Reporting Bob Haynie
Since the NFL lockout ended and training camps began, we have talked at length about the various areas of concern relating to the Baltimore Ravens. The fans have been asking questions about the team and we still have to wait for the answers.
Are the wide receivers, as a group, better than last season? Can Joe Flacco become an elite QB? Can offensive coordinator Cam Cameron get the most out of Flacco? Those are just some of the questions being asked.
To me, the biggest question mark for this year’s team is the offensive line. They say the game is won in the trenches. Are the Ravens capable of getting it done in this area. Honestly, I don’t know.
Last year, Joe Flacco was sacked 40 times. That’s not a very impressive number. On top of that, Baltimore’s yards per carry dropped almost a full yard in 2010 (4.7 to 3.8) from it’s 2009 average. The Ravens are usually one of the best running teams in the league. Last season, that was not the case.
Over the past few weeks, the Ravens have lost lineman Chris Chester, Jared Gaither and Tony Moll via free agency. Is this a case of addition by subtraction? Right now, it doesn’t look that way.
The team has high hopes for rookie tackle Jah Reid from UCF. But he has some work to do and must beat out O’Neil Cousins for the RT spot. Cousins, who was terrible in the pre-season opener against the Eagles, has to play better. Center Matt Birk has been out of action after knee surgery. The Ravens signed Casey Rabach as insurance for Birk, but he failed his physical. Michel Oher is a talented player who must overcome his tendency to make mistakes. These mistakes, both mental and physical, limit his effectiveness at LT.
The Ravens open the season against the Steelers on September 11th. So there is still time for the O-Line to get healthy and improve.
However, until they prove they can play, I’m going to consider this area of the 2011 Baltimore Ravens question mark numero uno.