With the addition of safety Earl Thomas, the Baltimore Ravens defense has taken a massive step forward in terms of replacing lost assets.
1. Earl Thomas is a seamless replacement for Eric Weddle
It’s usually hard to replace a Hall of Fame caliber player like Eric Weddle on defense, but the addition of Earl Thomas could do just that for Baltimore. Obviously, this becomes a much easier task when you consider that Thomas himself is also a Hall of Fame candidate once he retires. Regardless, making the leap from Weddle to Thomas is special.
What Weddle was able to bring to the table, Thomas is able to replace it. Thomas is a seasoned player with experience as both a teacher and leader. The Ravens haven’t had a Rah-Rah guy on defense since guys like Ray Lewis, while Terrell Suggs recently departed for Arizona. Thomas can come in and be that vocal leader that changes defenses. Speaking of which…
2. Earl Thomas is an immediate leader on defense
With Weddle and Suggs departing, the Baltimore Ravens were already in need of new leadership. The blow was made worse when C.J. Mosley unexpectedly left for a record-setting contract with the New York Jets. Suddenly, this top-ranked Ravens defense was gutted. Thankfully, the addition of Earl Thomas will help to recuperate some of what they lost.
It’s not too often that guys are able to come in as free agent signings and immediately become the voice of the locker room. Thomas’ case is different, however. Thomas was arguably the guy in Seattle during the days of the Legion of Boom. The way Thomas commanded the respect of his defense and the way he turned them into rabid dogs (figuratively) is special.
With the swagger the Ravens already have on defense, Thomas could immediately have that kind impact. Thomas won’t be alone, fortunately, as guys like Tony Jefferson and Matt Judon should step up into leadership roles as well. If not, at least they have Thomas to lead them.
3. Earl Thomas is the ball-hawk the Ravens haven’t had
Yes, Eric Weddle was special at times for the team’s secondary, but no one has been the turnover machine that Earl Thomas is. Not any safety, not any cornerback, not any defensive player. No, this Ravens defense has lacked that player since Ed Reed retired, but Thomas could change all of that.
Since coming into the league in 2010, Thomas has recorded 28 interceptions to include two pick-sixes. Thomas has also forced 10 fumbles, recovering five and scoring two more touchdowns. When it comes to turnovers, Thomas knows his way around the block.
The Ravens struggled to force turnovers in last season, notching just 12 team interceptions. The team-high was two total, recorded by the team’s top three corners (Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith, and Brandon Carr). In four games in 2018, Thomas had three interceptions himself, which would’ve led the Ravens all season long. This is exactly the kind of help the team desperately needs.
Signing Earl Thomas seemingly came out of nowhere, but it turns out that it was a pivotal signing considering what the Baltimore Ravens lost. In Thomas, the team acquired so many important attributes to this defense that they’ve lost via Free Agency. Thanks to signing Thomas, the Ravens defense might just be able to stay dominant after all.