In an offseason unlike any other, the Ravens may stand to benefit from organizational stability and continuity.
Ahead of the start of training camp in late July, teams have been forced to adapt and adjust to a virtual offseason training program for the past several months. While modern-day technology allows for this, it’s impossible to replicate the same value as players working together in-person on a routine basis throughout the spring and summer.
Unusual times cause for unusual measures, and there’s no doubting that the past few months have been a trying experiment for every team in the NFL. However, the Ravens are more well-equipped to whether the storm than many other teams.
Starting with the coaching staff, the Ravens retained Greg Roman and Don “Wink” Martindale, who will be returning as the team’s offensive and defensive coordinators after interviewing for head coaching openings earlier this offseason.
Roman was the mastermind behind Baltimore’s unprecedented offensive success in 2019, as he put together a scheme that maximized the skill set of Lamar Jackson and other players. Martindale did the same on defense, once again demonstrating his ability to scheme pressure and put players in positions to succeed.
The fact that both Roman and Martindale was already a huge plus, but even more so because it prevented the Ravens from having to overhaul their playbook on either side of the ball this offseason.
Other key assistant coaches like David Culley, Chris Horton, James Urban and Bobby Engram, among others, are also back in the fold - further giving the Ravens an edge over teams that saw a coaching staff influx this year.
Perhaps even more important, though is the personnel side of this conversation. The added some new faces in free agency and the draft, for sure, but their core players on both sides of the ball from last season are still in town.
On offense, the only glaring departure is veteran G Marshal Yanda. Aside from him, the Ravens are set to return every single offensive starter from 2019, headlined by rising sophomores in Jackson, Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Mark Andrews. Other returning starters include Mark Ingram, Ronnie Stanley, Orlando Brown Jr., etc.
Defense is a bit of a different story, where Baltimore may boast numerous new starters this season that weren’t on the team last year. Calais Campbell and Derrick Wolfe will play major roles on the defensive line, while rookies Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison will do the same at the linebacker position.
With that being said, though, the biggest defensive contributors from last year are still in the fold.
In the defensive backfield, the Ravens let Brandon Carr walk in free agency but re-signed Jimmy Smith, a trusted veteran in his own right. Earl Thomas III and Chuck Clark will pair up at safety again, as will Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters at the cornerback spot.
Matthew Judon and Brandon Williams are two other starters that come to mind, too, that will be playing a major role on Martindale’s unit again next season.
All of the aformentioned players have at least a year of experience playing in Roman and Martindale’s complex systems, which means they haven’t had the tall task of learning a new scheme via virtual meetings and workouts.
As a result of this continuity in both the coaching staff and roster, the Ravens should be entering the upcoming season with a leg-up over many other teams that saw organizational influx this offseason.