Baltimore Ravens say Patrick Onwuasor, other inside linebackers are ‘more than good enough’ - Aaron Kasinitz
In April, Onwuasor said he expected the Ravens to employ a more even inside linebacker rotation in 2019. And after a practice last week, he praised the two second-year players in his position group.
“It’s still kind of weird [to play without Mosley], but we have great guys – Kenny Young, Chris Board – guys ready to play,” Onwuasor said. “Those guys next to me, they’re communicating, too. Sometimes, I might forget something, and Kenny already said it, or Chris Board already said it, so that way, it relieves a little pressure off of me, so that way we can play fast.”
Coach John Harbaugh echoed that sentiment, saying Baltimore’s in-house inside linebacker options stack up well.
“I’m not worried about it one bit,” Harbaugh said. “I like the guys we have. The guys we have are going to be more than good enough. They’re going to play great, and I think you’re going to be talking about a lot of these guys, even these new guys. Whoever rises to the occasion, we’ll be talking about these guys for many years to come.”
With Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews, first- and third-round picks respectively, going into their second years, and Nick Boyle re-signed to a three-year deal, Roman has plenty of toys to play with.
“Our tight end room is loaded,” Hurst said. “I know we are a huge focal point of this offense, so it’s fun being a tight end here and playing for Baltimore. It’s very exciting.”
Baltimore envisions huge blocking roles in its diverse and run-heavy scheme for the tight ends. They will also throw to them quite a bit as well, and even moved former Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Engram over to coaching the tight ends so they could polish their route-running and receiving.
“All the tight ends right now, we’re all striving to be complete guys,” Andrews said. “Everyone in the room is good at different things, and we’re a pretty complete group as a whole. But, I think you start rotating guys in and it’s difficult for teams to game-plan. It’s going to be tough for teams to really key on who’s in, just because there are so many guys who can do so many different things.”
2019 NFL schedules by distance: Raiders hit the hardest by travel miles, Jets have it easiest - John Breech
Although flying seems pretty simple these days, flights of over 2,000 miles still seem to have a negative effect on road teams. In the 15-season period from 1997-2011, teams that traveled 2,000 miles or more for a road trip had a winning percentage of just .398, according to Grantland.com. On the other hand, teams that traveled 1,000 miles or less for a road game had a winning percentage 32 points higher at .430.
Between 2014 and 2018, road teams traveling under 2,000 miles had an overall winning percentage of .427 (486-652-4) while teams that got stuck on a one-way flight of 2,000 miles or more for a road game had a lower winning percentage of .415 (51-72).
2019 NFL travel miles
(Road games where team travels more than 2,000 miles in parentheses)
15. Ravens: 15,624 (2)
THE Franchise QB: Joe Flacco
Flacco holds every major Ravenspassing record, throwing for four times as many touchdowns (212) as the next closest quarterback (Vinny Testaverde) in team history. Flacco’s 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in the 2012 playoffs en route to a Super Bowl win will forever be etched in team history. But so will his steady decline that followed. After the Ravens traded up to take Lamar Jackson in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Flacco was on borrowed time. A hip injury midway through the 2018 campaign opened the door for Jackson, who ran with his opportunity (literally), guiding the Ravens back to the playoffs after a three-year absence. Will Jackson develop into the Ravens’ second ever franchise quarterback? Time will tell. For now, Flacco’s still the best the Ravens have known under center.
Biggest QB misstep: Kyle Boller
Drafted 19th overall in 2003, Boller was supposed to be the team’s answer to its constant QB woes. But the former Cal product never developed into the franchise passer Baltimore hoped, finishing his Ravenscareer with 45 touchdown passes and 44 picks in 42 starts. The Ravens’ best record (13-3) during Boller’s five-year tenure came in 2006, when Steve McNair started all 16 games for Baltimore.
Longest QB drought: 1996-2007
It’s an understatement to say the Ravens have been a defense-first franchise during their 24-year history. Case in point: The team went 12-4 and won a Super Bowl with Tony Banks and Trent Dilfer combining for 20 touchdown passes, 19 interceptions and a sub-75.0 passer rating. That the Ravens managed double-digit wins in years when Elvis Grbac and Boller were the team’s leading passers, is a testament to the greatness of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs, et al.