Ravens: Five Training Camp Predictions

Featured, Sports and Bets — July 23, 2014 at 12:27 am by

Where in the hell do the summers go these days?  Just a second ago it was Memorial Day Weekend and suddenly the Black Birds are reporting to training camp.  Personally, I’m not complaining, football is gorgeous and I can’t wait for the Ravens to get the pads poppin’.

What’s even better about this training camp is that is will signal the true beginning of a desperately needed new season.  The Ravens were 8-8 in 2013, which these days is a complete disaster of a season around these parts.  No playoffs, no Super Bowl run?  No bueno, babes.  As Ravens’ fans, we’ve all become accustomed to reloading, not rebuilding. Starting Thursday, when the first official practice takes place, we’ll see if Ozzie and Company’s offseason efforts are going to put this team back into playoff contention or if the Ravens are simply spinning wheels on the mediocrity highway.

The Ravens are definitely in a state of flux.  After riding the arm of Joe Flacco to a Super Bowl win in 2012-2013, the Ravens spent the 2013 draft focused on defense.  In 2013-2014, the $100 million man, Joe Flacco, was left with Torrey Smith and a pedestrian group of receivers and an offensive line that ranks as the worst in team history.  The run game, and the offense in general, was a complete mess and the Ravens stumbled to the aforementioned 8-8 record.  This offseason, the Ravens again pounded the defensive picks in the draft and signed two offensive weapons in Steve Smith and Owen Daniels, who are 35 and 31 years of age respectively.  Baltimore also acquired center Jeremy Zuttah from Tampa Bay to anchor the maligned o-line.  Will these new faces, along with new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, be what this offense and Flacco need to succeed?  Will these young faces transform this defense back to elite status?   I can’t wait to find out.

We, of course will find out a lot about this team soon enough, but I find it necessary to predict certain outcomes.  Here are five bold predictions I have for Ravens Training Camp, 2014.

1. Lorenzo Taliaferro will be the starting running back on Opening Day:  This is strictly a hunch, but with Ray Rice facing suspension for allegedly smacking the crap out of his lady and with Bernard Pierce coming off of an injury plagued season in which he ran like he had a pole stuck up his ass, I think the opening day nod will go to the rookie Taliaferro.  That of course, is also predicated on Taliaferro not getting suspended for an alleged incident involving booze and a taxi.  I don’t think he will get popped by Goody Goodell and the NFL moral police.  Add his mere presence with the fact that his one cut running style fits Kubiak’s system and you’ve got yourself a starter versus the Bengals!  Plus, Lorenzo caught 23 balls last year, so maybe he’s got some hands too.  That’s a bonus for any Kubiak back.

2. The Ravens will sign a veteran right tackle:  I really hope I’m wrong on this one.  The Ryan Jensen/Rick Wagner experiment has begun.  Who will win the job?  Will anyone win the job?  Why are the Ravens obsessed with giving a QB a ton of money and then protecting him with later round picks and beat up vets?  It worked for one year (or Super Bowl run), but it has been time to get serious about this line.  Hopefully one of these young bucks steps up and shuts me the hell up, but I see the Ravens signing someone off their couch or off of a late camp cut from another club.  What is scary is who is currently available.  David Stewart?  Eric Winston?  Jeremy Trueblood?  Ugh.  Flacco’s head is ringing just thinking about this.

3. Torrey Smith will assert himself as the go-to receiver:  I say this hit every year.  Maybe it’s because Torrey is my favorite player, but I think this is the year Torrey becomes a true number one receiver.  He’s got help with Dennis Pitta back healthy and with Steve Smith arriving.  He also has a second year Marlon Brown to run around with and that is a big deal.  I look for Smith to have a big camp and to take control of this receiving corps.  It’s time for him to become an 85 catch and 10 TD guy.

4. CJ Mosley will start immediately:  Not sure how bold this is since this kid seems to have all the football skills needed to become a star.  But he’ll win the Will LB job over Arthur Brown and he will start with Daryl Smith inside.  I have a feeling that teams will look back at this draft one day and kick themselves in the ass for not taking Mosley.  I also think that Arthur Brown will see plenty of snaps this season and that he’ll be the starting Will of the future once Mosley moves to Mike after Smith retires.  This is a deep line backing corps and may turn into one of the best in the league if these youngsters pan out.

5. Timmy Jernigan will not allow himself to be ignored:  When Jernigan got picked by Baltimore I whined and cried about the Ravens not taking an offensive player.  Then I remembered the NCAA National Championship game.  Jernigan dominated and Brent Musburger couldn’t stop gushing about him. Musburger was so excited about Jernigan that for a second I thought Katherine Webb had donned FSU gear and changed her name to Timmy Jernigan.  Timmy was an absolute beast at Florida State and I have a hunch that he was undervalued in this 2014 draft.  He plays extremely angry and that translates well.  He won’t start right away, but as the summer rolls on watch for him to get more and more snaps.

Can’t wait to get this purple train rollin’……..

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