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State of the Ravens - Training Camp Preview
David Dorey
July 17, 2009
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This series of analysis on the 32 NFL teams takes a look at where teams have been over the last three years for each position - where they have ranked in the most notable categories and the hard statistics produced. This is to give a view of each team heading into training camp and what they most likely need to improve on this season and where their strengths lie that likely won't need any changes. Ending each team review is a brief summation of what to watch in training camp in August to uncover those developing situations that you can take advantage. Combining where teams have come from and what they have done in free agency and the NFL draft gives you the very same thing that NFL coaches are looking at as they attempt to improve their team for 2009.
Team Menu

Training Camp Opens: July 27 (rookies), July 29 (veterans)
Head Coach: John Harbaugh (2nd year)
Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium  Surface: Sportexe Momentum Turf
2009 Schedule   2009 Roster   2008 Statistics   2008 Record: 11-5

QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2006 67 153 1 523 328 63% 3535 10.8 21 14 13 14
2007 41 175 1 556 341 61% 3308 9.7 13 14 24 28
2008 61 204 2 432 260 60% 3053 11.7 15 12 27 25

Quarterback - The Ravens opted to start over at quarterback and allowed the rookie Joe Flacco to learn the ropes in real time by starting in week one. All they got back was a trip to the AFC Championship game. Flacco accounted for 14 touchdowns against only 12 interceptions. Ten of his final fourteen games played had no interceptions. Granted he only had 2971 passing yards and exceeded 200 passing yards five of nineteen games played last year. But he was cool, accurate and relatively mistake-free for a rookie. That should bring optimism to an even better 2009 with experience already under his belt.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2006 401 1518 3.8 10 94 74 79% 503 2 23 20 17
2007 404 1623 4.0 10 102 85 83% 520 2 16 17 16
2008 523 2079 4 17 119 83 70% 604 1 6 5 12

Running Backs - The Ravens had a very potent rushing attack in 2008 so long as you could correctly guess who would be the primary runner in a given week. All combined the running backs had 2079 rushing yards but that broke down with Le'ron McClain (262-902, 10 TD), Willis McGahee ( 170-671, 8 TD) and Ray Rice (107-454). Rice was the intriguing rookie. Rice has taken first team reps in the preseason while Willis McGahee has rehabbed from arthroscopic surgery on his ankle and it appears that the Ravens are going to keep him if only because he would cost so much to release ($11 million). The Ravens are clearly soured on him and McGahee has wisely supported a committee backfield. Everyone's back this year but the respective roles may all be reversed. The Ravens also added Cedric Peerman with their 6.12 pick this year to ensure that there will once again be plenty options for the backfield.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 276 159 58% 2086 13.1 10 18 20
2007 343 191 56% 2281 11.9 8 19 26
2008 237 135 57% 1955 14.5 10 24 25

Wide Receivers - Derrick Mason has expressed a desire to retire though he has not filed the paperwork as of this writing. The loss of Mason will leave a huge hole in the passing game since he accounted for 1037 of the 1955 yards gained by the wideouts last year. Mark Clayton (41-695, 3 TD) becomes the de facto primary wideout and Demetrius Williams turns into a starter as well. That leaves second-year player Marcus Smith as a shoo-in for the slot position that was almost never used last year. There is still a chance that the Ravens so something to replace Mason should he retire including the Anquan Boldin rumor that has persisted most of the off-season. But this was already a lack luster unit almost entirely propped up by Mason. If he leaves and is not replaced, this could be one of the worst units in the league - easily.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2006 147 95 65% 946 10 9 5 2
2007 102 65 64% 507 7.8 3 24 28
2008 72 41 57% 447 10.9 5 25 13

Tight Ends
- Rookie quarterbacks often love to rely on their tight ends but that didn't really happen with Flacco last season. The tight ends have been on a decline here for several years and last season was a new low with only 41 catches made by the position. Todd Heap was the most productive last year but he's long been on the decline and still only had 35 catches for 403 yards and three scores. The Ravens have added L.J. Smith but the prospect here for fantasy value is slim.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - The Ravens have a very tough schedule this year and will carry the same crew as last year other than apparently Mason. Camp will be critical for Flacco to better establish himself with Clayton and Williams (assuming no later trades). That all depresses expectations for 2009 which would be no surprise since one of the Super Bowl teams always struggles the following season. Looks most likely that would be the Ravens. This is still a formidable team of course, but in fantasy terms there is limited expectations. Check out preseason games to see if Ray Rice is given opportunities and takes advantage of the open nature of the backfield. L.J. Smith is mildly interesting here as a new player on a receiver starved team but Flacco just has not used the position as much as past Ravens quarterbacks.

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