News & Notes: In-Shape Ravens Don’t Need a Ramp-Up Period - Clifton Brown
All offseason training was done virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, so Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Steve Saunders had not seen most players in person in months when they reported to training camp. Saunders loved what he saw. Collectively, the Ravens reported to camp in great shape and Saunders believes that will pay dividends.
“They’ve done the workouts, they showed up here ready to work,” Saunders said during a videoconference. “There’s not a ramp up period for us. We’re going now as hard as they would getting ready for the season. We’re ready to go. We’ve got 40 days until the Cleveland Browns and our guys are going to be spitting fire.”
“Soft tissue injuries are always a concern,” Saunders said. “During that time, even with gyms, there was a longer time where guys didn’t run, they didn’t lift, they didn’t have somebody with them to prepare. I think the soft tissues injuries come from your body not being ready for those activities. Knock on wood, you never know what can happen. Certainly, I think we’re positioned well to avoid those things. But we still have a long road until the first game.”
“D.J. [Fluker]’s a big guy. Holy smokes,” Saunders said. “When I met him the other day, it was like an eclipse on top of me. Just a monster of a man. Really impressed with him, how he dove in today, just his mentality. Him getting to know us virtually over the spring and summer and really understanding what it means to be a Raven and how to work like a Raven. D.J. to me is all-in. I feel like he’s going to be a huge asset wherever he ends up on our offensive line.”
Top 2020 training camp battles for Ravens: Who will replace Marshal Yanda, plus intrigue at wide receiver - Jordan Dajani
2. Wide Receiver
The wide receiver position could end up being even more of a strength for the Ravens in 2020, but Harbaugh is going to have to figure out how to establish his depth chart and see where each one of his weapons fits in best. Marquise Brown was the Ravens’ top wide receiver in terms of yards and touchdowns last season, and he’s expected to have an even bigger season in 2020. He will definitely secure a starting spot, but what about the spot opposite Brown? Is Miles Boykin ready to step up into a full-time role? Will Willie Snead hold down that spot? Could a rookie like Devin Duvernay or James Proche step up and impress during training camp? Additionally, who is going to get the most time in the slot? Snead certainly has played there before, but Dunvernay or Proche could be a more intriguing option.
We haven’t even mentioned other talented players in the wide receiving corps such as Chris Moore, Jaleel Scott and Antoine Wesley, and who knows if the Ravens are still in on Antonio Brown? This is where not having a preseason could hurt the Ravens because you certainly would like to see all of these players get some game action as we head into the regular season.
Ranking the top 25 offensive tackles entering the 2020 NFL season - Anthony Treash
Stanley took his play to the next level in 2019. The fourth-year tackle posted a 93.3 pass-block grade and a 76.2 run-block grade, making him one of three tackles to rank in the top 10 at the position in both metrics last year. And it’s not like his elite-level play as a pass blocker was heavily influenced by the Ravens’ offense, either. On true pass sets (i.e., no play action, screen, designed rollout or quick throw), Stanley still ranked first in pass-block grade. He had always been an above-average player at the position prior to 2019, but he has now solidified himself as one of the NFL’s premier tackles.
The safe runner-up to the Saints in best tackle duo in the NFL is the Ravens with Stanley and Brown. Just a couple of years into his NFL career, the former third-round pick has made his name known as one of the future stars at the position. This past year, Brown produced the eighth-best grade on true pass sets and was 14th in negatively graded run block rate among NFL tackles.
9) Patrick Queen, LB, Baltimore Ravens
Drafted: Round 1, No. 28 overall
Think of all of the stud linebackers the Ravens have featured in their 24-year history, from Ray Lewis to Peter Boulware to Terrell Suggs to C.J. Mosley, just to name a few. It’s a position this franchise obviously takes very seriously. Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta just snagged the next great one in Queen.
This is the modern off-ball linebacker: A speed demon with a high football IQ and three-down ability. A sideline-to-sideline tackler, Queen is also very comfortable in pass coverage and creates havoc as an inside blitzer. LSU continues to churn out instant-impact linebackers. Queen will be a highlight-reel guy in Year 1.