Flacco: Ravens plenty motivated to repeat
*Leading up to the start of Ravens training camp we will be answering the top 10 questions the reigning Super Bowl Champions will face as they begin their title defense.
Question No. 5 Can the Ravens avoid complacency after winning a Super Bowl?
Answer: Having so many new faces should keep the Ravens from resting on last season’s laurels.
The Ravens don’t have to look far for motivation. It’s hard to find a preseason power poll that rates them the best team in the AFC. The Bengals are a trendy pick to win the AFC North. From a national perspective, the general perception is that the Ravens lost too many key players to get back to a Super Bowl.
However, change can be good, and change will challenge the Ravens. Undoubtedly there will be situations where the Ravens will miss Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin, Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Bernard Pollard, and others who left. But from the first day of training camp, there will be a host of newcomers on defense hungry to earn trust from the coaching staff like linebackers Elvis Dumervil, Arthur Brown, and Daryl Smith, safeties Michael Huff and Matt Elam, and defensive linemen Chris Canty and Marcus Spears. None of those players were part of the Ravens’ Super Bowl run. None of them will be resting on last year’s laurels.
Meanwhile, some prominent returning players have things to prove. Neither linebacker Terrell Suggs nor defensive tackle Haloti Ngata played up to their standards last season. Suggs looked terrific at minicamp, lean and focused. He could have a special season.
As for Joe Flacco, he got a huge six-year, $120 million contract after winning MVP of the Super Bowl, but he has never been susceptible to getting too high, or too low. There is another quarterback in the AFC North, Ben Roethlisberger, with two Super Bowl rings. Flacco would love to match that next season.
Repeating is difficult, which is why eight seasons have passed since the Patriots won back-to-back Super Bowls. Somebody else may be too good for the Ravens in 2013. But heading into training camp, the Ravens do not appear to be too complacent.