Heller’s Three Burning Questions 2022: Baltimore Ravensby Joe Heller July 8, 2022 0 comments
The 2022 NFL preseason is rapidly approaching, with team practices growing more intense by the day. Coming off an offseason for the ages that changed not only the complexion of individual teams but both the AFC and NFC as a whole. Many things will look quite different from a season ago. It’s the perfect time for the fourth annual edition of Three Burning Questions. As in years past, this 32-part series will look at the three most pressing questions facing each of the 32 teams. Here are the Three Burning Questions for the Baltimore Ravens.
Make sure to also check out our NFL Bold Predictions series.
Can the Backfield Stay on the Field?
A season ago the Ravens had a horrible preseason injury-wise. In the span of just two weeks around the onset of the season, running backs Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins, and Justice Hill all were lost for the season. Edwards and Dobbins each to a torn ACL. Hill’s injury was his Achilles. With the only back left on the roster being Ty’Son Williams, the Ravens quickly hit the free-agent market to compile some resemblance of a rushing attack. Veterans Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, and a short-lived Le’Veon Bell experiment that lasted just five games, were signed.
The trio, along with Williams, combined for over 1,300 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground. Freeman’s 576 yards were second on the team behind Lamar Jackson‘s 767. Edwards, Hill, and Dobbins are expected to be ready for camp and as insurance, the Ravens signed former Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers back Mike Davis. Barring any setbacks, the rushing attack should be what the team expected it to be last season.
Is the Defense still Elite?
Maybe the biggest shock in Baltimore last season was the defense. A unit that has consistently been among the top-10 units in the NFL finished as the 19th-ranked defense, which combined with the depleted backfield and key offensive line injuries, led to the team’s 8-9 finish. Injuries to their secondary played a large part in their ranking. Marcus Peters, the veteran leader of the unit, tore his ACL. The patched-together secondary gave up more than their fair share of big plays that the offense wasn’t able to overcome consistently. Peters will hope to get back to his Pro Bowl form, which both the organization and their fans are hoping for.
Will Jackson Struggle without Hollywood?
Coming off of his first 1,000-yard receiving season, Marquise Brown was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in a surprising draft-day move. Jackson will definitely miss Brown but 2021 first-round pick, Rashod Bateman, will step into the No. 1 receiver spot and Devin Duvernay will move up the depth chart as well. Jackson will also rely heavily on his tight ends Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle. Boyle, more of a blocking tight end, missed a majority of last season as he was working his way back from his own ACL injury. He could be more of a factor in the Ravens’ passing game this season. As is Jackson’s style he’ll continue to pull it down and make a play on his own more often than not as well.
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