Tag Archives: Baltimore Ravens

Are the Ravens cursed?

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In the final preseason game of the year, Poe, the Ravens mascot, got injured in a mascots versus kids game. Following a season plagued by injuries, an injury to the team’s mascot can be seen as a bad omen. Is this a bad omen for the Ravens? Will the Ravens be cursed by injuries once again? Or am I just a crazy kid reading too far into the injury of someone wearing a costume?

Last season, the Ravens dealt with an absurd amount of injuries to essential pieces. Before the season started, the Ravens lost their top 3 Running Backs, former All-Pro Cornerback Marcus Peters, rookie Wide Receiver RaShod Bateman, Offensive Guard Tyre Phillips, and starting Defensive End Derek Wolffe. A solid running back group quickly turned into a trio of misfit free agents and a practice squad player. The Receiving corps and cornerback group were weakened after losing top guys, and all the pressure fell onto Hollywood Brown and Marlon Humphrey, respectively.

However, these preseason injuries were only the beginning of the madness. By week 18, Superstar Quarterback Lamar Jackson, Star Offensive Tackle Ronnie Stanley, Rookie Edge Rusher Odafe Oweh, linebacker LJ Fort, cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett, and safety DeShon Elliot had all joined the list of injured players.

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Many believe that Baltimore would have been a playoff, or even a Superbowl contender with a healthy roster last season. In the 3 years before last season, the Ravens made the playoffs with relatively healthy rosters, and the Ravens had only gotten better. Only the absurd amount of injuries the Ravens suffered could deter such a talented team from making a playoff run. 

What is odd about the number of injuries the Ravens dealt with last season is that they have had the same head strength and conditioning coach for 7 years and haven’t had too many injury issues in the years before last year. In 2020, the Ravens didn’t deal with many injuries despite quarantine taking away their ability to train the way they usually do. Yet, with every passing week, more and more Ravens continued to get injured, and more and more backups were forced into starting roles.

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After such a disappointing season, Ravens fans can only hope that the team is not cursed with injuries. In the offseason, the front office sought to address this issue and bring in more depth. The Ravens bolstered their offensive line by signing Right Tackle Morgan Moses and drafting Center Tyler Linderbaum and Tackle Daniel Faalele. They also signed Safety Marcus Williams, Cornerback Kyle Fuller (injured Week 1 and out for the season), and drafted Safety Kyle Hamilton and Cornerback Pepe Williams to strengthen the secondary.

With multiple starters already out due to injury and the injury to the team’s mascot, it appears as if the Ravens may be cursed. Were the Ravens just cursed last season? Is the injury to Poe a sign of another injury-plagued season? The Ravens are set to be playoff contenders again as long as they stay healthy, so the only question now is whether or not they will remain healthy.

Jimmy Thomas is a senior member of the multimedia journalism class.

A new look – How the Ravens’ offseason made them potential contenders

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The people of Baltimore have much to look forward to in the future with their professional football team. Coming off a losing streak at the end of the 2021 season, the Ravens’ team morale was low. They were decimated by injuries and some would agree they lacked talent on some parts of the defense. Heading into the offseason, they knew what they needed to improve and responded accordingly.

Free Agency
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The Ravens started the offseason by deciding what players they wanted to resign and what players they wanted to let go. Even last year, they had under the radar talent that they would’ve liked to keep but didn’t have the money. They lost proven role players like Safety Deshon Elliot and Guard/Center Bradley Bozeman. They decided to give the money they had to players like Pro Bowl Fullback Patrick Ricard, Defensive Tackle Calais Campbell, and Inside Linebacker Josh Bynes. These moves have effectively saved money that they could possibly use to resign star Quarterback Lamar Jackson. 

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Eventually, the Ravens had moves to make for free agents. They had some issues in the secondary and some weak pass-rushing last season. Without the Ravens paying their long-time DT Brandon Williams, even their incredible run defense needed some support. Their first move was S Marcus Williams. Williams made a name for himself on the New Orleans Saints being one the lockdown safeties of that playoff-level team. The Ravens were eyeing the opportunity to snag a younger safety for cheaper and were able to get Marcus Williams for a 5-year, $70 million deal. They also brought back a familiar face in DT Michael Pierce who played for the Ravens only a few seasons ago. They also helped out Lamar Jackson by signing veteran tackle Morgan Moses and improving a position that was a struggle for the Ravens last year.

