In two days, the veteran players of the Baltimore Ravens officially report to the Under Armour Performance Center in preparation of training camp. The following day will be the first practice of the 2018 season. All eyes will be on the Ravens and the Chicago Bears, as only two weeks later the squad flies to Canton, Ohio, for the Hall of Fame Game. In today’s edition, I’ll be covering the top story-lines in regards to the offense in this years’ training camp.
Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson
Undoubtedly, the biggest story for the Ravens and a top attention-bringer across all 32 teams is the competition between the veteran and rookie. Though the coaching staff and top officials for the team are adamant with Flacco continuing his role as the starting quarterback, many fans are ready for the changing of the guard by the end of camp.
Crabtree & Co.
Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta let last years’ starting receivers walk and signed three new wide-outs. Fans are thrilled to see new players for Baltimore. The combination of size, speed and agility with Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead will create mismatches in games this year.
Out With the Old, In With the New?
The tight end unit lacked production outside of Benjamin Watson’s stat-sheet. Now, after the 2018 NFL Draft, two high-caliber players join the overflowing stable. Will Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews unseat both Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle?
Ronnie Stanley has his roots sunk into the starting left tackle position, but right tackle is fresh soil for the next man up. The Ravens drafted Orlando Brown Jr., but they also re-signed James Hurst to a four-year contract. Alex Lewis is also healthy and played tackle in college. Three main competitors and a multitude of other possible candidates makes this an interesting competition.
Skura Vs. The Field
Ryan Jensen became the starter just as quickly as he signed a big contract for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leaving another offensive line spot open for competition. Matt Skura, to most, looks the most polished and skilled for the job. That being said, he isn’t without competition. Younger players are always waiting to unseat any players caught off-guard. Can the Ravens replace the red-hot Jensen?
Former First-round Rookies Last Chance?
On Saturday, the Ravens have a decision equaling $649,485. Breshad Perriman receives this bonus if he’s on the Ravens’ roster on the third day of training camp. Some are ready to finalize his cut while others want the potential to become production. Even if he makes it past day three, he’s no guarantee for the final roster.
Not Just a One-Year Wonder
In 12 starts, Alex Collins produced 973 yards and six touchdowns. He’s returning as the starting tailback for Baltimore, but he’s competing with four others. Collins believes he wasn’t a one-year wonder and ready for the full workload, and Ravens fans hope he’s right.
A Return to Form
After a season-ending injury to the five-time All-Pro Marshal Yanda, the majority believe the best guard in football will instantly become his former self. I don’t suspect a hiccup in his play, but maybe age and years of violent play will catch up sooner rather than later.