Rounding Up the Latest Offseason Buzz Surrounding the Baltimore Ravens
As the Baltimore Ravens return home to enjoy their summers and maintain their high levels of fitness and mental preparedness, the top decision-makers will be hard at work going over the roster.
Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh aren't done making moves yet, and they have the cap room now to either acquire a player or re-sign someone. Expect something like that to happen soon.
Meanwhile, Harbaugh and the rest of the coaching staff will have to go over what they learned from OTAs. Sure, these practices don't mean much, but the coaches were sure to note who was catching on to the playbook, who came in shape and who displayed the right attitude.
With this in mind, here is a review of the latest buzz out of OTAs heading into the deadest period of the NFL year.
Jimmy Smith Is Ready to Break out
The time is now for third-year pro Jimmy Smith to live up to his first-round status, and he seems to be doing just that. Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun documented Smith's great offseason, which has seen him lose 10 pounds, get healthier and get a better grasp on the nuances of being a professional.
The Ravens have a bit of a question mark opposite Lardarius Webb. Seeing Smith step up and fill that void would not only be a great redemption story but would also help solidify a Ravens secondary that struggled badly last season.
Ravens' Receiving Competition Still Raging
The Ravens haven't explicitly said whether or not they are content with the receivers they currently have on the roster, but their group is better than what is out on the market. That means the competition is still going on among a variety of names.
Jacoby Jones is currently the No. 2, but that doesn't mean much. Deonte Thompson and Tandon Doss are still right in the competition for that role. This is a battle that will rage throughout training camp and into the preseason.
Kyle Juszczyk Better Be Ready
Vonta Leach is moving on, meaning the Ravens will rely on Kyle Juszczyk as run-blocker, pass-catcher and occasional short-yardage option.
Juszczyk brings a lot more versatility to the table. He can play a variety of roles as a fullback, tight end, H-back and even occasionally in the slot. He might not be the hammer that Leach was, but he is physical and athletic. Juszczyk should be a solid role player immediately.
Moe Lee Could Surprise as an Undrafted Free Agent
The Baltimore Ravens always seem to find an undrafted gem, and this year's might just be Moe Lee. Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com reports that Lee has had a knack for being around the ball. He'll have to fight to get on to the roster, but the initial reports have been positive.
Lee might be this year's Omar Brown. Last year, Brown was an undrafted safety who constantly made plays in training camp and the preseason. He was on the roster for a few games last season and has returned to Ravens camp this season.
JaMarcus Russell to Work out in Baltimore?
Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun reported that JaMarcus Russell claimed to be coming to Baltimore for a workout. If true, this would be a fascinating fit that could work out for both sides.
Of course, Russell has yet to make an appearance. Could his claims fall as flat as his career has to this point? Only time will tell.
Matt Elam Was Worthy of a 1st-Round Selection
Matt Elam has shown the Ravens everything they've wanted to see and then some, according to Garrett Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com. He's shown speed, confidence and a knack for big plays that should bode well for his rookie season.
We'll be able to make a better judgment on Elam once the pads are on, but his aggressiveness and versatility make him the prototypical Ravens defender. His career should be long and successful.
The Offense Looks Good
Joe Flacco and his teammates are enthused about the performance of the offense so far, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun. Flacco is especially enthused about how quickly the new guys have acclimated to the Ravens' playbook, one that has seen some changes in Jim Caldwell's first full season as offensive coordinator.
The Ravens have the makings of a solid offense, but they will be relying on a few unknowns to step up. We'll see if Flacco's confidence is well placed.
Terrell Suggs Is Ready to Roll
Terrell Suggs has slimmed down and looks more explosive than ever, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. Even so, Suggs was humbled by last season's struggles, and he wants to put them firmly in his rear-view mirror.
The Ravens could have a stellar pass rush with a healthy Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. Suggs still needs to prove he can get by opposing tackles again, but he has already proven that he's in good shape and healthy.