Only two more preseason games are left on the Ravens schedule, but the answers asked during training camp have not been answered. There are question marks along multiple positions.
The biggest worry of them all, Joe Flacco. Yes, the Ravens have said he’s on schedule and he will play week one against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he hasn’t practiced with his team during camp. Though Flacco is a good quarterback, he can’t necessarily get his timing down with his receiving unit without experiencing the game situations.
The back-up role is feeling rather open-ended. Woodrum’s last two preseason games proved he’s not just a ‘camp-arm’, as John Harbaugh initially signed him for. Meanwhile, Mallett hasn’t helped push the critics away, with two mediocre to bad games. Two quarterback spots with question marks, and only three weeks until gameday; very uncharacteristic of the Ravens.
Felt like this was a pretty closed deal, until Terrance West fumbled the ball and Javorius Allen put on a show against Miami. To really get the pot stirring, the Ravens are dealing with an injured Danny Woodhead, though the severity sounds minor. The Ravens go into this season with no true star tailback. It’s not uncommon in this league to have a solidified runningback as a blue-chip star, but the Ravens don’t look done searching for the starter right now.
Breshad Perriman is out of camp, dealing with a hamstring injury. Another year, another struggle for the receiver to overcome. He’s fought hard to come back healthy and prepared, but he’s missing reps with his team. He’s missing game situations. More importantly though, the Ravens are missing him. He’s a clear-cut threat in the passing game. From his speed to toast past corners and safeties, to his incredible adjustment ability, capable of catching passes deemed by most impossible. With Maclin and Wallace on the team, the Ravens are desperate to have their young receiver join them and create a triple-threat.
A full-blown struggle. Ronnie Stanley, the Ravens star left tackle, has been injured for about a week now. With the Ravens cancelled practice for a team-building exercise and today’s day off practice have kept everybody from knowing whether or not he’s capable of returning to practice or not. Harbaugh made it sound like he’ll be back in time, but if Stanley goes down, this team may go down with him.
Ronnie isn’t the only one with question marks. The entire line has question marks. Will Jensen push inside with Baltimore acquiring Jeremy Zuttah? Is Matt Skura or Jermaine Eluemunor in contention for the starting left guard role? Baltimore isn’t in good shape, with multiple injuries and a retirement leaving their depth depleted.
Jaylen Hill has helped quell the worries with his outstanding play, but the slot role isn’t set in stone. The Ravens are still working in multiple guys, which is good, but their isn’t certainty as of now. The biggest stress, Marlon Humphrey’s injury. The rookie corner is ruled day-to-day, but the recent stroke of terrible luck is making fans apprehensive.
Important caveat, the Ravens have lost both Tavon Young to a season-ending injury and Maurice Canady for what looks like nearly a season, yet still are solidified at CB1 & CB2. This is a testament to the Ravens front office. Only a few years ago were teams signing all their practice squad corners to not let the Ravens pick them up. Now, the Ravens are down two roster spot corners and still in good shape.
Baltimore is great at continuity, but the injury streak coupled with the absences of important players can make the Ravens suffer early in the season. If things get out of control early, they’ll be forced into another ‘run-the-table’ situation. Rather than claw their way towards a post-season berth, it would be nice to not sweat the last two weeks with multiple games ahead of the AFC North competition.