The Buffalo Bills will be visiting Baltimore for the second straight season, although this tilt against the Ravens doesn’t hold the same stakes that last year’s season-opening 13-7 defeat held. Our friends over at Baltimore Beatdown gave us a look at what to expect from the Ravens this year, especially after the losses they’ve suffered on the medical front.
It seems the Ravens really can't catch a break on the injury front. Assuming there aren't any more major ones coming down the line (one can only hope), who are the most important guys who will be missing time, or at least limited from a medical standpoint?
Joe Flacco is obviously the most important part. If he can return soon, fans can finally breathe. Another highly important name on the injury list is left tackle Ronnie Stanley. After big injuries took away the depth on the offensive line, the Ravens cannot afford to lose their left tackle.There are many other names on the injury list, unfortunately, but none are more important than the left tackle and quarterback.
#MaclinWatch was a big thing in Buffalo, but it ended with the former Chiefs wideout signing in Baltimore. How has he been so far in the offseason, and what do you expect from him moving forward?
Feel like I'm flaunting over the girlfriend we stole from you, but Jeremy Maclin is everything football fans know about him. He's consistently made plays in practice, even playing against the Ravens stout defense with Ryan Mallett throwing. The only frustration is knowing we haven't witnessed his best football due to Joe's absence.
What are your impressions on first-round cornerback Marlon Humphrey and the rest of the Ravens' 2017 draft class so far?
Marlon Humphrey was a great addition to the Ravens. Every season, it feels, the Ravens lose a cornerback to injury before the season starts. This year the team lost Tavon Young. Marlon helped ease the loss, and is expected to contribute. He's unfortunately dealing with an injury, meaning he won't see much of the field until Week One. As for the other rookies, Tyus Bowser is the player to watch. He has the skills of a multi-tooled linebacker. He's been used in coverage, where he provides impressive range, while also packing an impressive pass-rush. Ravens fans are spoiled when it comes to linebackers. Tim Williams linebacker from Alabama, was known to be a strict pass rush linebacker, and after a weak first game he notched a sack. The only player not having a decent camp is Nico Siragusa, who unfortunately suffered a torn ACL, MCL and PCL in a goal-line drill.
Who has impressed you so far among the fringe roster players? Who is going to be playing for a roster spot in the second half on Saturday?
Quincy Adeboyejo is the fringe player to watch. An undrafted free agent receiver with potential. He's managed to make plays against the Ravens starting cornerbacks and safeties, which is no easy feat. On the defense, watch cornerback Jaylen Hill. His interception against Washington, coupled with his lockdown play against Miami has turned heads among the Ravens brass and media. A young kid with an incredibly high ceiling, definitely my player to watch.
The Ravens finished 8-8 last year. They were hit by some big injuries, but they've already seen their fair share of them (and then some) this year. Are they going to be a playoff team in 2017?
With the Ravens unusual aggressiveness in free agency this year, I believe Baltimore has the defense and special teams to bully teams to victory. Their set of starters on defense are lockdown from nose tackle to free safety. Justin Tucker is a cheat code with his capability of scoring field goals from unreasonable ranges. If Flacco returns and plays to his expectations, the Ravens are a postseason squad. Bringing this back to your mention of injuries though, any more losses will sink the Ravens ship. There's only so many personnel losses you can adjust your gameplan to accommodate. I know it's a cop-out, but injuries will be the reason Baltimore does or does not clinch a playoff berth.