Clifton Brown, BaltimoreRavens.com
“He’s a guru,” Ojabo said. “He’s just bringing [out] the best side of us, and he brings a lot of energy. [He] lets us be ourselves, lets us kind of dance off the ball. I’m really excited just to see how our development comes.”
“He’s giving us insight that a lot of guys, like me in particular, haven’t had, because a lot of my coaches, they’re great coaches, but they haven’t really played the position,” Oweh said. “He’s played the position. He’s trained a lot of guys that played the position at a high level. I’m getting little tidbits that I wouldn’t have necessarily gotten.”
“When you see Odafe, you’re going to know his signature pass rush move,” Smith said. ”We’re teaching them to do high performance moves, but most importantly, how to fix them when flaws come about. That’s where I come in.
“It’s not just Odafe, it’s Ojabo, it’s Jeremiah Moon, it’s Tavius Robinson. All of these guys are working for a common cause, and ultimately, to be the best team, [the best] defense we can be. The big prize is try to win a Super Bowl, and pass rush, for us to get there, that’s going to have to be a part of it.”
Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun
This season, Pierce has to replace a giant both on and off the field in defensive end Calais Campbell, who signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons on March 29.
“I don’t think you replace Hall of Famers in general,” Pierce said. “Do you replace Terrell Suggs or Ray Lewis? I don’t think you do. I think you just feel the role that is put out for you in your position, and if you do that, you will bring people along. It will all come together.”
Last year was just a glimpse of how dominant Pierce could be. He had six tackles and was running sideline-to-sideline early in the season. He didn’t have a sack, but he was forcing quarterbacks to move or step up in the pocket.
There has been a different Pierce in the voluntary practices open to the media. His quickness and burst are clearly evident. Many established veterans don’t even attend the voluntary sessions, but Pierce has embraced them because he wants and needs to find his groove again.
Dalton Wasserman, PFF
Hamilton came into the 2022 NFL Draft with a ton of fanfare out of Notre Dame. Shockingly, he exceeded his lofty expectations and was easily the NFL’s highest-graded safety (87.6). He was a monster in every phase of the game and made 24 combined stops on just 600 total snaps. While he hasn’t yet reeled in his first interception, he did break up five passes in 2022. His increase in usage was a huge reason Baltimore’s defense improved down the stretch.
Williams’ stable play in the deep part of the field is what allows Kyle Hamilton to roam free in the box. While Williams didn’t quite have the 2022 grading profile from his time in New Orleans, he did finish with four interceptions and four pass breakups. His 42.9 passer rating allowed ranked third best among all qualified safeties. Williams does a lot of the quiet work, but he does it at a very high level.
Best Running Backs in the NFL 2023: Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb, and Derrick Henry Battle Atop Rankings
Dallas Robinson, Pro Football Network
28) J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
Talent isn’t a problem for J.K. Dobbins. Over 226 NFL totes, the former second-round pick has averaged 5.9 yards per carry. However, a torn ACL forced Dobbins to miss the entire 2021 season, while another knee issue cost him time in 2022.
The Ravens didn’t add any competition to their running back room this offseason, a signal that they’re ready to roll with Dobbins as their lead option.
Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA Today
Adding a marquee talent isn’t the only avenue for offseason progress. For the Ravens, repairing their relationship with an existing superstar helped propel the franchise forward for 2023. The prolonged standoff between the team and Lamar Jackson reached an amicable end in late April, when Baltimore made its star quarterback the NFL’s new highest-paid player with a five-year contract worth $260 million.
The Ravens’ rosier outlook, however, isn’t simply a product of better vibes. A franchise infamous for its lack of investment at wide receiver finally reconfigured its receiving corps in a major way, with Baltimore signing Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor before taking Zay Flowers in the first round of the draft. With tight end Mark Andrews leading the way and third-year wideout Rashod Bateman seeking a breakout season, this is unquestionably the most talented and explosive group of skill-position players Jackson has been afforded in his career.
Perhaps the most crucial offseason improvement, however, is rooted in a new approach that will better position Baltimore to take advantage of those receivers. Gone are Greg Roman and his rigid, run-centric offensive scheme. Todd Monken takes over after helping Georgia win consecutive national titles, and the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator has proven to be adaptable. His approach has already been lauded by Jackson, who said he expects a more open passing attack, noting that “running only takes you so far.”
The Ravens’ ramped-up offense might be put to the test early, as some defensive shortcomings could leave the team in more shootouts than it’s accustomed to. But this is exactly the remodel that was called for in Baltimore.