NFL teams are in the midst of training camp and the preseason has begun. What do we expect from the Baltimore Ravens in 2017?
It’s safe to say we’re not shy when it comes to getting you ready for the upcoming NFL season. Since March, we have strung together four different series in preparation for the fall. We just concluded looking at all 32 teams’ most improved area. That was preceded by pieces on a club’s best offseason addition, some facts, figures and feats for each squad, as well as an up-and-coming player for each roster.
So call this one for the thumb. With the regular-season rapidly approaching, we’ll take a look at what we could expect from each team. Every team wants to win the Super Bowl. However, 31 teams will obviously be disappointed. So we have been taking a look at all 32 clubs (in original 2017 draft order) and doing a little analysis. You can play catch up right here. So what are we really expecting from the Baltimore Ravens in 2017?
Following a five-year postseason run from 2008-12, John Harbaugh’s team has missed the playoffs three of the past four seasons. The Baltimore Ravens own a combined 31-33 regular-season record since winning Super Bowl XLVII. These days, quarterback Joe Flacco is hurting and the club has seen its share of injuries, most notably at tight end, and suspensions. As for the positives, Jeremy Maclin upgrades the wide receiving corps. And the addition of free-agent running back Danny Woodhead is another positive for the passing game and offense in general.
Then there’s the other side of the football. The newcomers in the defensive backfield include free-agent cornerbacks Brandon Carr (Dallas Cowboys) and Brandon Boykin (Chicago Bears), as well as free safety Tony Jefferson (Arizona Cardinals). Astute general manager Ozzie Newsome added cornerback Marlon Humphrey in the first round of April’s draft. Remember, this is a Baltimore team that allowed the ninth-fewest passing yards in the NFL in 2016 but gave up 28 scores through the air.
By all indications, the Baltimore Ravens should once again be in the mix for a playoff berth. However, it’s hard to ignore the injury bug that has already bitten the team. And Newsome has been bringing in replacements on a somewhat steady basis. This is still a franchise that stresses defense first and while the secondary has its share of upgrades, we aren’t as confident about the front seven as we have in years’ past. Combine that with the fact that the ground game is a work in progress and these Ravens may unfortunately pick up where they left off last season. Harbaugh’s club figures to hover near the .500 mark once again.