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New personnel, but same attitude

Posted Sep 11, 2013

Quarterback Brandon Weeden knows the Baltimore Ravens have different personnel than they did a year ago, but believes their approach is still the same.

The Baltimore Ravens have a little bit of a different look than they have had in past years.

Following their victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Feb. 3, the Ravens’ emotional leader, middle linebacker Ray Lewis, officially retired after 17 years in Baltimore.

On the heels of Lewis’ retirement, play-making and game-breaking safety Ed Reed moved onto the Houston Texans in free agency. Pass-rusher Paul Kruger and tackle-machine Dannell Ellerbe also changed addresses during the offseason.

But, in the eyes of Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden, the Baltimore Ravens’ defense is as formidable now as they were in the two meetings he had with them as a rookie in 2012, and he anticipates a physical game at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday.

“You’ve got to know that they’re going to be a good defense, just like they always are,” Weeden said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of new faces, there’s a lot of new personnel up front and in the secondary, but they’re the Super Bowl champs.

“As of right now, everybody’s (gunning) for them because they’ve got the golden prize in the Super Bowl ring. We’ve got to come back and play better than we did last week, fix some mistakes that we’ve got to correct to beat a very good defense.”

Although the Ravens lost four starters off of their Super Bowl-winning team from last season, they added one of the top pass-rushers in free agency in outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil.

Days after losing Kruger to the Browns and Ellerbe to the Miami Dolphins, the Ravens pounced on an opportunity to add Dumervil when he became a free agent. A clerical error voided a mutually agreed upon contract restructuring with the Denver Broncos, and soon thereafter, Dumervil found his way to Baltimore.

In the season-opener against the Broncos, Dumervil registered one of the Ravens’ three sacks on Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. Chris Canty and fellow outside linebacker, Terrell Suggs, had the other two.

“I still think they’re a very good football team,” Weeden said. “Offensively, they’re very good. Defensively, they create a lot of problems. You don’t want to lose your whole season by one week. That’s definitely not the case with that defense. They’re very good.

“With Dumervil and Suggs on the edge, I see a very good front four. (Haloti) Ngata in the middle, he creates a lot of problems against the run. They’ve got new guys on the back end, as far as with (Bernard) Pollard and Ed Reed gone, but I see guys that are flying around. They’re a very good secondary. They don’t make a ton of mistakes. That’s a very good defense. We expect it to be a hard-fought AFC North game, just like always.”