Monday, January 30, 2023
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Want, need, or desperate: Looking at Ravens roster a week into free agency

Daily Discussions

The Ravens’ roster has undergone massive changes in the last month.
Four of their top seven defensive players in terms of snaps played last season are gone, a group that accounted for nearly 40 percent of their sack total. Two of their top three wide receivers are no longer in the picture, leaving just two wide receivers on the current roster who have caught an NFL pass.
Of course, general manager Eric DeCosta hasn’t just been sitting on his hands, signing six-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas to upgrade from highly-respected veteran Eric Weddle and adding two-time Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram to a ground attack that was already the best in the NFL in the second half of 2018. The Ravens also signed veteran cornerback Justin Bethel to enhance the special-teams units that will undoubtedly miss longtime coordinator Jerry Rosburg, whose pending retirement might be the most underrated loss of the offseason.
Understanding the start of the 2019 regular season is still more than five months away, which of the Ravens’ positional groups require the most work and carry the most concern right now? Some value free agents remain and Baltimore has enough cap space to make another notable signing or two, but going into the draft with multiple needs usually leaves an organization in danger of either reaching in lieu of maximizing value or being left out at a key position or two altogether.
Which positions do the Ravens want to upgrade, need to address, or desperately must improve between now and the start of the season?
Backup quarterback – NEED
Starter Lamar Jackson is the only quarterback currently on the roster as the Ravens have yet to strike a deal with Robert Griffin III to return. It’s difficult to feel good about anyone replacing Jackson’s unique skill set for an extended stretch of time in an offense being specifically built for the 22-year-old, but Griffin would certainly fit better than most quarterbacks out there. Perhaps more important than the system fit is Griffin’s presence as a mentor as it was no secret the two hit it off last season. Ultimately, we’re still talking about a very young quarterback here who can benefit from an experienced veteran. Josh Johnson could be a backup to the backup plan, but it’s difficult to find too many logical fits for the job in terms of both playing style and intangibles.
Edge defender/outside linebacker – DESPERATE
The short-term and long-term outlooks at this position are very concerning with Matthew Judon being the only proven commodity and scheduled to hit the open market himself next offseason. Expectations were high for 2017 second-round pick Tyus Bowser and 2017 third-round pick Tim Williams when they were drafted, but they’ve been non-factors in their first two seasons. Sure, the presence of Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith cut into potential opportunities, but the Ravens would have loved nothing more than to put the aging Suggs on more of a pitch count these last two seasons, making this a critical year for Bowser and Williams. With Smith receiving a big payday in Green Bay, the Ravens also lost his versatility to rush the passer from the inside, another issue needing to be addressed. Free agents such as Justin Houston and Ezekiel Ansah are still available, but DeCosta very much needs to add a veteran and draft a pass rusher to adequately address the void here.
Interior offensive line – WANT
Make no mistake, the Ravens would benefit greatly from finding at least one upgrade at guard or center, especially with seven-time Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda entering the final year of his contract and turning 35 in September. However, the Ravens had the NFL’s best running game over the final two months of last season and finished 10th in Pro Football Focus’ end-of-year offensive line rankings and eighth in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate. With a full offseason for recovery and improvement, the Ravens finding a solid left guard out of the trio of James Hurst, Alex Lewis, and Bradley Bozeman isn’t unreasonable and Matt Skura improving in his second full season at center isn’t out of the question. Baltimore will have the option to use the same Week 1 starting offensive line in consecutive years for the first time since 2014 and 2015. An upgrade or two would be great, but don’t dismiss the value of continuity along the offensive line.
Inside linebacker – NEED
Regardless of your feelings on C.J. Mosley’s true worth or ability, you don’t lose a four-time Pro Bowl selection in his prime without having significant questions about replacing him. Patrick Onwuasor emerged late last season and Kenny Young flashed in his 369 defensive snaps as a rookie, but the two played in a platoon — along with dime back Anthony Levine — that enhanced their strengths and masked their weaknesses. The Ravens might be able to get by with Onwuasor and Young in starting roles, but it would certainly deviate from the value they’ve put on the inside linebacker position historically. DeCosta could still look to sign a veteran such as Zach Brown or Brandon Marshall, but it’d be surprising if the Ravens aren’t at least aiming to add an inside linebacker in the first three or four rounds of the draft.
Wide receiver – DESPERATE
With apologies to the solid Willie Snead and special-teams standout Chris Moore, you’d have a difficult time arguing against this current group of wide receivers being the worst in the NFL on paper. Yes, I know the Ravens want to run the ball and arguably value tight ends more than anyone in the league, but that won’t help as much when facing a strong run defense, falling behind multiple scores, or trailing late in games. There’s also the question of Jackson’s development and wanting to maximize the return on that investment for the long haul, something that will be easier to do with a standout wide receiver at his disposal. The problem is this wasn’t a particularly good free-agent class of wide receivers to begin with and most of the top names have already come off the board with options like Dontrelle Inman not getting anyone excited. Like at outside linebacker, the best course of action appears to be adding a veteran and using some meaningful draft capital — not late-round fliers — for a receiver or two. No matter what happens, it’s tough envisioning this position not being a concern going into the season, but that’s hardly unfamiliar territory.

