Your Offseason Baltimore Ravens News & Notes
It’s been over a month since we met the draft class and the Ravens recently held their first optional OTA’s, so it’s about time for some news & notes on what Baltimore’s football team has been up to. We’ve got rookies getting their feet wet, the offense getting adjusted to a new system, and a few other storylines taking us into a mandatory minicamp next week. Let’s get to it.
Joe Flacco and Gary Kubiak
Joe took a lot of flack early this offseason for not getting his receivers together for some throwing sessions. Ridiculous. If there’s something I’ve learned about Joe Flacco in the past 6 years, it’s that he’s never ill-prepared, whether it be for voluntary OTA’s or for Sundays in the fall. So what’s he been up to then? Turns out he’s had his nose buried in Gary Kubiak’s playbook. Due to absurd NFL rules where coaches can’t be in contact with their players until June, Flacco was on his own to learn the ins and outs of Gary’s offense. Kubiak came out of last week’s OTA’s raving about how Joe is well ahead of the curve. Word is that he’s looking a lot quicker on his feet too, which obviously bodes well as he adjusts to more 3 step drops and rollouts in the West Coast offense. Good to see that left knee that hampered him late last season is all healed up too. It’s early, but all signs point to this offense bouncing back this season.
Nothing but good things to report here. Early reviews on first round pick on CJ Mosley have been that he’s exactly as advertised. Moves well, shows great instincts, etc. etc. I think he’ll be a vital guy in the middle of that defense from Week 1. 2nd rounder Timmy Jernigan has impressed as well, showing explosive strength off the snap according to his offensive lineman counterparts. He might be able to crack the starting lineup in Week 1 as well. 3rd rounder and fellow Seminole Terrance Brooks has been taking 2nd team reps in the secondary, as it looks like veteran FA pickup Darian Stewart is the early frontrunner to win the starting safety job.
The guy I remain especially excited about is DE Brent Urban. Just a freak athlete who actually played on a bantam hockey team with 4 future NHLers when he was 15. The ankle injury that hindered his draft process seems to be 100%, so he’s able to go full speed and harness some of that raw talent. You don’t lead the entire NCAA in swatted passes by accident. At 6’7, 295 pounds of muscle, he could be the steal of the entire 2014 draft class.
Cornerback and Right Tackle
These remain the two areas of concern as the offseason continues. Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb form one of the best CB pairs in the league. But the drop-off after that is astounding. In today’s NFL, you gotta be much deeper in the secondary than having guys like Asa Jackson and Chykie Brown covering the slot. The Chiefs recently released former Pro Bowler Brandon Flowers, and the Ravens have been reported to be one of the top candidates to land him. I’ll be able to rest a lot easier come September if we can sign him up.
The Ravens continue to appear content with Rick Wagner at the right tackle position for the time being. I still have my concerns, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Obviously things can change between now and training camp, but there doesn’t seem to be any urgency to upgrade the RT position. I think it’s a mistake, but hopefully I’m wrong.
I remain enthusiastic about the receiving corps Ozzie Newsome has put together. Steve Smith has been everything we’ve bargained for at this point, as the stories about his ferocity in practice have proven to be true. Torrey Smith has been gushing about how much he’s learned just by watching Steve go about his business. Impressionable young fellas like Marlon Brown and Michael Campanaro stand to benefit the most from learning from one of the best in the business. This is especially imperative as the group gets adjusted to Kubiak’s offense, which strives to get everyone involved, including the fullback. Steve’s presence alone is worth the invesment already.
That’s all I got for this edition. Need training camp here in the worst way. On another note, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for anything and everything Ravens. Maybe we can get a mailbag going at some point down the road. Send any Baltimore stories you’d like to see blogged too. Gracias.