NFL Draft
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Soon enough, it was time for the NFL draft. The Ravens knew what they needed to improve coming in. They had limited money to spend in the offseason and still had some positions they would like to improve. They started by drafting S Kyle Hamilton out of Notre Dame. This was a massive upgrade at the safety position as Kyle Hamilton allowed 1 TD in 819 career college football snaps. They later traded Wide Receiver Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals for their first-round pick. The Ravens used this pick on Iowa product, Center Tyler Linderbaum. The Ravens have had problems with this position in the past but they feel they might have found a guy who can consistently play this position at a top-tier level. Later-round picks, like Michigan’s star LB David Ojabo, is a high-risk high reward draft selection as Ojabo was a projected first-round pick before his unfortunate injury in his last season at Michigan.

Injuries and an unfortunate sequence of events led the Ravens to a disappointing 2021 season where they saw their first losing record since 2015. With all of the offseason moves, the Ravens look to put last year behind them and find success this upcoming season.

Stephen Avara, Junior

Stephen Avara is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class

How mobile quarterbacks are revolutionizing the quarterback position

Try to think of an NFL quarterback. Most likely, the first person you’re going to think of is Tom Brady. If you have ever watched Tom Brady play, you easily could say that he is one of the most immobile players on the field of all time. Current quarterbacks now rely on their speed to improvise and to make plays all around the field. The NFL has shifted to a league in which your players, including quarterbacks, require speed, but where did this want for speed with quarterbacks begin? 

Randall Cunningham, who played in the NFL from 1985-2001. Cunningham, who rushed for almost 5,000 career rushing yards in his career, was quite different from the quarterbacks in his time. During the time Cunningham played, he played against a variety of quarterbacks. Cunningham played against several great quarterbacks, such as Troy Aikman, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, and Joe Montana. These four Hall of Fame quarterbacks utilized their throwing ability, while Cunningham used both his arms and legs to create plays. To put Cunningham’s rushing ability into perspective, he had 4928 career rushing yards. Those four Hall of Fame quarterbacks all combined for 3996 career rushing yards. Now Cunningham played completely different than most quarterbacks during the time he played, but we can’t discount his effect and impact his rushing has caused. He revolutionized the quarterback position as he was one of the most successful dual-threat quarterbacks in NFL history.

Some career Randall Cunningham highlights

Even with Randall Cunningham being one of the first dual mobile quarterbacks in NFL history, Michael Vick also revolutionized the position with his elite rushing ability. Vick, drafted in 2000 with the first overall pick to the Atlanta Falcons, entirely changed the quarterback position with his elite rushing ability. Vick was the first NFL quarterback to ever rush for over 1000 rushing yards in a season, as he passed Bobby Douglass, who held the record with 968 single-season rushing yards for a quarterback. When Vick retired, he ended up running for 6000 yards in his career, passing Cunningham’s record. Michael Vick ran for over 1000 more yards than Cunningham in his career and is the 2nd true rushing quarterback in NFL history. Both of these 2 players impacted the quarterback position in this day and age, and they have affected the quarterback position forever.

Michael Vick 55 yard run

In this day in age of football, fewer and fewer pocket passers are starting at quarterback as offenses have adapted and built around mobile quarterbacks. Several offenses have done similar things in the NFL to create an offense around their mobile quarterbacks, such as Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson. These teams have made an offense that allows for a quarterback to have the ability to run, such as the teams that Randall Cunningham and Michael Vick played for. These 5 players have all combined for over 12,000 career rushing yards. Together Vick and Cunningham had over 11,000 career rushing yards. The difference between these players is that 4 of the 5 players aren’t even over 27 years old.

Due to teams’ success with mobile quarterbacks, more and more mobile quarterbacks are being drafted in the NFL draft. For example, in last year’s NFL draft, Trey Lance and Justin Fields with first overall selections. Both of these players were great college players, but they were both drafted high in the NFL draft due to their athleticism. With teams wanting more mobile quarterbacks, pocket passing quarterbacks, who play similar to Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady are starting less and less due to their minimal athleticism. Let’s then talk about one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the league, Lamar Jackson.

Best Lamar Jackson jukes

So far in Lamar Jackson’s career, he’s rushed for 3,298 rushing yards and thrown for over 9,000 yards, and he is only 24 years old. Lamar has played a total of 52 career games, and in Vick’s career, he played 143 games. If Lamar plays 143 career games and keeps up a similar rushing pace to what he has now, he will destroy Michael Vick’s quarterback rushing record by around 3,000 yards. In Lamar’s second season, he broke the single-season quarterback rushing record with 1,206 yards, smashing the record that was previously held by Vick. To put that into perspective, Tom Brady, who has played in 20 NFL seasons in his career, has 1080 rushing yards. Lamar passed Brady’s rushing total in one season. Even with Brady’s minimal mobility, he still is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, but the NFL is moving away from pocket passers and more into mobile passers. Quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, and Josh Allen are genuinely changing what the quarterback position is. Mobility with quarterbacks is becoming less of a want, and more of a need in the NFL.

Joshua Sheppard is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.