Top Storylines at Ravens Training Camp - Clifton Brown
Offensive Line Improvement
Solidifying the offensive line was a top offseason priority and the Ravens addressed it by signing right tackle Morgan Moses and drafting Tyler Linderbaum, the presumed starting center. The preparation to get Linderbaum ready for Week 1 will be ramped up during camp. Moses will be expected to provide a steady veteran presence, and it will be interesting to see if tackle Ja’Wuan James is ready to compete for snaps after missing last season with an Achilles injury.
The health of Stanley, who played just one game last season, is crucial to the offense. The Ravens need to protect Jackson much better than last season when he was sacked a career-high 38 times in 12 games. They also need to run the ball more effectively, which would put less pressure on their passing game. The hope is that Stanley will return 100 percent and that a solid starter will emerge at left guard. If that happens, the Ravens could have one of the NFL’s best offensive lines and return to being a physical offensive team that can impose its will on defenses.
Five things we want to learn about the Ravens as they prepare to begin training camp - Childs Walker
Who’s rushing from the edge in Week 1?
Tyus Bowser, the team’s most versatile outside linebacker, will probably be back at some point this season, but it’s a lot to ask for him to be 100% percent in Week 1, about eight months after he tore his Achilles. Second-round pick David Ojabo is working to come back from the same injury, probably in the second half of the season if all goes well.
The Ravens created a little certainty beside Oweh when they re-signed veteran Justin Houston in early July. Houston is no longer an elite sack threat, but he played well for the Ravens at a modest cost, so his return, on another one-year deal, was welcome. The Ravens have flirted with another veteran, Jason Pierre-Paul, and they could find snaps for both him and Houston. In fact, such a platoon would be ideal.
There’s a version of this story in which the Ravens end up with a solid group by November. But there’s a bleaker timeline in which we might not see the best of Bowser or Ojabo this season and in which the Ravens do not find the right veteran to work beside Oweh. With this position group, training camp will tell only part of the story.
Are the Ravens really going to do nothing at wide receiver?
When the Ravens traded their most productive receiver, Marquise Brown, to the Arizona Cardinals during Day 1 of the draft, it seemed a matter of when, not if, they’d add a veteran to replace him. Yet, beyond the addition of six undrafted free agents, the Ravens have done nothing to address the receiver position. Their current wide receiver group has only four guys with an NFL catch on their resume and one of those guys (Tylan Wallace) has two career receptions.
Team officials continue to say that they like their receiving group and want to give the young pass catchers every opportunity to seize significant roles. Perhaps, they have in mind the 2019 season, when Jackson won an MVP award while throwing to a group of targets that isn’t any more impressive than the team’s current receiving corps. The Ravens do have plenty of running backs and tight ends who can contribute in the passing game.
Still, even in a run-first offense, it feels like the Ravens are putting themselves at potential risk by not doing more to add depth and experience to their receiving group. There are still accomplished yet aging veterans available, guys like Julio Jones, T.Y. Hilton and Emmanuel Sanders. At some point, the Ravens figure to add someone. Then again, we’ve been saying and writing that for months.
The job: TE2
The Rookie: TE Charlie Kolar
The Veteran: TE Nick Boyle
It is going to be hard to root against Boyle winning this job given the journey the former Delaware Blue Hen has had back from a gruesome knee injury in 2020 that nearly ended his career. Boyle played nine games that season, coming off a season in which he set career-high numbers in 2019 as a complementary piece of the puzzle for Baltimore’s multi-tight end offense. He managed to return from the injury in 2021 but wasn’t himself and was ultimately only given glimpses of the field before being shut down.
The Ravens are hoping the extra offseason will get Boyle back to where he was, but the team hedged that bet with the addition of Kolar in this year’s draft. The team also added Isaiah Likely but he seems to be more of a pass-catching weapon as compared to the Boyle/Kolar role of an in-line player charged with winning real estate at the point of attack in addition to efforts in the passing game. Kolar is a big, long body with a huge catch radius and a much more developed in-line resume than you’d expect from a Big 12 tight end.
The end result is likely determined by how close to 100% we see Boyle throughout the summer. But with the finances in Baltimore potentially changing sooner rather than later with a Lamar Jackson contract extension, Boyle on his current pay scale feels like someone who may not be a long-term fit.
Top 10 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates in 2022: Jaguars, Jets duos highlight list - Lance Zierlein
Drafted: Round 1, No. 14 overall
Hamilton was my highest-graded draft prospect in 2022 thanks to his rare traits and impact potential. In Baltimore, free-agent signee Marcus Williams provides the Ravens with a center fielder who should allow Hamilton to move around the field, where he can range and attack the football. He can be a little bumpy in man coverage at times, but he’s a hard worker and ferocious hitter whose hybrid talents could create more production than most safeties see in a rookie season.