#5 – Is Joe Flacco a top QB?
The world laughed at Eli Manning last season and then he made them eat those laughs. If things break well, Flacco could find himself on a similar arc. The amount of control that Flacco has been given of the offense has been the subject of lots of speculation and debate. Whether those reigns can, should and ultimately will be loosened remains to be seen…hopefully soon. It seems that with the projected impact of the losses on defense, everyone is expecting and counting on the offense to shoulder a bigger burden in 2012.
#6 – Who’s playing OLB?
Jarret Johnson is relocated to San Diego, Terrell Suggs is going to be out for all or most of the season and the Ravens find themselves in the uncomfortable position of counting on a rookie in Courtney Upshaw to stake claim to one of their jobs pretty much out of the gate. Even more uncomfortable is the notion that Sergio Kindle has likely reached the put up or shut up portion of his NFL experience, and the team is really hoping for the former. Paul Kruger has been a mild cult hero to a number of Ravens faithful, he’ll need to live up to some of the legend in 2012 for the Ravens to mount a successful pass rush.
#7 – What happened to Haloti Ngata?
Ngata began last season by dominating, but fell off the radar around mid-season and never seemed to get right again. Most have assumed an injury of some sort to have been at the heart of his issues, and would expect a bounce back in 2012. The Ravens will need it. Surely it’s a coincidence that Ngata’a disappearance came almost immediately after shirking the franchise tag for a long term and lucrative deal, but it’s an interesting coincidence at least. The Ravens need Ngata to be their best defensive player in 2012. He’s certainly proven capable.