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Ravens expected to rely upon incumbent starters and veterans to begin the 2020 season

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The lack of offseason activities will increase reliance upon incumbent starters and NFL veterans in 2020

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns

Earlier this week, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh participated in an online presser. During that time I was able to ask Harbaugh a question.

“Do you believe early on you’ll need to more heavily rely upon veterans and incumbent starters with the lack of offseason workouts and activities that have been available to the younger players?”

“I think that’s a fair assumption, Kyle,” Harbaugh said. “It’s something that you’re probably going to keep in mind as cuts come but when you look at our team I don’t think we’re going to have too many of those kind of tough choices. We’ll have tough choices but I do feel like our rookies are going to be able to contribute. I’m very confident that the roles that we’re going to ask these guys to contribute. Now if they’re not ready we’ll have to adjust we have guys in place to do it. I like the way our roster’s organized and I do believe we’re in good shape to handle the situation.”

Two things I figured were worth discussing here.

  1. The Ravens are not unique in needing returning starters and veterans to be the ones to lead the charge. That’s fairly true of most teams. Only when you bring in key rookies in headlining roles (QB, LT, MLB, OLB) are you asking for young players to lead or be relied upon early.
  2. The Ravens roster is maximized with veteran/incumbent talent. Going through the list below there are few spots which call on young players.

Incumbents/veterans among 2019 starting roster

Position Offense
Position Offense
QB L. Jackson
RB M. Ingram
FB P. Ricard
WR M. Brown*
WR2 W. Snead IV
TE M. Andrews
LT R. Stanley
LG B. Bozeman*
C M. Skura
RG Open*
RT O. Brown Jr.
Defense
FS E. Thomas III
SS C. Clark
CB M. Humphrey
CB2 M. Peters
ILB P. Queen*
ILB2 M. Harrison*
OLB M. Judon
OLB2 Open*
DE C. Campbell
DE2 D. Wolfe
DT B. Williams

I count four spots among the starting 22 where the Ravens need incumbents to take the next step. This leaves two spots which require new talent to step in. Both of these are at inside linebacker, which the Ravens drafted for. The first being 2019 first-round pick Patrick Queen, followed by 2019 third-round pick Malik Harrison.

Harbaugh said he liked the way the roster was organized and when you look at it from this perspective, you can see why. The Ravens have firmly planted playmakers in nearly all the key roles. They have star power in many areas and consistency across the board. The Ravens knew going in to keep their important players and prepare for another big run in 2020.