Dec 8, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (center) congratulates players after scoring a touchdown in the game against the Minnesota Vikings at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

John Harbaugh: Ravens Will Have A Top 5 Defense In 2014

Welcome to lunchtime links, where we round up all the latest Ravens news from around the web for your convenient consumption.  Today we discuss John Harbaugh’s confidence that the team will sport a top 5 defense, the new goal posts at M&T Bank Stadium, ESPN’s AFC North Predictions, and the tree that fell on Jimmy Smith’s house.  Plus, we’ll throw in a little LeBron news since everybody else is.

Jamison Hensley tells us that John Harbaugh is confident the Ravens will sport a top 5 defense in 2014.  Harbaugh and Dean Pees feel like last year was a transition period for the D, which is a fair assessment.  That change was necessitated by the departure of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, and an injection of youth often takes time to produce results.  Suffocating defense is a signature Raven characteristic, and one that they hope to regain this season.

ESPN is also making their predictions for the AFC North, including their thoughts on the possibility that Steve Smith could become Joe Flacco’s top pass catcher in 2014.  Three out of four writers disagree, with Jamison Hensley the only one who thinks it will happen.  It’s an interesting thought, and a realistic possibility.  We would say it could come down to Smith and Pitta, based solely on number of targets.  We’ll explore this idea further in an upcoming feature.

Thanks to the Ravens controversial win over the Patriots in week 3 of last season, the team is installing new goalposts. All teams are required to install the new goalposts, which are five feet taller, to satisfy the “Tucker Rule.”  The rule’s namesake is kicker Justin Tucker, whose game winning field goal sailed over the upright but was ultimately ruled good.

Severe storms struck Baltimore this week, knocking down power lines and quite a few trees.  Unfortunately one of those trees fell on Jimmy Smith’s house.  Smith posted a video of the damage on Instagram.  Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Finally, unless you were living off the grid yesterday (and are back on today?), you heard about LeBron James’ decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  And in case you care, Aaron Wilson obtained the reaction of several Ravens players. Because you know, slow news cycle.

Who do you think will be Joe Flacco’s top target in 2014?


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