OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- If this is the year the Baltimore Ravens end a two-year absence from the postseason, they'll do so with a different looking team from the previous season.
Half of the Ravens' lineup features new starters, and nearly one-third of their 53-man roster has changed.
But those numbers don't really do justice to the Ravens' roster turnover. Baltimore needs to replace 11,001 snaps (from a total of 20 players) from a year ago.
Yes, the core of the Ravens remains the same. Joe Flacco is the starting quarterback for the 10th straight season, Marshal Yanda continues to anchor the offensive line and Terrell Suggs leads another strong defense.
But a good chunk of the players who nearly upset the Pittsburgh Steelers on Christmas night for control of the AFC North are gone. In fact, 13 of the top 25 players in terms of snaps played either signed elsewhere, got released, retired or suffered a season-ending injury.
This isn't necessarily a negative, either. The Ravens believe they've improved at some positions or gotten better value in terms of contracts.
Here's a look at how the 11 starting spots have changed:
Wide receiver: Jeremy Maclin replaces Steve Smith Sr. The Flacco-to-Maclin connection should be a good one in theory. Flacco does his best work in between the numbers, and Maclin will line up in the slot and work over the middle. Still, it will be challenge for Maclin to develop the same rapport that the retired Smith had with Flacco.
Tight end: Nick Boyle replaces Dennis Pitta. It's hard to compare these two tight ends. Boyle is more of a blocker, and Pitta led all NFL tight ends in catches last season before suffering another hip injury. But Boyle might surprise in the passing game, especially in the red zone.
Left guard: James Hurst replaces Alex Lewis. This is a difficult change for the Ravens. Lewis showed a lot of potential at guard before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. Hurst is certainly versatile -- he can play guard or tackle -- but has struggled when pressed as a full-time starter.
Center: Ryan Jensen replaces Jeremy Zuttah. Jensen remained the backup to Zuttah all last season even though the three-year starter declined throughout the year. Now, after Baltimore cut Zuttah, the fiery Jensen makes his first NFL start at center in his fourth NFL season.
Right tackle: Austin Howard replaces Rick Wagner. The Ravens didn't have the cap room to keep Wagner, who signed a free-agent deal with the Detroit Lions that averaged $9.5 million per season. Baltimore might have gotten a better value with Howard, who is averaging $5 million per season.
Fullback: No one replaces Kyle Juszczyk. The Ravens lost a Pro Bowl fullback to the San Francisco 49ers in free agency and then cut both full-time fullbacks on the roster (Ricky Ortiz and Lorenzo Taliaferro). The Ravens will use more two tight end and three-receiver looks this year. Boyle and defensive tackle Patrick Ricard can step in as a lead blocker when needed.
Defensive end: Brent Urban replaces Lawrence Guy. Urban was one of the more impressive defensive players in the preseason. The big question is whether he can remain healthy. Guy was a workmanlike lineman who left for the New England Patriots in free agency.
Defensive tackle: Michael Pierce replaces Timmy Jernigan. Pierce will pair with Brandon Williams to form one of the top run-stopping forces in the league. The former undrafted rookie has the potential to be Baltimore's breakout star. Jernigan was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles after three inconsistent seasons.
Inside linebacker: Kamalei Correa/Patrick Onwuasor replaces Zach Orr. The Ravens don't seem settled on whom will take over for Orr, last year's leading tackler who retired because of a congenital spine and neck condition. Correa never convincingly won the job, and Onwuasor has shown flashes when given the chance to play.
Outside linebacker: Matt Judon replaces Albert McClellan/Elvis Dumervil. Judon slimmed down to become an every-down player, and he's done so well in training camp and the preseason that no one has really noticed he's a first-year starter. Baltimore wanted to get younger at this spot, which is why the team cut Dumervil. McClellan was expected to be the team's special teams ace before tearing his ACL.
Cornerback: Brandon Carr replaces Tavon Young. Carr is the most durable corner in the NFL, and he's better suited to play on the outside. Young was projected to play nickel-back before he tore his ACL in an offseason practice. The big question here is whether first-round pick Marlon Humphrey will overtake Carr for his starting job this year.