5 Storylines To Follow During Baltimore Ravens Training Camp
5 Storylines To Follow In Baltimore Ravens Training Camp
Well we're already one week into training camp, and for some teams it's already been a tumultuous time. This is especially the case for the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
I'll be highlighting five storylines that everyone should keep a close eye on during the remainder of camp. Picking just five will be a little tricky, but I'm up for the task.
As we all know the Ravens have had a very untypical offseason for a defending champion. They've had more turnover than any other previous champion, including two players who were considered the faces of the team in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. General Manager Ozzie Newsome worked his magic and brought in a lot of new faces like Elvis Dumervil and Michael Huff to name a few.
The first week of training camp has already had some positives and one big negative. The negative being the season ending hip injury of Dennis Pitta. The Ravens had big expectations for Pitta in this year's offense, but now they’ll have to adjust accordingly, next man up as is the moniker of the Ravens.
On a positive note, a familiar face was brought back into the fold and that’s Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach, a fan favorite in Baltimore.
Of course there’s plenty more positives and negatives to take away from the early stages of training camp and storylines galore to keep following. Things should only get more interesting from here on out.
Without further ado here are the top five storylines to follow throughout training camp, in no particular order.
The starting inside linebacker spots are anything but certain right now. The consensus going into camp was that Jameel McClain and rookie Arthur Brown were going to be atop the depth chart. McClain is still unable to get on the field and as a result Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan are getting reps with the first team. Daryl Smith is also vying for one of the starting spots.
It should be interesting to see who gets the starting nod in the first preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard gone there will be two new starting safeties. Michael Huff will likely take Reed’s old spot and rookie Matt Elam and James Ihedigbo will duel it out for Pollard’s spot.
Lardarius Webb also comes back from a torn ACL suffered last year, but can he return to form? Jimmy Smith and Corey Graham will duke it to play opposite Webb. Either way the starting secondary of the Ravens will look a lot different than last year.
Life After Dennis Pitta
Dennis Pitta’s absence leaves a big void in the Ravens offense. Ed Dickson was drafted one round ahead of Pitta in the same draft, so it’s time for him to put on his big boy shoes and step up. Visanthe Schiancoe was signed to probably be the No. 2 Tight End and will try to regain some of his form from his Minnesota Vikings days.
Could no Pitta mean that the Ravens will lean more towards the running game? You've got to think so considering the re-signing of Vonta Leach.
Who Steps Up At Wide Receiver?
The wide receiver battle will be ongoing probably up until the last preseason game. Tandon Doss is the favorite to try to fill the void of Anquan Boldin. Deonte Thompson has been impressing thus far and everyone else besides Torrey Smith and Jacoby are fighting it out for the last couple of spots. David Reed, Tommy Streeter, Laquan Williams, and Aaron Mellette are likely dueling for the last two spots.
Can Joe Flacco Keep The Momentum Going?
Inconsistent is the word that most would use when summing up Joe Flacco’s career thus far. As we all know Flacco had one of the most historic postseasons in NFL history that culminated with a Super Bowl MVP award. The question on everyone’s mind is can he parlay that into a consistent season? Can Flacco put himself in to the conversation with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees? It’s going to be tough with no Boldin or Pitta.