While second-round running back J.K. Dobbins has essentially elected not to take the practice field at all since the 2022 season ended, first-round inside linebacker Patrick Queen has been a full participant in both the offseason program and training camp thus far.
On Monday, the 23-year-old admitted that when the team declined his fifth year option three days after drafting what many believe to be his eventual replacement in third round rookie Trenton Simpson, he and everyone around him was “pissed”.
Sheesh— (@Patrickqueen_) April 29, 2023
Since then, he has put his emotions aside and isn’t letting his contract situation or the fact that he is slated to become an unrestricted free agent following this upcoming season deter his focus.
“At the end of the day, I get to play football in the National Football League, so that’s a blessing in itself,” Queen said. “I talked to (John Harbaugh), I talked to Eric (DeCosta), everything is good and settled right now. I’m not focused on the contract. I’m just looking to play ball. At the end of the day, I get to play football and make my market what I want it to be. I’m not stressing anything. I’m going out there having fun with my teammates, fun with my coaches.”
Harbaugh still believes that the “sky is the limit” for Queen and what he can become at this level. He has been impressed with his mentality and preparation for what he envisions will be a big year for him.
“My expectations for Patrick are for [him] to have a stellar season, and it’s only been affirmed by the way he’s practiced, the way he’s carried himself,” Harbaugh said. “He’s in a contract year and all that kind of stuff. Sometimes guys get distracted, and he has not been distracted at all. He is locked in on the mission ahead. You appreciate that, and it’s showing up in the way he’s playing every day.”
Queen has started every game for the Ravens since entering the league and is coming off his best season to date in which he made significant strides in improving his all-round game including in coverage and as a blitzer.
Even though he set career highs across the board in total tackles (117), sacks (5), quarterback hits (14), pass deflections (6), and interceptions (3) per Pro Football Reference, Queen also believes the best is yet to come for him.
“I definitely haven’t even gotten close to the player I can be,” Queen said. “Everybody around here knows it. I think people around the league know it. That’s why I’m out here just trying to get better, trying to compete [and] trying to just master my craft. I think when I do that, the whole league is going to be on notice.”
Although he has flashed Pro Bowl potential at times and even for extended stretches during his first three years in the league, Queen’s biggest struggled has been maintaining consistency in his play.
He attributed some of those early struggles that began to dissipate last season prior too and especially after the midseason trade for veteran Roquan Smith to having switch position from the WILL [Weakside] linebacker spot to the MIKE [Middle].
“Just being able to switch from my first year to midway through my second year and learn a whole new position was a challenge [in] itself, but I think I kind of found a common ground in which I needed to be prepared for knowing both positions,” Queen said.
“I think when I first learned Mike, I was just learning my position, and that what really messed me up – not knowing both positions – and that would have helped me in a defense itself just knowing both. It would have been a whole lot less mess ups and stuff, but I think that’s actually helped me now. So now that I know both positions, it’s way easier just being able to take my time and play football.”
While he isn’t taking the same course of action as Dobbins when it comes to how he’d like to get his contract situation resolved, Queen is sympathetic to his plight nonetheless.
“I know J.K.s faith is strong, we both trust in God to lead us in the right direction,” Queen said.
“His situation is different than mine. J.K.’s been hurt before, I think he’s seen how scary that side can be. He’s got his own perspective on things, I’ve got my own perspective on things. I think at the end of the day you have to respect our decisions. Everybody on the outside has views of how we should feel, how we should do things. He’s been in this situation before, I can see where he’s coming from.”