PFT preseason power rankings No. 16: Baltimore Ravens

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It seems only yesterday the Ravens won the Super Bowl. But that came during the 2012 season. Baltimore has gone only 31-33 the past four seasons with just one postseason appearance.

The Ravens, who had a long run of success under John Harbaugh, have become ordinary.

Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco are under pressure to win and win now, and with as many as 10 new starters, that won’t be easy. The Steelers and Bengals both appear to have better talent, and though the Ravens can compete for a wild-card berth, they will have to find more offensive firepower after ranking 17th in total offense, including 28th in rushing.

Biggest positive change: The Ravens ended last season in desperate need for playmakers, which is why nearly every mock draft predicted they would draft a receiver in the first round. With the top three receivers gone in the first nine picks, the Ravens selected Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey in the first round. They ended up using five of seven picks on defense, with two linemen being the only offensive players selected. But Jeremy Maclin fell into their laps when the Chiefs unexpectedly released him. Maclin, a Pro Bowler in 2014, signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Ravens. They needed him as Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are the only returning receivers who caught more than 30 passes for Baltimore last season. The Ravens have had success with veteran receivers, getting productive seasons out of Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith, which should help Maclin rebound from last season when he had only 44 receptions for 536 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games.

Biggest negative change: The Ravens lost their leading tackler, Zach Orr, when, at the age of 24, he retired because of a congenital spine and neck condition. Orr began seeking a return last month, and as an unrestricted free agent, has visited several teams but has yet to sign. The Ravens, meanwhile, are left with uncertainty at the position. Kamalei Correa appears the top option. A second-round selection last season, Correa started one game and saw action in eight others as a rookie but played only 48 defensive snaps.

Coaching thermometer: John Harbaugh finds himself on a hot seat for the first time as a head coach. Harbaugh, as a Super Bowl-winning coach, won’t have trouble finding another job if this is his last in Baltimore, but both he and the Ravens would love to have reason for him to stay for the long term. Harbaugh, 85-59 in nine seasons and now the longest-tenured coach in team history, is under contract through 2018. Although owner Steve Bisciotti hasn’t placed a “playoffs-or-else” edict on Harbaugh, a playoff berth likely would assure a return.

We’d like to crack a beer with . . . Eric Weddle. How can you not love this guy? OK, so maybe if you’re on the other side of one of his hits he doesn’t seem so nice. But he is all-in, all the time, arriving at the team’s practice facility before dawn and dog piling a new teammate after an interception during a summer practice. His agent and close friend, David Canter, told the Baltimore Sun that Weddle is “the best human being I’ve ever met in my life. He signs every autograph and poses for every picture. He’s got a group of friends that goes 40 deep, and they’ll all tell you he’s never changed. He’s a man of extreme conviction.”

How they can prove us wrong: The Ravens, as usual, will rely on their defense and their Pro Bowl kicker. After giving up late scoring drives, General Manager Ozzie Newsome addressed the defense in the offseason. The Ravens ranked seventh in total defense and ninth in scoring defense a year, and the additions of Brandon Carr, Tony Jefferson, Marlon Humphrey, Tyus Bowser, Chris Wormley and Tim Williams should make them even better. Justin Tucker, the NFL’s all-time most accurate kicker, gives the Ravens great faith in their kicking game. But they need more touchdowns after ranking 21st in scoring. Joe Flacco didn’t have one of his best seasons, with 20 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and an 83.5 passer rating, but now more than a year away from reconstructive knee surgery, he should be more comfortable. The offense, though, still lacks playmakers with only Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead added to the mix. That will make it difficult on the Ravens to get done what they want to get done this season.

21 responses to “PFT preseason power rankings No. 16: Baltimore Ravens

  1. Perfect ranking. This is the year they finally step out of the post Ray lewis hangover and start the next chapter of Ravens greatness.

    Look AFC, Zach orr loss is a problem BUT the rest of the team is solid and Ozzie will had a couple of pieces before end of training camp.

  2. The Ravens have never recovered from giving up two 14-point leads to the Patriots. The Patriots broke the Ravens….

  3. I think the comparison with them and the rest of the AFC North is reasonably spot on, although I still think we’re giving too much credit to the Bengals. I am just not sold on that team as a contender after last year and several years of great season play and playoff futility. Gets into your DNA after a while.

