Summer officially started this week. Baltimore Ravens fans can take a break from football for a bit, mandatory minicamp is over and the official countdown to training camp has begun. Training camp opens July 26.
The offseason was quiet for the Ravens, well at least in free agency as they aren’t known for making a big splash. They had a decent draft and time will tell how their picks pan out, some may start this season.
The biggest news of the offseason was star linebacker Terrell Suggs tearing his Achilles tendon in May. His return date is unknown; he recently backed off his November return date. His replacement has not been named yet, rookie Courtney Upshaw is in the running as is Paul Kruger.
We are patiently waiting for starting running back, Ray Rice to sign a new contract. The Ravens placed the franchise tag on him this offseason, but a new agreement has yet to be reached. The deadline is July 16. Rice did not participate in OTAs or mandatory minicamp and some fear that his absence will affect the offense this season.
Rice is keeping in shape, he’s working out and practicing on his own so I have no doubt that he will be ready to go, though it would have been nice for him to be at minicamp, especially since quarterback Joe Flacco missed some of the minicamp for the birth of his baby Stephen Flacco.
There is the big question of who will be the No. 2 running back. After Ricky Williams retired earlier this year, the Ravens now need to fill his vacancy. No frontrunner yet, the battle will play out in training camp between rookie Bernard Pierce and veteran players Anthony Allen and Damien Berry.
There is concern about the offensive line and the age of some of the players. Age makes for experience, but will it slow them down? Matt Birk and Bobbie Williams will be 36 in October and Bryant McKinnie is 33. The younger players who may be added to the O line are untested and there are questions surrounding their ability to bring their “A” game.
We have no clue who will be the 3rd wide receiver. Newly acquired Jacoby Jones is the frontrunner, but he sat out part of minicamp with an undisclosed injury leaving the field open for prospects LaQuan Williams, Tandon Doss and rookie Deonte Thompson.
Then there is the Ed Reed drama which still annoys me, but I trust that he will be ready for training camp. He attended his own training camp in New Orleans this week so at least we know he is alive and kicking.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, as there are other questions I haven’t touched on and I’m sure new questions will arise, but that’s why it is a game, the pieces/players are constantly changing. It is head coach John Harbaugh’s job to find the solutions.
For now I’m going to enjoy the calm before the storm or is it the storm before the calm? While I hope it is the latter, time will tell how things shake out. I have faith in coach Harbaugh’s ability to make the right decisions, he’s done it before and hopefully he will do it again.