After a long rash of injuries, things are finally looking up for the Baltimore Ravens in that regard, as they have had perhaps their healthiest offseason—up to this point, I don’t want to jinx their players—that they have had in a long time.
The team doesn’t even have any players on injured reserve, or anybody dealing with long-term injuries, which is a dramatic about-face from a year ago. I can’t even recall all the names of players that they lost to injury, but the offensive line and tight end positions were hit particularly hard, and they lost cornerback Tavon Young to a torn ACL before the season. Injuries continued to mount in-season as well.
Just the ability to have everybody on the field consistently has allowed the Ravens to accomplish a lot during this installation of training camp, which led to Head Coach John Harbaugh declaring it to be “our best camp in terms of guys focused on improving every day, and becoming 1 percent better at what they do from one day to the next and keep building on that. That’s what I’m proud of”.
Even players that were returning from injuries, such as Young, Jimmy Smith, Marshal Yanda, and Alex Lewis, have had little to no complications working their way back to full participation. Yanda began training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform List, but that was more of a precaution than a necessity.
It’s interesting to note that the Ravens have not shied away from contact this offseason. In fact, they were penalized for it back in the spring, losing a couple of OTA sessions for utilizing too much contact in practice. But that didn’t make them pump the brakes. They scheduled not one but two pairs of joint practice sessions for training camp, first with the Rams and then with the Colts.
One of the position groups that the team has been really pleased with this training camp has been at tight end, which features two high-round rookie draft picks in Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews. But veterans such as Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle have also impressed the coaching staff.
The team may keep all four tight ends, but they have others in Darren Waller, Vince Mayle, and Nick Keizer who have earned praised. Perhaps the Pittsburgh Steelers should make a mental note of teams such as the Ravens and the Green Bay Packers who have depth at this position when the roster cuts are made.
But the only thing that Baltimore can focus on is the road ahead. The team has missed the postseason in three consecutive seasons and in four of the past five. They have only posted one season above .500 in those three years, a 9-7 record in 2017 that was not good enough to punch a ticket to the playoffs.