Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Camping with the Ravens
By James Walker
WESTMINSTER, Md. -- The AFC North blog will complete its 2010 training camp tour this week with the Baltimore Ravens.
Over the next several days, I will spend quality time with the team many feel is the division favorite. Baltimore also is regarded as a strong Super Bowl contender.
Here are five things I will be monitoring:
1. Will the secondary improve?
Skinny: On paper, lack of secondary depth is really Baltimore's only glaring weakness. No. 1 cornerback Domonique Foxworth (knee) is done for the year and star safety Ed Reed (hip) is questionable for the start of the regular season. Lardarius Webb (knee) and Fabian Washington (knee) are hopeful to return soon. But if they can't, who will emerge?
2. How does Joe Flacco look in Year 3?
Skinny: This is an important year for Flacco. He has improved each of his first two seasons. Now the next step is to take command of the team and become a legitimate franchise quarterback. Flacco has all the tools, but this is the first time he's had all the weapons around him, as well.
3. Will the offense mesh?
Skinny: Now that Baltimore has all the weapons, it's up to Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to figure out what to do with them. With the exception of Flacco, every starting skill player for Baltimore has been to the Pro Bowl. You can also add backup tailback Willis McGahee to that list. That means there's a lot of players who want the ball, and there's only one to go around. Establishing roles early will be key.
4. Who will win the kicking job?
Skinny: Shayne Graham is the favorite. But at this point there is still no clear-cut choice between Graham and incumbent Billy Cundiff. The kicking game will be important if the Ravens want to make deep postseason run. With training camp about to wrap up, the time is now for one of these kickers to step forward.
5. What about the rookies?
Skinny: First-year players Ed Dickson and Terrence Cody are already making a good first impression in the preseason. Where do they fit with this veteran-laded team? Also, will other rookies step up and compete for roles and roster spots?