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Ravens News 7/17: Forgotten legends and more

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NFL Preseason - Washington Redskins vs Baltimore Ravens - September 1, 2005 Photo by Joseph Mancino/Getty Images

AFC North training camp preview: Bengals rising; Steelers on mend - Nick Shook

Baltimore Ravens

Most important position battle: Right guard. This competition might come down to D.J. Fluker vs. Ben Powers vs. Tyre Phillips vs. Ben Bredeson. Yes, there could be four players battling to fill the massive void left by Marshal Yanda’s retirement. Fluker is the veteran who appears most likely to win the job, though there is some familiarity between Powers and right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. from their time playing together at Oklahoma. Phillips and Bredeson were middle-round draft picks in April, and it wasn’t a surprise to see the team double down on the position. Baltimore’s front office is focused on continuing to invest in the offensive line until it finds a legitimate replacement for Yanda. They might not find a long-term answer immediately, but this is where the search begins — and it might begin with a veteran.

Biggest strength on roster: Running back. When it came time for Baltimore to spend its second-round pick, Dobbins was there for the taking. The rich got richer, it seemed, with the Ravens adding a stocky powerhouse of a running back to a group that already had one in Mark Ingram. Throw in the larger Gus Edwards and speedster Justice Hill, and you’ve got talent for days at running back in Baltimore. This is another long-term move by the front office, which is protecting against a future Ingram departure (or decline) by drafting someone who can pair well with Ingram now and eventually become the lead back. Depth never hurt anyone, and as we all saw in the Divisional Round last season, the Ravens could have used additional backfield depth. My sole concern with Dobbins is his mileage — in three seasons at Ohio State, Dobbins rushed for 4,459 yards and 38 touchdowns on 725 carries, becoming the first OSU back to break 2,000 yards — but he won’t be needed to carry the load, at least initially, in Baltimore. The league’s No. 1 rushing offense got better at running back, which is frightening.

Baltimore Ravens position preview: Can safeties remain solid? - Aaron Kasinitz

A rise up the depth chart?

The Ravens have their projected starting safeties in Clark and Thomas, while Levine and Richards offer experience and special teams acumen. The other safeties on the roster might be more interesting to watch during training camp, though. Elliott’s a talented young player who’s dealt with major injury trouble through two NFL seasons, and Stone (seventh-rounder) and Warrior (undrafted) are rookies with intriguing skill sets.

Roster projection

In my latest projection, I had five safeties (not counting Smith) making the 53-man roster at the start of the regular season: Thomas, Clark, Levine, Stone and Warrior. That leaves Richards and Elliott off the team

Ravens Tight End Mark Andrews Says He Will Play In 2020 Season Despite Having Type 1 Diabetes - Ryan Mayer

With NFL training camps expected to open in the coming weeks, the NFLPA has demanded that the league allow an opt out clause for any at-risk player to be able to sit out the season without penalty. While the league is likely to adopt some form of that opt out clause, similar to MLB and the NBA, it would like to impose a deadline by which players have to opt out.

Either way, Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews will not be among those deciding to opt out of the season. Andrews said on a Children With Diabetes call Wednesday night that he wants to help the team win and is planning to play this season. “I want to be able to do a lot of things, and … just being able to help this team win is exciting for me.”

“We’ve got a big year coming up,” Andrews said. “I want to be able to do a lot of things, and … just being able to help this team win is exciting for me.”

2020 NFL Divisional Power Rankings: AFC East moves up after Tom Brady exits division - John Breech

6. AFC North

The AFC North was the hardest division to rank this year and that’s because every team seemed to get better, but every team also seems to have one major question mark.

The Ravens had the best record in the NFL last season, but when it comes to winning playoff games, they have as many postseason victories as the Bengals and Browns over the past five seasons (AKA zero).

The Steelers have a dominant defense and should be good, but Ben Roethlisberger’s health is still a giant mystery. The Steelers didn’t do anything to upgrade at backup quarterback, which means they’re putting all their eggs in the Ben Roethlisberger basket, which is a plan that blew up in their face last season.

As for the Browns, they always seem to be one competent head coach away from competing for a division title, and GUESS WHAT? They now seem to have that competent coach, which means this might actually be the year where they end their nearly three-decade drought without a playoff win.

At the bottom of the division, there’s the Bengals, who finished with the NFL’s worst record last year at 2-14.

AFC North out-of-division record in 2019: 18-22 (6-10 vs. NFC West, 9-7 vs AFC East, 2-2 vs. AFC South, 1-3 vs. AFC West)

2020 out-of-division schedule: vs. NFC East and AFC South

5 best players for the Baltimore Ravens that you forgot about - Sam Penix

2. Randall Cunningham, 2001

Cunningham’s next stop was in Baltimore, where he served as the backup to Elvis Grbac, and again had to fill in, winning both of his starts and appearing in six total games.

He retired shortly after the season.

1. Deion Sanders, 2oo4-2005

In 2004 he was convinced by Corey Fuller and Ray Lewis to return to the NFL, and signed a one-year deal with the Ravens. He played two seasons in Baltimore, and despite being 37 and 38 at the time, played well.

Of course, he was always a fantastic athlete, even by NFL standards, so Sanders at 70% was better than many players at 100%. The Ravens however failed to make the playoffs during both years, and Sanders retired for good after 2005.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011, his first year of eligibility.