BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-8)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Owings Mills, Maryland.
LAST YEAR: Opened with three straight wins, then faltered and finished .500 to miss playoffs for third time in four years. Though Ravens improved upon 5-11 record of 2015 and took second place in AFC North, that didn’t ease pain of unsatisfying finish to season in which offense and defense alternatingly sputtered. Baltimore was 7-5 before allowing 87 points over three-game stretch, including three fourth-quarter touchdowns in pivotal 31-27 loss at Pittsburgh on Christmas. Joe Flacco threw for career-high 4,317 yards, but his 15 INTs were second most in his nine years in NFL.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WR Jeremy Maclin, CB Brandon Carr, S Tony Jefferson, RB Danny Woodhead.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: OL Rick Wagner, FB Kyle Juszczyk, DT Timmy Jernigan, LB Elvis Dumervil, WR Steve Smith, C Jeremy Zuttah, LB Zachary Orr.
CAMP NEEDS: Ravens bolstered passing attack by adding Maclin, but offensive line needs depth and ample replacements for starters Zuttah and Wagner. Another area of concern is tight end; it appears unlikely Dennis Pitta will return from another hip injury, Darren Waller is serving one-year suspension, Benjamin Watson is coming off Achilles tendon injury, Maxx Williams is back from knee surgery. Training camp will also be used to find successor to Orr, who retired for health reasons.
EXPECTATIONS: Ravens hope improved secondary and Maclin as deep threat for Flacco will push them back into playoff mode. Emphasis in offseason was to improve defense, and general manager Ozzie Newsome appears to have, especially in secondary with addition of Carr and Jefferson. But Newsome still has work on offensive side, and without some protection for Flacco this could be another mediocre year for coach John Harbaugh’s squad.
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