Five Biggest Questions Heading Into Ravens Training Camp

The Ravens are just one day away from the start of training camp and just over a month away from their week one matchup against the New York Jets. With the season drawing closer there is still a lot of questions surrounding this 2022 Ravens team.

Lets look at the five biggest questions heading into Ravens training camp:

Can The Ravens and Lamar Jackson Get A Deal Done?

The talk all offseason both locally and nationally has been Lamar Jackson and his contract situation with the Ravens. As we are just one day away from the start of the first practice, it appears that this discussion will continue until the Ravens and Jackson can come to terms on a new deal. Many have called for Jackson to hold out of camp until a new deal is reached, but while Jackson has reported to the facility it is not yet known how much Jackson will be on the field for practices.

Jackson is an elite talent, a talent that has not been seen in the NFL before and his unique skill set has put him in position to become one of the highest paid quarterback in the league. The Ravens picked up Jackson’s fifth year option this will pay Jackson just over $23 million fully guaranteed in 2022. With Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray agreeing to a new contract which will pay him around $46 million per year, it puts a ballpark number for the Ravens and Jackson to work around. While Jackson’s price tag could be steep it could allow the the Ravens to free up some much needed cap space, depending on the structuring of the deal.

Jackson is reportedly looking for a short four year deal around $50 million dollars per year, which would make him the second highest paid QB, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is currently the highest paid QB in 2022 ($50.3 million/year). With Jackson having no professional representation not much regrading discussion between him and the Ravens has put out to the public, but the longer the Ravens go without getting a deal done the more speculation surrounding Jackson’s future in Baltimore will arise.

How Will Ravens Handle Key Players Returning From Injury?

Injuries depleted the Ravens last season starting in training camp all the way through the final game of the season. While most starters during the John Harbaugh era have played in the preseason, most expect very few, if any, starters will play a snap during the Ravens three preseason games. The Ravens hope is to get through camp healthy and that includes changing the way in which training camp practices are run as well as the time in which practices will take place. The Ravens have moved their practices to the afternoon as opposed to their traditional morning practices.

Six players will begin camp on the physically unable to perform list. The most notable on the list includes running backs J.K Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley, cornerback Marcus Peters, and outside linebacker Tyus Bowser. The Ravens appear to be taking a cautious approach to their stars returning from serious injury, and while the hope is that all will be ready come week one, the Ravens know that longevity throughout the season is more important.

Who Will Step Up To Become The Ravens Top Wide Receiver?

The departure of Marquise Brown has left many pundits wondering who will step up to take the place as Lamar’s top wide receiver target. It will come to no ones surprise that tight end Mark Andrews will be the Ravens leading receiver when the 2022 season comes to a close, but what Ravens wide receiver will fill the void left by Brown?

The easy answer to this question is 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman. Bateman missed nearly all of camp last season including the fist five regular season games. Bateman played in 12 games in 2021, catching 46 passes on 68 targets for 515 yards and one touchdown. Bateman was drafted to be a number one receiver for Lamar Jackson and with Brown no longer on the roster and a full offseason Bateman is poised to have a breakout 2022 season and become the number one receiver this Ravens offense long been waiting for.

What Rookie Will Make An Immediate Impact?

The Ravens had two picks in this past April’s NFL draft selecting Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton with the 14th overall pick and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum with the 25th selection. While Hamilton and Linderbaum are expected to play very meaningful downs for the Ravens in 2022 their are several other rookies poised to make an impact come September.

One of these rookies is running back Tyler Badie, taken in the sixth round out of Missouri. With Dobbins and Edwards beginning camp on the PUP list, the Ravens only have four running backs on the active roster.

Badie will have many opportunities during the preseason to show he deserves to be on the field and make his place as a feature down back once Dobbins and Edwards return. Veterans Mike Davis as well as recently signed running back Corey Clement will also be vying for that third running back spot. Badie had a strong minicamp and with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield could become another weapon for a Ravens offense that values running backs.

Another rookie that could make an immediate impact is defensive tackle Travis Jones. Taken with the 76th pick out of UConn, Jones is a big bodied defender that is raw athlete but has a lot of potential, if he can hone in on his technique particularly when rushing the passer. Jones will be a key rotational piece along the defensive line along with veteran Michael Pierce.

What Will Mike Macdonald’s Defense Look Like?

Mike Macdonald is no stranger to the Ravens as he spent the first seven seasons of his NFL coaching career on the Ravens defensive staff. Macdonald left the Ravens at the end of the 2020 season to join John Harbaugh’s brother Jim at Michigan becoming the Wolverines defensive coordinator. After the Ravens fired former defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, Macdonald returns to the Ravens this time as the defensive coordinator. While this is Macdonalds first time leading an NFL defensive, he has spent time in the league more importantly on the Ravens staff and with a Michigan team that has a similar defensive style.

The switch from Martindale to Macdonald shouldn’t shake the defense up too much from what it has been as far as scheme, but what is likely to change is the way personnel is used. With so much talent especially in the secondary it will be hard for Macdonald not to utilize that depth with varying looks and coverages that could cause headaches for opposing quarterbacks.

Another aspect that Macdonald will look to bring from Michigan to Baltimore is the ability to sack the quarterback. The Ravens lacked consistent pass rush under Wink Martindale finishing 2021 ranked 22nd in sacks with 34. Macdonald was instrumental in helping 2022 number two overall pick Aidan Hutchinson have a career year in his final season in Ann Arbor. Macdonald coached the Ravens 2022 45th overall pick outside linebacker David Ojabo, who was a projected first round pick before tearing his achilles during his pro day before the draft. While it is unclear when Ojabo will return for the Ravens the familiarity between Ojabo and Macdonald, as well as a strong second season from 2021 first-round pick Odafe Oweh, the Ravens have a real opportunity to finish in the top half of the league in sacks in 2022.

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