    I expect the Ravens to be small spread favorites in a lot of games. I also see them losing a lot of those games. I do not see 10 wins in the 2017 campaign, but I don’t see them going 7-9 either. Just me.

  4. schedule screams of 10-6….will that be good enough to make the playoffs in the AFC?

  5. “nhpats says:
    Jul 18, 2017 9:31 AM
    The Ravens have never recovered from giving up two 14-point leads to the Patriots. The Patriots broke the Ravens….”

    Right. The team that lost to the Patriots by a questionable dropped pass and shanked field goal in 2011, that went on to pummel them a year later before winning the Super Bowl, were broken by that one game.

  6. cdstackhouse says:
    Jul 18, 2017 10:10 AM
    “nhpats says:
    Jul 18, 2017 9:31 AM
    The Ravens have never recovered from giving up two 14-point leads to the Patriots. The Patriots broke the Ravens….”

    Right. The team that lost to the Patriots by a questionable dropped pass and shanked field goal in 2011, that went on to pummel them a year later before winning the Super Bowl, were broken by that one game.
    ————————-
    The Ravens were broken by the ridiculous contract they gave to a mediocre quarterback.

  7. Fair assessment. We’re just average now. We no longer have the physical dominant talent of yesteryear. This year’s team could go either way: 8-8; 10-6; or 6-10. And that’s why they play the games.

  8. Defense on the decline, QB with the personality of a draining bathtub and absolutely no touch on the ball whatsoever, a sea of fans dressed like Grimace, a coach running off the fumes of beating Kaepernick in a Super Bowl and cry-panicking whenever he’s outcoached (which will be 9-10 times this year.)

  9. ninetysixer says:
    Jul 18, 2017 9:46 AM
    schedule screams of 10-6….
    ___________________

    That post made me curious enough to scrutinize their schedule. I didn’t hear any screaming at all, we must have very different hearing. Going down through it game by game it whispered anywhere from 6-10 to 9-7. There just are not 10 wins there.

  10. Harbaugh has the SB win, is 26 games over .500 for his time there. He’s a young guy & it’s true he’d be hired by another team quickly if he left. But it’s fascinating how he takes no heat, not an ounce of criticism nationally since they haven’t done crap since the SB. When they’ve fired multiple OC in recent seasons has it occurred to many people he’s THE HC and should be involved in the offense, should take responsibility if it isn’t operating at a high level??? I don’t get how he escapes that issue with virtually no blame.

  11. This team hasn’t made the playoffs the last two seasons and the defense is now just overrated. They play the Patriots tough, but so what?

  12. nepatriot1 said:

    “The Ravens were broken by the ridiculous contract they gave to a mediocre quarterback.”

    ———————————————————

    Which is precisely why since Flacco got his first big deal, the Ravens never signed a single free agent, much less the likes of Eric Weddle, Steve Smith, Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Marshal Yanda, Tony Jefferson, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Williams, or Justin Tucker.

    In fact, since Flacco signed his deal following Super Bowl 47, what players have the Ravens lost who they could really use now? The only one I can think of is Rick Wagner, but are you really saying that guys like Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Jeremy Zuttah, Haloti Ngata, and/or Ed Reed have left that much of a void on the team?

  13. pftcancer, it was reported that the Ravens offered Osemele a contract worth over $8 mil on average a year, would have made him the highest paid guard in the league at the time, but he chased the money.

  14. How could losing Ed Reed not leave a void?

    He was one of the best ever and if nothing else one of only a handful of players that really had Brady’s number. He drove Brady nuts and was instrumental in the times they beat the Pats and he was on the field. With the exception of Revis in his prime I can’t think of any other player in any secondary that caused so many problems for Tom

  15. As a Ravens fan, I like what they did to stockpile the Defense. However, it came at a cost. The offense has too many holes. So this team may look like the 2000 team. No offense, lots of defense.

  16. Looking at the Ravens schedule, there’s a stretch of games where they just might lose ten of eleven, from the Jags Sept 24th to the Steelers on Dec 10th…looking like a pretty grueling schedule to me.

  17. 8-8 seems like the best they could do…week 7-14 is one of the tougher ones I’ve season schedule wise for this year, even with bye week in there.

  18. Suggs, Judon, and Tim Williams are going to kill it along with Weddle, Jefferson, and Webb in the backfield. Get ready for something special. I’m hearing nobody can block Tim Williams. DROY? Ravens drafted another Lawrence Taylor in the 3rd round.

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