Answering The Questions of Ravens Nation!
Which camp battles do you find most intriguing? ~ Ken from Sparks
Judging from the Ravens organizational jubilation over drafting Keenan Reynolds, he appears to be a lock to make the team – quite a feat for a 6th round pick. But I wouldn’t yet count out Michael Campanaro. I get that he’s regularly hurt and that it’s difficult to find two roster spots for similar players (Reynolds & Campanaro) but if each plays well and earns a spot they could both stick.
The Ravens were attracted to Campanaro because they saw a skill set they wanted to incorporate into the team’s offense, seeing how effective guys like Wes Welker and Julian Edelman are at keeping drives alive. They are similar players who played together just as Danny Amendola now plays with Edelman. If they are deemed to be among the best 6 or 7 receivers on the roster, the Ravens can find a way to use both.
The other obvious battle is at running back but an interesting one that gets little fan fare and should shape up as a doozy is at the corner position opposite Jimmy Smith. Shareece Wright will be pushed by Jerraud Powers. Wright signed a 3-year deal for $13M that included $4.7M in guarantees. The contract suggests he’s the starter but the 28-year old Powers is a guy playing on a one-year deal and he’s out to prove himself and earn a bigger payday in 2017. This year he gets $1.75M.
Powers could slide over to nickel corner where he’ll compete against rookie Tavon Young and incumbent Kyle Arrington. The competition will make the Ravens better.
Do you expect improvement from the secondary now that Leslie Frazier is the coach of that unit? Charlie from Crownsville
I think the unit will improve mostly because the personnel is better and healthier. But Leslie Frazier does bring a solid defensive resume and he’ll be a big asset for the Ravens defensive backfield. That said Frazier might not be a positional coach for long. If Dean Pees fails to improve upon a defense that ranked 25th last season in points allowed per game (25.1), Frazier could be elevated to coordinator.
What is your biggest concern heading into the 2016 season? ~ Bill from Perry Hall
Without question my biggest concerns rest on the offensive line. The Ravens will be starting a rookie at left tackle and that established veteran presence to play beside him at guard just isn’t on the roster – at least not yet.
If things remain the same with Ronnie Stanley and John Urschel holding up the left side of the line, I expect a lot of pre-snap movement and exotic blitzes originating on that side of the line in order to get to Joe Flacco. This places an added emphasis on the importance of running the football and 3-step drop
throws to mitigate the pressure, to get defenses on their heels a bit, and then utilize the offense’s newfound speed– a missing component in 2015.
One more thought, and this is easier said than done, but to help Stanley and Urschel (assuming he’s the guy) develop together, offensive coordinator Marc Trestman will need to keep defenses off balance with formation, personnel grouping, no huddle, cadence, etc. to prevent the pair from being exposed. If he can make defenses think, he slows them down and helps what for now are the offense’s weakest links.
By the way, keep an eye on offensive lineman Alex Lewis.