Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti is set to hold a press conference on Friday, February 2, at 1:30 p.m. in the Ravens’ Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, MD. He will address questions about the team’s 2017 season, and the future of the club.
Notably absent from the meeting are: Team President Dick Cass, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh. In recent years, all three have accompanied Bisciotti to the presser to discuss the team’s previous season and future.
Possibly, Bisciotti is getting out in front to address the topics of the teams’ direction, the failure of the 2017-2018 season, the future of the franchise and the obvious backlash from kneeling in London and President Donald Trump’s comments in London.
In past seasons, Bisciotti discussed improving the team, specifically when it came to drafting, free agency and the coaching staff. He also discussed offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s role with the team last season and said that firing coaches wasn’t a good model.
Baltimore finished 27th in yards per game (305.4). The Ravens retained Mornhinweg as the offensive coordinator this offseason and added James Urban as the quarterbacks coach.
As for drafting and free agency, the elephant in the room is at wide receiver and tight end. A consistent topic of Baltimore’s “State of the Ravens” press conference each season is about finding a playmaker. The Ravens didn’t draft a wideout or tight end in the draft last year, instead opting to boost their defense in the draft and free agency.
Baltimore added former Kansas City Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin in June last year when he was cut. However, he missed the same amount of games with injuries that he did with the Chiefs in 2016 (4) and his production dropped off even further. Baltimore’s top receiver, Mike Wallace, is set to become a free agent. 2015 first round pick Breshad Perriman has been less than stellar to say the least.
Harbaugh talked about wanting to build one of the strongest offensive lines in the league. Before the injuries to offensive linemen Alex Lewis, Nico Siragusa and All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda, Baltimore looked to have the offensive line as one of their strengths.
Though they struggled with their absences for a brief time, offensive linemen Ronnie Stanley, James Hurst, Ryan Jensen, Matt Skura and Austin Howard stepped up. Now Baltimore will have depth at the position, with a large group of players who are experienced. They will have to address Jensen’s situation, as he is a pending free agent.
As for the defense, cornerback Marlon Humphrey’s arrest is almost a certainty to be brought up by media. With Jimmy Smith’s Achilles injury, Baltimore could possibly be down two starting cornerbacks when the season begins, depending on what happens with Humphrey’s case. Tavon Young will return to the team as well, after missing the year with an ACL tear.
Also, another topic of discussion is Baltimore’s pass rush. The Ravens finished with 41.0 sacks, which was tied for 11th in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals. This area was improved greatly from their 21st ranking in 2016, with 31.0 sacks. Despite that, the Ravens allowed 4,886 yards in 2017, ranking 27th in the NFL.
All in all, Bisciotti will be asked a litany of questions. Is this the final straw for the Harbaugh/Newsome regime in Baltimore? Or is this just another year to build off of a one-game improvement? Next Friday, all eyes will be on Bisciotti’s press conference.