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With changes looming elsewhere, Ravens hope to keep offensive line largely intact

A source of frustration in the previous two seasons, the offensive line was among the NFL's best in 2022.
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Right Now in Baltimore

Right Now in Baltimore

After 26 faithful purple seasons, the Ravens have bullied me out of my seats and denied my media access

This is my story. This is the truth. And it must be told. In its entirety because it's so outrageous as to be almost unbelievable. Covering the Ravens is all I’ve ever done professionally since the team arrived in Baltimore in 1996, and this is how I feed my family and pay my bills as a small local business and AM 1570 radio operator and entrepreneur.

#ColumnNes Regarding Lamar Jackson, the lack of maturity is a bigger issue than an ugly tweet

If Lamar Jackson regrets the statement to the fellow in Pennsylvania, he should’ve offered an apology to him. If he regrets the world seeing his ugly words, Jackson has a platform with a million followers and could’ve offered an apology. If it was truly “out of character,” then show your character and admit a mistake and move on.

Why did Chad Steele take my press credentials after 26 years of covering the Baltimore Ravens?

This is my story in my own words. Listen and learn about how the NFL treats the local media and avoids the tough questions and intimidates local media who have traveled and reported on Baltimore football since before Art Modell brought the Ravens here in 1995. What happened is wrong and here's why...

After 26 faithful purple seasons, the Ravens have bullied me out of my seats and denied my media access

This is my story. This is the truth. And it must be told. In its entirety because it's so outrageous as to be almost unbelievable. Covering the Ravens is all I’ve ever done professionally since the team arrived in Baltimore in 1996, and this is how I feed my family and pay my bills as a small local business and AM 1570 radio operator and entrepreneur.

#ColumnNes Regarding Lamar Jackson, the lack of maturity is a bigger issue than an ugly tweet

If Lamar Jackson regrets the statement to the fellow in Pennsylvania, he should’ve offered an apology to him. If he regrets the world seeing his ugly words, Jackson has a platform with a million followers and could’ve offered an apology. If it was truly “out of character,” then show your character and admit a mistake and move on.

Why did Chad Steele take my press credentials after 26 years of covering the Baltimore Ravens?

This is my story in my own words. Listen and learn about how the NFL treats the local media and avoids the tough questions and intimidates local media who have traveled and reported on Baltimore football since before Art Modell brought the Ravens here in 1995. What happened is wrong and here's why...
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@NestorAparicio

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Maryland Crab Cake Tour

Maryland Crab Cake Tour

Hot dogs and crab cakes with Andy

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With changes looming elsewhere, Ravens hope to keep offensive line largely intact

A source of frustration in the previous two seasons, the offensive line was among the NFL's best in 2022.

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The 28-year-old made 30 starts in 2022, posting a career-best 3.98 ERA.

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Center Tyler Linderbaum played more snaps than any other Baltimore rookie this season.

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So much can happen in the coming weeks in regard to a franchise tag and trade – or a miracle signing of Number Eight. Luke Jones and Nestor assess the Ravens circumstances and all of their options with Lamar Jackson this offseason in this deep purple dive.
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@BaltimoreLuke

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The WNST Sports Report

The WNST Sports Report

With changes looming elsewhere, Ravens hope to keep offensive line largely intact

A source of frustration in the previous two seasons, the offensive line was among the NFL's best in 2022.

With changes looming elsewhere, Ravens hope to keep offensive line largely intact

A source of frustration in the previous two seasons, the offensive line was among the NFL's best in 2022.

Reviewing Ravens’ rookie class after 2022 season

Center Tyler Linderbaum played more snaps than any other Baltimore rookie this season.

