2015 NFL Season Preview- Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens improved upon their 8-8 record from 2013, when they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
A season full of off field distractions and 19 players on injured reserved ended with a 35-31 gut wrenching loss to New England in the AFC Divisional Playoff.
The offense scored a franchise record 409 points. Quarterback Joe Flacco had a nice bounce back year passing for a career high 27 touchdowns and 3,986 yards. Running back Justin Forsett proved to be a capable replacement for Ray Rice, rushing for over 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns. Owen Daniels stepped up to be the team's starting tight end after Dennis Pitta was lost for the year with a dislocated hip. Steve Smith revitalized his career with 79 catches for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. Torrey Smith had career lows in receptions and receiving yards but set a career high with 11 touchdowns. Other than tackle Eugene Monroe, the offensive line was solid and Marshall Yanda showed he is arguably the best guard in football.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was having a good season before being suspended for four games for violating the league's performance enhancing drugs policy. Outside linebacker Elvis Dummervil finished third in the league with 17 sacks and Terrell Suggs had 12 as the two formed one of the best pass rushing duos in football. The secondary dealt with injuries for much of the year as the defense finished towards the bottom in pass defense.
The rookie class produced some great talent for the future. Middle linebacker C.J. Mosley made the Pro Bowl and established himself as a three down linebacker. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan showed flashes as a rotational pass rusher with four sacks. Tight end Crockett Gillmore was a great blocker and had impressive speed for someone his size. Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was a hard nosed, versatile runner before going on IR.
Ravens 2014 Rankings
Opponent Passing Yards
Opponent Rushing Yards
NFL Rank- 13th
NFL Rank- 8th
NFL Rank- 23rd
NFL Rank- 4th
NFL Rank- 12th
NFL Rank- 8th
After finishing the year 10-6, head coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome had some tough decisions regarding player personnel. For Baltimore's sake, they hope to avoid the off the field distractions they went through last year.
After offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak left to become the head coach in Denver, the team hired former Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman to be the offense's new signal caller.
Notable Additions- QB Matt Schaub, CB Kyle Arrington, FS Kendrick Lewis
Notable Departures- QB Tyrod Taylor, WR Torrey Smith, TE Owen Daniels, DT Haloti Ngata, OLB Pernell McPhee, CB Antoine Cason
Steve Smith 2014 Highlights
2015 NFL Draft
Going into the draft, Baltimore held the 26th overall pick with many positions needed. Primarily at wide receiver, cornerback, and safety.
Torrey Smith is now in San Francisco, Steve Smith will be 36, and the rest of the receiving corps is unproven. The team needs to groom a new number one receiver.
Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith missed much of the year because of injury. The team needs to add a consistent cornerback who can stay healthy.
Will Hill and Matt Elam are good tacklers, but neither of them are intercepting a lot of passes. Baltimore has lacked playmakers at this spot ever since Ed Reed left.
Baltimore ended up selecting UCF wide receiver Breshad Perriman with the 26th overall pick. Perriman is a big, strong, aggressive receiver who can use his size and strength over smaller cornerbacks but lacks polish and technique for the position and must work on his route running.
The Ravens also notably drafted Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams in the second round. Williams had the best hands of any tight end in the draft but lacks the explosive traits teams look for in tight ends these days.
Maxx Williams Highlights
What to Expect
Baltimore has to stay healthy if they are going to win.
Joe Flacco has to gain a report with Breshad Perriman and Maxx Williams. The team resigned Justin Forsett to a three year deal but I'm not sire if he is the team's long term answer at running back. The depth at receiver is still a concern and Dennis Pitta hasn't played in over two years.
The defensive line is going to miss the impact of Haloti Ngata and Timmy Jernigan isn't the same type of player. The linebackers have nice depth as does the secondary and both should be solid moving forward.
Losing your most important defender in Haloti Ngata and your top playmaker in Torrey Smith is going to hurt. Baltimore will be competitive, I just don't see them winning the AFC North.
Best record they can hope for: 10-6