How Baltimore Ravens should plan for next season
Two-time Super Bowl champions the Baltimore Ravens face an important summer offseason as they roll out their plans for the coming campaign. The team is known around the globe as winners of the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2000 and 2012 but there’s much work to be done if they are to stand any chance of vying for the title in 2019.
John Harbaugh & Co. made a play-off appearance last season and that’s the least fans will expect again this time. They were champions of the AFC North and hosted the LA Chargers on January 6, ultimately falling to the Bolts by the score of 23-17 in a tense affair. Hopes for another playoff trip to New England were dashed.
Improvement is needed
Harbaugh and his staff must pick the positives out of that performance before looking for ways to improve the squad and ensure they make the playoffs again. Going deeper than last year and making more of an impact during the single-elimination tourney is a must.
So what will the Ravens need to do to be considered a force in the NFL again?
Followers will be delighted to see the backroom staff have already been busy, adding three players of note during the 2019 NFL Draft Pick. There was an emphasis placed on speed and strength, adding some much-needed pace to the offense and that’s a tactic that should pay off when things get going. Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Justice Hill are all in the nest and there’s plenty of giddy-up there. The speed creates pressure and regulars at the M&T Bank Stadium will be in for a rollercoaster ride.
Speaking to the press following the draft, general manager Eric DeCosta didn’t try to hide his plans, telling followers of the team they faced frightening offenses last season and adding speed was something everyone agreed was important for this term.
Cuts have to be made
As well as making additions, the staff will also be forced to wield the axe and make a number of difficult decisions in cutting players as they pare down the roster. The decisions won’t be easy.
Bookies don’t hold much hope
Speaking of things that won’t be easy, forecasting the Ravens 2019 season will be a challenge but many regulated bookies overseas have already had their say, drawing up books on a number of markets, including to win Super Bowl LIV. Traders believe the most likely team to come out on top this season is New England Patriots and they have been scratched up as favorites. Los Angeles Rams are expected to rate as the main threat to the crown, with the money men also affording Kansas City Chiefs the respect they deserve.
The fact Baltimore Ravens place 16th in the overall betting list to win the Super Bowl shows exactly what is expected of them this season and traders believe they will do well to match the efforts of last year. They are given more of a chance of claiming what looks to be a competitive AFC North Division, of course, but even then, it looks like a tough task.
The Cleveland Browns are the bookies pick to win that race, the betting placing them ahead of Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, with Cincinnati Bengals expected to be the whipping boys.
The early moves made by Baltimore have been promising and there’s a feeling this team could rally and upset the expectations of their critics. We’ll get a feel for what to expect from them when they line up against Miami Dolphins on September 8.