to succeed in the NFL. A great GM, a great head coach, and a superb quarterback. The Ravens have all three. It’s why they won the Super Bowl last year and its why they’ll be in the chase for another one in 2013.