Describing the first week of training camp for the Baltimore Ravens as a nightmare is an understatement. The Ravens’ training camp woes have piled up just a few days in with key players from 2016 expected to miss some time.
First, Joe Flacco appears to be out for a period of time. Then, running back Kenneth Dixon’s second year is over before it began, one of the anchors in the trenches, John Urschel, wants to become a math teacher, and another promising Raven’s tight end is out for the year, but it doesn’t end there. Another name Baltimore fans loathe seeing on the injury report, Breshad Perriman, pulled a hammy on Tuesday.
Have we hit Defcon 1 in the first week of August? Maybe, but let’s take some inventory on what the Ravens still have and can do to salvage.
1. The Ol’ Reliable Defense
This consistent top 5 defense, even without leading tackler Zach Orr, can still put fear into offenses. C.J. Mosley was second in tackles last season on his way to another Pro Bowl. The secondary was an issue in 2016; Marlon Humphrey, a corner from Alabama drafted in the first round this year, helps address that issue. For years, the pride of this team comes from the defense; though creeping into his mid-30s, Terrell Suggs still leads a defense that offensive coordinators hate game planning against week in and week out.
2. The New Guys
The additions of Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead provide the offense with some weapons and versatility that they have lacked since the days of Jacoby Jones and Ray Rice. Though Woodhead is coming off a slew of injuries, his hands and impact in the red zone make him a constant target for Flacco. After revealing he had been nursing a groin injury for most of 2016, Maclin looks to get his step back. Placing Maclin in the slot may help him regain that explosion and burst seen in Philadelphia.
3. Kaepernick – Just Do it Already (Insert Shia LeBeouf gif)
At this point, I think fans of all teams are tired of hearing about the debate of Colin Kaepernick. This isn’t a political opinion, this is a football opinion. Kaepernick is a better quarterback than almost half starting quarterbacks and virtually all backup quarterbacks not named Jimmy Garappolo.
The back and forth reports amid the Ravens’ front office Wednesday resisting Kaep has made this story a political one. Football fans are ready to turn the page on this story. The need has never been higher, the media circus and hoopla can be justified if it means winning football games. An arena league quarterback and a journeyman quarterback could not be any farther from the answer, neither was Ryan Mallett, who might as well replace the ball launching machine for the defense to practice interceptions in training camp.
If Flacco is worried about a potential threat to his spot, he should show him his big, fat, shiny ring. Ironically it was against Kaepernick a little over five years ago. Kaepernick would be a good risk for this team right now, because hey, what else is there to lose other than Justin Tucker’s leg (violently knocks on wood).