Originally written June 15, 2013 on Ravens Football Machine:
Full mandatory minicamp is now completed for the Ravens...  what do Ravens fans take away from it? Cornerback Corey Graham suggests they take away an assessment of the 2013 Ravens defense as being potentially "great"... The defense ended minicamp walking tall with back-to-back days in which it bested the offense in 11-on-11 drills. By the end of the three highly competitive days, the Ravens’ defensive swagger was apparent. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was whooping, rookie safety Matt Elam was posing and the defensive front was scuffling with offensive linemen. “The defense did really well. We started to come together,” cornerback Corey Graham said. “We got potential to be a great defense if everything comes together and we continue to work as hard as we possibly can.” Graham said standing in the defensive backfield and looking at the front seven, the talent is “unbelievable.” “With all the different guys we got on the D-line, the rotation we could possibly have up there, the new guys at linebacker and the speed we got on the defensive backs, it can be an unbelievable defense out there,” Graham said. “We see it. We definitely see it. We will continue to work as hard as we possibly can to make it happen.” The Ravens defense fell below its usual high standards last year. After ranking in the top 10 each of the previous nine seasons, Baltimore’s defense slid to 17th last year in average yards allowed per game (350.9). As Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said, “We were good in the playoffs – good enough – but we weren’t good enough in the season for us to be the kind of defense that we want to be.” And so came the farewells and goodbyes. Ray Lewis retired. Ed Reed, Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Cary Williams took lucrative free-agent contracts elsewhere. Baltimore cut Bernard Pollard and didn’t re-sign nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu. The Ravens restructured their defensive backfield and front line, focusing on improving their unit straight down the middle. Now months later, the Ravens' defensive backfield is faster and the front seven is deeper and laden with experience and talent. Elam picked off a pass from quarterback Joe Flacco both Wednesday and Thursday. His latest came with an acrobatic play off a tip. Safety Michael Huff has been frequently around the ball. Suggs is slimmer and feeling a new passion to regain his Defensive Player of the Year form. He’s “ecstatic” to have a Pro Bowl pass rusher in Elvis Dumervil opposite him, which should give Baltimore a dangerous duo. On the line, veteran Chris Canty is towering over everyone at 6-foot-7, and regularly knifing into the backfield. Rookie Brandon Williams and Marcus Spears are stuffing the middle. That’s not even mentioning Haloti Ngata, who rehabbed his knee this week but is expected to be healthy by training camp. The depth and versatility in the front seven should allow the Ravens to give opponents many different looks. Pees shuffled the unit around throughout minicamp. “We are going to be a nice little solid front,” Suggs said, trying to be modest Wednesday. “I’m really looking forward to defense as a whole – just how special and how good we can be and really try to achieve some great things together.” Ravens Senior Defensive Assistant Steve Spagnuolo, who coached one of the league’s best defensive fronts in New York when the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007, has also been impressed during his short time with the team. “I’m not as familiar with our offensive guys right now, but defensively, wow,” Spagnuolo said. “I had little visions of the Giants front that I happened to be privileged to be working with. They are good all the way around.” Spagnuolo was asked whether he thinks this year’s defense will be better than last year’s, a notion which is gaining traction with analysts. “I don’t make predictions like that, but I will say this, and maybe it was when the guys put the real football pants on the other day,” Spaguolo said. “This is as good as looking a football team that I’ve ever seen. I’m talking about physically and stout.”  
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL: Abdullah should not have been penalized for praying

Belichick: Pats 'didn't play well enough at all' against Chiefs

Astros new manager A.J. Hinch: ‘Goal is to win championships’

Oakland Raiders fire Dennis Allen after 0-4 start

Did Roger Goodell’s bodyguard assault a photographer?

Kobe Bryant, Deron Williams engage in war of words

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Georgia RB Todd Gurley falsely accused of punching student

Russell Westbrook: "I'm the best point guard" in NBA

Texas WR takes shot at Baylor ahead of big game

Jim Harbaugh: Deion Sanders' report is 'a bunch of crap'

Bills bench E.J. Manuel, Kyle Orton to start

Report: Jovan Belcher likely had CTE

Tracking demanding career paths of all Top 25 head coaches

NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

Strahan to make cameo as stripper in 'Magic Mike' sequel

Chiefs player penalized for praying after touchdown

Bill Belichick laughs off QB question...literally

Patriots fan fails with American flag face paint

Joe Fauria's new puppy is responsible for his ankle injury

LaRon Landry suspended four games for PED violation

NBA GMs on the hot seat

Rockets GM Daryl Morey fires back at Mark Cuban

The most and least improved hitters of 2014

WATCH: Tom Wilhelmsen dances to 'Turn Down for What'

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

Raiders fire Dennis Allen after 0-4 start

Chiefs player penalized for praying after TD

Did Roger Goodell’s bodyguard assault a photographer?

Kobe, Deron engage in war of words

Belichick laughs off QB question

Joe Fauria's puppy caused ankle injury

Texas WR takes shot at Baylor

Jim Harbaugh rips Deion Sanders' report

NBA GMs on the hot seat

Bills bench Manuel for Kyle Orton

The most and least improved hitters

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.