Pivotal offseason looms as Ravens hold season-review press conference today at team headquarters

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The page turns quickly in the NFL, even when an NFL team experiences the storybook ending of winning the Super Bowl.

There's precious time to bask in the afterglow for the Ravens after defeating the San Francisco 49ers and taking home the Vince Lombardi trophy from New Orleans.

That's true in particular for owner Steve Bisciotti general manager Ozzie Newsome, coach John Harbaugh, team president Dick Cass, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, director of pro personnel Vince Newsome, assistant director of pro personnel Chad Alexander, director of college scouting Joe Hortiz, and vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty and the rest of the staff.

The Ravens have several difficult decisions to make regarding how they'll shape the roster for next season. The NFL scouting combine is in two weeks, free agency starts March 12 and the NFL draft is in late April.

Today at team headquarters, the Ravens' top brass will field questions from reporters regarding the biggest issues facing the team this offseason. The press conference, set for 11 a.m., will include Bisciotti, Newsome, Cass and Harbaugh.

Bisciotti and Newsome are typically the most popular subjects for questions, especially regarding free agency and player performance. Plus, they only do a few interviews per year whereas Harbaugh faces the media on a regular basis.

Among the questions that will probably come up today:

1. Will quarterback Joe Flacco become the highest-paid quarterback in the league? Or is he more likely to become the franchise player? If so, what's the effect on the Ravens' ability to retain key defensive free agents like Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Cary Williams and Ed Reed?

2. What are the chances that Ed Reed will return since he's declared repeatedly that he wants to be back? What are the concerns about his age and durability?

3. Do the Ravens anticipate retaining many of their agents given the financial constraints, including restricted free agents? Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta and Arthur Jones are locks to return, but what about the others like long snapper Morgan Cox.

4. Is re-signing former Pro Bowl blocker Bryant McKinnie the primary option at left tackle after a resurgent postseason or is it more likely a free agent or rookie fills that spot?

5. Who replaces middle linebacker Ray Lewis? That applies to how they replace his emotional leadership as well as his play on the field.

6. Will center Matt Birk likely retire?

7. How is defensive tackle Haloti Ngata's left knee doing? His magnetic resonance imaging exam was pushed back until Thursday and all indications are he hasn't suffered any major ligament damage.

8. Are any players set to have offseason surgery?

9. Is inside linebacker Jameel McClain expected to return for next season from a spinal cord contusion?

10. What are the top positions of need in free agency and the draft?

11. If Ed Reed doesn't come back, are the Ravens comfortable that they can replace him with any of the defensive backs under contract for next season? Or will they have to go outside the organization?

12. How is cornerback Lardarius Webb's rehab from a torn anterior cruciate ligament going?

13. What's the comfort level with Terrence Cody at nose guard after a mostly disappointing season?

14. What's the outlook for Terrell Suggs as far as regaining his former NFL Defensive Player of the Year form after an injury-plagued season?

15. Do the Ravens expect to lose any coaches such as linebackers coach Ted Monachino to other NFL teams?

16. What did the Ravens think of a rookie class that includes Courtney Upshaw, Kelechi Osemele, Bernard Pierce and Justin Tucker?

Obviously, not every answer will come out of this press conference in great detail with not every piece of information able to be defined at this early stage of the offseason, but it's always an entertaining, informative day worth observing closely.

awilson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/RavensInsider 

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