So the first John Harbaugh training camp has officially come to end today, and there are more questions than answers twenty something days later.
Here are some of the questions that I have as camp has ended:
- Who is going to be your starting quarterback, and are they truly the best guy for the job? One thing is crystal clear to me, it will not be Joe Flacco.
- What do you do with the running back position with Willis McGahee now on crutches and possibly 2-4 weeks from returning? Ray Rice has had a nice training camp, but he is not ready to be a feature back in the NFL.
- Who is your offensive tackles? With Adam Terry and Jared Gaither working their way back to field, and Mike Kracalik and Oneil Cousins taking snaps along with Chad Slaughter, are the Ravens comfortable with some form of that combination going into the season? To me Adam Terry and Jared Gaither are still very unproven at the NFL level. Who would have thought that maybe in retrospect that we would be looking back wondering if John Welbourne would have helped this team.
- Who is going to be your number three receiver? With Demetrius Williams yet to take a snap on the field at wide receiver and Marcus Smith turning heads with his play at camp, what does that means for Demetrius?
- What will this team do at the tight end position? With Todd Heap nursing a calf injury and Dan Wilcox trying to get back on the field, what does this team do? They lost two tight ends before they ever moved into the Best Western. Heap and Wilcox both battled injuries last year that cost them time as well as battling injuries during camp.
- What is going on with Kelly Gregg? Kelly has not practiced since early in training camp. Kelly was walking around the team hotel this afternoon with his left knee wrapped up pretty heavily. Kelly is hands down one of the best at his position and a huge part of the Ravens defense.
- Who is going to be playing in the secondary? With Chris McAlister, Ed Reed, and Samari Rolle all nursing injuries, some such as Ed’s which are a huge question mark for the season, what does the team do ? Fabian Washington was a nice pick up in the off season, but he will miss week 1 due to his suspension, is Derrick Martin, Ronnie Prude, and Corey Ivy the answers? Tom Zbikowski, Harauki Nakamura, and Jim Leonhard, have all had good camps, but are they ready to step in for Ed Reed with the starters? My guess is that they will have to be.
Here are a couple of things that I saw from camp that were impressive:
- Marcus Smith had a great camp and really turned some heads and opened some eyes. He seemed to step up to the opportunity of Demetrius Williams not practicing and made the most out of his chance.
- Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura both showed that they were not overwhelmed when they ran with the first team defense at safety.
- Brendon Ayanbadejo is a tremendous football player. Brandon has amazing speed and is a very hard hitting and probably underrated defensive player. He will make some plays for this team this year.
- Jarrett Johnson and Justin Bannan look like they could have big years for this defense. They both have had very good training camps and played well in the first preseason game. Justin has been a very solid backup on the interior defensive line and the defense does not miss a beat with him in there. Jarrett is playing with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder after a disappointing year by his standards last season.
- Nick Greisen is a tremendous football player and a huge asset to this football team. He has such an understanding of what Rex Ryan is doing with the defense and is complete control of the defense when he is in the game. He has proven to be a very nice pickup by the Ravens last year that went under the radar.
Thanks to all of the people who gave me nice comments during the coverage of Ravens camp this year. It has been a fun and entertaining camp to cover and I am sure will only get more interesting as the preseason and regular season go along.