The Baltimore Ravens are one week away from facing the Las Vegas Raiders in the season opening Monday Night Football telecast on ESPN.
We somehow made it to this point. Another 8 month football drought. We survived guys. But not all players present in Owings Mills this summer did.
Some surprises came through in the form of Josh Oliver receiving the third TE spot. A very under-the-radar Spring trade has resulted in a guy who can potentially come in and play that much missing Hayden Hurst role. Last year, that dimension in 2 and 3 TE sets was missing, never more evident than when Nick Boyle went down. Now the Ravens have insurance and a guy who can contribute down the seam straight away. Still look for Mark Andrews to have his biggest season yet. In one preseason series this year, Lamar and Mark showed they still have undeniable chemistry.
The Ravens decided to swing a trade… with the Patriots of all teams. They sent 5th round CB Sean Wade for a pair of late 2022 and 2023 picks. This was surprising as the Ravens seldom give up on draft picks this early. They also cut fellow 5th rounder Ben Mason, who opted to sign with the Patriots, pairing him up with Wade.
These pair of moves did open spots that allowed the Ravens to keep promising drafted safety Ardarius Washington and CB Chris Westry, who made his presence felt despite a dumb taunting penalty in the second game.
The Ravens kept WR Miles Boykin in a bit of a surprising move, but with a rash of injuries at the position it does make some sense. They put rookie wideout Rashod Bateman and Boykin on IR, but covid world rules state they can both return after week 4.
Overall, this Ravens team is as we expected. Stacked in the secondary, lots of young and unproven options at WR and now backup TE. The terrible injury to RB JK Dobbins was the only real wrench in the teams’ plans. They now turn to second year RB Ty’Son Williams for a large role behind RB Gus Edwards. Look for Williams to carry some real fantasy upside in this run-heavy offense.
It will be interesting to see going into week 1 what OC Greg Roman will do. Will he stick to that predominantly run-centered offense or will he air it out as his Spring and Summer comments suggested?
The defense should be blitz heavy as always with a stout running defense and a supreme secondary. Derek Carr and Waller and co. will be a good week 1 test out of the get-go.