With training camp now in full swing and the calendar turning to August, we’re quickly approaching the start of the 2020 NFL regular season.
Amidst an offseason unlike any other, it’s easy to forget what’s at stake for the Ravens this season and where individual players stand heading into the season. As such, we’ll examine each player’s outlook for the 2020 campaign on a position-by-position basis.
Up first is the quarterback spot, which features Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III, Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley.
Beginning with the reigning unanimous MVP, Lamar Jackson is entering what should be a pivotal third career season.
Jackson has already accomplished quite a bit in less than two full seasons as a starter, and his 2019 campaign was one for the ages. Jackson put up a stat line unlike any other seen from the quarterback on position, setting the NFL on fire with dazzling plays and marvelous displays of athleticism.
Leading the NFL in touchdown passes and passer rating, while simultaneously leading the league in yards per carry and eclipsing 1,200 rushing yards, is simply not something that occurs - ever. But Jackson broke the norm and took the league by storm.
Many are predicting a statistical regression from Jackson in 2020, which may be inevitable in some categories. However, there are several factors working in Jackson’s favor: youth, an improved supporting cast and organizational continuity.
Jackson’s might fail to match the 36 touchdowns he threw for last year, but he’s in a good position to throw for more yards while also maintaining high efficiency and low-turnover play - both as a thrower and runner.
The biggest defining question of Jackson’s season is what happens in the playoffs, though, not the regular season. Jackson is still seeking his first playoff victory and with an 0-2 postseason record on his resume, he has yet to put some of the doubters to bed.
Robert Griffin III
“RGIII” is entering his third season with the Ravens and second campaign as the entrenched backup behind Lamar Jackson.
Griffin has embraced a mentorship role and has undoubtedly played a significant role in Jackson’s development and maturation. However, last season, Griffin appeared in seven games and took 139 snaps under center.
The Ravens’ success played into his favor, as Griffin was able to take the field in a handful of fourth quarters with Baltimore’s victory already sealed. Additionally, he started the season finale against the Steelers after the Ravens had already clinched a first-round bye.
Griffin is in an interesting spot in his career. He’s openly expressed a desire to become a starter in the NFL once again, but has also found stability and a settled role with the Ravens for the first time since the beginning of his career.
With some younger in-house options behind him, this could shape up to be Griffin’s final year with the Ravens. There could be a mutual parting of ways following the 2020 season, with Griffin seeking a more fruitful opportunity.
For the time being, though, Griffin is one of the more capable backup quarterbacks in the league and fits perfectly in the Ravens’ offensive system. It would be nice if he can once again find a few opportunities to take the field in 2020, just not because of an injury to the starting quarterback on the depth chart.
Many were taken by surprise when the Ravens selected Penn State’s Trace McSorley in the sixth round of the 2019 draft. Many were also surprised when McSorley made the 53-man roster.
McSorley deserves credit, though, for impressing and showing flashes throughout training camp and into the preseason last year. It didn’t amount with him seeing action during the regular season, though, as McSorley was entrenched behind Jackson and Griffin on the depth chart.
This year, McSorley will not have the benefit of the preseason to showcase his worth, which could very well work against his favor. Whether or not the Ravens want to keep three quarterbacks at the expense of depth at another position will ultimately decide McSorley’s fate - which the same underlying question leading up to the 2019 season.
As an athletic dual-threat, McSorley feels like a solid long-term option at backup quarterback behind Jackson. He fits the scheme and now has a year of experience in Greg Roman’s system.
However, his roster spot is certainly not 100% safe as things currently stand.
Maybe the most prominent big-name UDFA the Ravens acquired this offseason was QB Tyler Huntley, who quietly had an impressive senior season at Utah last year. Like the other quarterbacks on the roster, Huntley brings legitimate athleticism and rushing ability to the table.
His chances of making the roster are probably slim-to-none, though if there is a path for Huntley to surprise everyone, it lies in beating out McSorley in training camp. Huntley will have to “wow” enough to both jump McSorley on the depth chart AND convince the Ravens he’s worthy of them keeping three quarterbacks on the roster.
At the very least, if he shows enough promise, he could become a practice squad candidate for either the Ravens or another team.