The Baltimore Ravens hoped to have found their next great middle linebacker in 2020 when they drafted Patrick Queen in the first round, a surefire plug-and-play starter. While he has started every game of his career since then, and put up some stats that look good on paper, there is more to the story—and a reason that he has played under 80 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in his career.
It’s not because he’s missed a bunch of time within games due to minor injuries. It’s because they don’t yet trust him to be on the field for every snap of the game in every situation—and that’s the step he’s looking to take entering year three.
“That’s very important to me, especially seeing last year how I didn’t get on the field that much”, he told reporters last week, via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. “This offseason, I just focused on being in shape and coming back stronger and more vocal and understanding stuff now. I’m more comfortable now. Everything is in a rhythm, so now being in those positions, I can stay on the field all the time”.
As a second-year player, Queen started all 17 games in 2021, recording 98 tackles with 10 for loss, as well as two sacks, three hits, a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, and a pass defensed. He has 204 career tackles, 19 tackles for loss, five sacks, 13 hits, three forced fumbles, three recoveries, three passes defensed, and a pick six.
It all looks good, for the most part, but while he has put up some numbers, he has lacked the play-to-play consistency that puts coaches in a position where they are confident enough to completely turn the defense over to him. That’s not uncommon for young players, of course, and they hope that Queen, still just 22 years old until August, will be ready for that next step this year.
Talking about where he believe that he has made strides, Zrebiec quotes him as mentioning “being more comfortable by being vocal and actually communicating and understanding stuff now. Not even being frightened by this formation or that formation, or I got this responsibility or that responsibility. Just being able to be more vocal and more open-minded to stuff. Just being able to play football and relax”.
The third-year player also talked about staying patient, how he wanted his breakout to come on quickly, but how he also understood that things tend to take time for everything to click. He stressed the importance of patience in the process—which might not be a bad thing for fans in general to keep in mind as well.