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The Ravens entered training camp with a a strong roster, albeit with a few holes. After all, no team is perfect and there are needs across each franchise. But as the franchise stares down the regular season, things have changed. They added outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney and cornerback Ronald Darby. They saw numerous players suffer some nagging injuries, including two which required surgery in cornerbacks Damarion “Pepe” Williams and Marlon Humphrey.
Things have begun to shake out and there are areas worthy of optimism. But, there are questions to ponder and areas where fans have reservation. Baltimore Beatdown asks you where those reservations lie.
With Ben Powers gone, the new addition was unlikely to fare with the same dominance. Now, it’s down to rookie Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu against the veteran John Simpson, with the latter arguably having the lead. The decision for who will man the spot in Week 1 the Ravens want for the full season, but Head Coach John Harbaugh said there are variables.
“When you go in, you go in planning for it to be settled,” Harbaugh said. “You want it to go well, and you want those guys to be cohesive and work together and become a unit. But also, for the ability for guys to plug in and not have any kind of drop off or any change at all. So, we’re working for all that stuff, so the answer to your question is yes, we want it to work. We want it to be great, but also, we’ll be working for all the variables.”
The Ravens added Clowney which quelled the fanbases growing flames, but the embers aren’t doused just yet. The three-man rotation of Clowney, Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo will be solid but most of it hinges on the young guns stepping up. It also depends on when the Ravens see outside linebacker Tyus Bowser back in the mix. Until then, the Ravens are operating on a thin unit for big snap allocation.
Arguably, Humphrey is a top five player this team can’t afford to lose. Some would go as far to say No. 3 or No. 2 on that list, interchanging with quarterback Lamar Jackson and left tackle Ronnie Stanley. But, he’s out for the foreseeable future. It would be alright if the team just lost Humphrey but the cornerback unit has been dealing with injury all of training camp. Rock Ya-Sin, Arthur Maulet, Pepe, Jalyn Armour-Davis and Humphrey have all dealt with injury and missed time. The team was running on fumes for their snaps against the Washington Commanders in their second preseason game.
The Ravens have a wide receiver unit with three big names and five NFL-caliber receivers in Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers, Nelson Agholor and Devin Duvernay. But, the health is always an annoying factor. Bateman is at “99%,” Beckham is ramping up and a lot hinges on each player not missing time. It’s a far more positive situation than a season ago, but it’s still lingering for some in terms of nervousness.