On Wednesday, the Ravens released starting strong safety Bernard Pollard, a hard-hitting box safety who is a quality run defender. His release came a day after the Ravens lost inside linebacker
In case you're not adding it up at home, that's a combined loss of 289 tackles, 16.5 sacks, two interceptions and four forced fumbles from 2012. Pollard and Ellerbe were the team's leading tacklers during the regular season and Lewis led all players in tackles during the playoffs. Kruger led the team with nine sacks and Ellerbe added 4.5 sacks last season. The 16.5 sacks from those players were 44.6 percent of the team's sack output.
The losses will likely continue in the coming days. Starting free safety
That means the Ravens could potentially be without six starters -- that's not including Kruger, who was not a full-time starter -- from the team that won the Super Bowl just a few weeks ago.
Would that be unprecedented? Yes, the Ravens are on the way.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no champion has lost more than five Super Bowl starters from their team before the following season. And that's starters lost for the whole team -- not one unit.
While the Ravens defense ranked 17th with 228.1 passing yards allowed per game and 20th with 122.8 rushing yards allowed per game, that unit got better as the season progressed and made critical stands during the postseason, including the final moments of the 34-31 win over the
It's clear, though, the Ravens will be getting younger on defense this spring, whether they wanted to be this young to or not.
The Ravens knew they wouldn’t be able to match the lucrative offers for Kruger, who ended up getting more than $8 million per season from the
As for Pollard, our Mike Preston has a theory on his release.
As I wrote today, defensive lineman