Reviewing Ravens’ rookie class after 2022 season

Center Tyler Linderbaum played more snaps than any other Baltimore rookie this season.

Separating facts from fiction: Lamar Jackson v. Ravens for the money has begun

So much can happen in the coming weeks in regard to a franchise tag and trade – or a miracle signing of Number Eight. Luke Jones and Nestor assess the Ravens circumstances and all of their options with Lamar Jackson this offseason in this deep purple dive.

Two Ravens players voted to 2022 PFWA All-Rookie team

Safety Kyle Hamilton was recognized for a strong debut season in the Baltimore secondary.

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Baltimore hasn't hosted a conference championship game since Jan. 3, 1971.

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Luke Jones and Nestor assess the wreckage of the Buffalo Bills and who is going to Super Bowl LVII in Glendale? Great AFC and NFC Championship Games ahead on Sunday.

How will Lamar Jackson negotiate his best deal?

Now that we've heard Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh profess their burning desire to keep Number 8 in a purple jersey, Leonard Raskin and Nestor discuss the fans' understanding of the business of football and taxes and counting the money of Lamar Jackson.

Reviewing Ravens’ rookie class after 2022 season

Center Tyler Linderbaum played more snaps than any other Baltimore rookie this season.

Reviewing Ravens’ rookie class after 2022 season

Center Tyler Linderbaum played more snaps than any other Baltimore rookie this season.

Separating facts from fiction: Lamar Jackson v. Ravens for the money has begun

So much can happen in the coming weeks in regard to a franchise tag and trade – or a miracle signing of Number Eight. Luke Jones and Nestor assess the Ravens circumstances and all of their options with Lamar Jackson this offseason in this deep purple dive.

Two Ravens players voted to 2022 PFWA All-Rookie team

Safety Kyle Hamilton was recognized for a strong debut season in the Baltimore secondary.

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Baltimore hasn't hosted a conference championship game since Jan. 3, 1971.

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How will Lamar Jackson negotiate his best deal?

Now that we've heard Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh profess their burning desire to keep Number 8 in a purple jersey, Leonard Raskin and Nestor discuss the fans' understanding of the business of football and taxes and counting the money of Lamar Jackson.

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Ronnie Stanley on Lamar Jackson: “In my mind, I know he’s going to be here”

"This is his team, and this is his offense. The money is not the most important thing with Lamar. He really wants to win."

#RavensFlock

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Good Sports

Good Sports

Are you Team John or Team Lou?

Luke Jones and Nestor discuss the outburst, deflection and lies of John Angelos and the mostly quiet Orioles offseason and winter of hope on the field.

Separating facts from fiction: Lamar Jackson v. Ravens for the money has begun

So much can happen in the coming weeks in regard to a franchise tag and trade – or a miracle signing of Number Eight. Luke Jones and Nestor assess the Ravens circumstances and all of their options with Lamar Jackson this offseason in this deep purple dive.

Burrowing in for another unlikely Super Bowl run?

Luke Jones and Nestor assess the wreckage of the Buffalo Bills and who is going to Super Bowl LVII in Glendale? Great AFC and NFC Championship Games ahead on Sunday.

Waiting for John Angelos to show us the financials of the Baltimore Orioles

Longtime journalist and baseball scribe Thom Loverro of The Washington Times joins Nestor to discuss the angry words of John Angelos and the future of Camden Yards and Orioles baseball.

How will Lamar Jackson negotiate his best deal?

Now that we've heard Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh profess their burning desire to keep Number 8 in a purple jersey, Leonard Raskin and Nestor discuss the fans' understanding of the business of football and taxes and counting the money of Lamar Jackson.
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Preparing for life after Greg Roman

Luke Jones prepares Dennis Koulatsos for all that happens for Ravens after Greg Roman era
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If Ravens and Lamar divorce, what will they tell the fans?

Bill Cole and Nestor discuss the disappointments of recent Ravens seasons and the apparent souring of the Lamar Jackson relationship in Owings Mills.
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How will Lamar Jackson negotiate his best deal?

Now that we've heard Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh profess their burning desire to keep Number 8 in a purple jersey, Leonard Raskin and Nestor discuss the fans' understanding of the business of football and taxes and counting the money of Lamar Jackson.
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What comes after you hit the big one?

John Martin of Maryland Lottery tells Nestor about aftermath of hitting the big one in Mega Millions or PowerBall.
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Preparing for life after Greg Roman

Luke Jones prepares Dennis Koulatsos for all that happens for Ravens after Greg Roman era
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