clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ravens News 7/12: Defensive Tradition and more

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Macdonald Ready to Carry Strong Tradition of Ravens Defense - Todd Karpovich

The Ravens going to be aggressive, attack the quarterback, create turnovers and try to become No. 1 in the NFL once again.

Macdonald, who was hired as the new defensive coordinator this offseason, has a track record for success and the defense was among the best in the league when Macdonald coached in Baltimore.

“I think you’re building on what we’ve been able to do over the last … Really, over the course of the entire franchise, right?” he said. “Especially since [head coach] John [Harbaugh] has been here and since 2014, but the first thing you want is a cohesive unit. You want everybody to have each other’s backs. There’s a certain style of play that it takes to ‘Play Like A Raven,’ right? And then how you build it, you want it to be multiple. I think that’s what we were aiming for in 2018, and I think we were able to achieve a lot of that.

“You want it to be flexible and adaptive, but it needs to be complimentary as well, and it needs to be light enough where you can adjust certain things, and it’s simple for the players, so they can go play the way you expect them to go play.”

10 Questions: Are Young Wide Receivers Ready for Prime Time? - Clifton Brown

Skeptics think Baltimore is thin at the position after trading Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to the Cardinals. However, Bateman strongly disagrees and wants to silence the talk. The Ravens don’t have a wide receiver with more than three years of experience and 53 career receptions, but youth can also mean loads of potential.

“I just want to know why us?” Bateman said. “There’s like rookie receivers everywhere going crazy, and everybody is talking about us. But, we embrace it. It’s a challenge.”

Brown was Baltimore’s main deep threat and a 1,000-yard receiver in 2021. There’s legitimate reason to wonder if the young receiving corps can handle a bigger load. Bateman, Duvernay, Proche and Wallace have combined for just 1,227 receiving yards during their brief NFL careers. That’s fewer yards than All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews had by himself last season (1,391).

However, Brown’s departure means more targets for any wide receiver who earns them. Bateman, Duvernay, Proche and Wallace all caught the ball consistently during mandatory minicamps, and they’re all workaholics.

The Ravens had 11 picks this year, yet didn’t use any on a wide receiver. Other wideouts vying for a roster spot could emerge during training camp like Jaylon Moore, Binjimen Victor, or one of the six undrafted rookies.

Ranking NFL divisions by running backs for 2022: AFC North leads the way, with another big season expected - Jordan Dajani

1. AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Mike Davis

Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Mixon

Cleveland Browns: Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt

Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris

The AFC North has the best overall running back group in the NFL, as this division had three of the top four rushers last year. Look at this group: Dobbins rushed for 805 yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games with one official start in his rookie season before missing last year due to injury, Mixon had a career year in 2021 as the Bengals made it all the way to the Super Bowl, the dynamic duo of Chubb and Hunt is probably the best in the NFL and then Harris had a very promising rookie campaign in which he touched the ball more than anyone. It’s fair to expect big seasons from all of these starters in 2022.

Training Camp Competition: Quarterback - Ryan Mink

Best Battle

There is no quarterback battle. Jackson is the starter and Huntley will be his backup. Huntley stepped in and played well last season when Jackson was sidelined, even though the win-loss column didn’t reflect it. Huntley completed 65% of his passes and posted a 76.6 quarterback rating while also running for 294 yards. The only “battle” is Jackson and Huntley pushing each other to get better.

With that said, Hundley and Brown will be competing to see if they can stick as a No. 3/practice squad quarterback. It’s unlikely that Baltimore would keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster considering they now have a proven backup in Huntley.

Under the Radar

Brown had some good throws in offseason practices. Could he be the next Huntley? Like Huntley, Brown was highly successful in the Pac-12 (Oregon). In 2021, Brown led the Pac-12 with 2,989 passing yards and threw 18 touchdowns to seven interceptions. He also rushed for 658 yards and nine touchdowns. If Brown performs well enough in training camp, he could snag a practice squad spot.

Two of a kind: Ravens’ Calais Campbell pursuing titles in NFL and poker - Jamison Hensley

There are parallels that Campbell sees between poker and football. Both take discipline, patience and a lot of reps to improve. To excel in both sports, you also need to have an awareness about your opponent.

When offensive linemen break the huddle, Campbell is watching their eyes, how they stand and whether they lean in a certain direction. In football, that information helps Campbell with anticipation. In poker, players look for similar “tells,” which provide clues on what cards an opponent is holding.

Just recently, Campbell enjoyed an experience at the poker table that was close to one of his 93.5 sacks. He got reraised by poker pro Cliff Josephy, who has over $7 million in career earnings.

If Campbell had called Josephy, he would’ve been all-in and in jeopardy of getting bounced from the tournament. He laid down his hand, telling Josephy, “I see you got jacks.” Josephy then turned over two jacks.

“It’s a thrill when you’re out there competing and you’re in the hand and you try to get good reads on people,” Campbell said. “I feel like with football, I’ve been very good at seeing things before they happen. It allows me to really spot my keys and give me information and allow me to process it. In poker, it’s the same thing.”