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Late for Work: Pundit 'Truly Surprised' By Ravens' Plan at Offensive Line

OL Andrew Vorhees
OL Andrew Vorhees

Albert Breer 'Truly Surprised' By Ravens' Handling of Offensive Line; Another Pundit Believes Ravens Could Miss Postseason Due To 'Offensive Line Issues'

The concern for the Ravens' offensive line continues as Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer found the Ravens' approach to rebuilding the unit "truly surprising."

"If we're talking about things that were truly surprising, I'm gonna go with the Ravens' handling of their offensive line, something that's gone largely unnoticed because, well, people don't pay a lot of attention to this stuff," Breer wrote. "For now, the three new starters project to be Andrew Vorhees, Ben Cleveland, and rookie Roger Rosengarten, who have seven career starts between them (all belonging to Cleveland). And while the Ravens have been a draft-and-develop machine over the years, and great at harvesting offensive linemen, this particular dice roll was pretty surprising, I thought."

Breer's concern led Sports Illustrated's Gilbert Manzano to believe the Ravens "might miss playoffs because of offensive line issues."

"Perhaps a dominant running game with veteran Derrick Henry will allow the retooled offensive line to develop a rhythm blocking for Lamar Jackson," Manzano wrote. "But do the Ravens have wide receivers who can get open quickly? Does the 30-year-old Henry still have plenty to offer on the field? Will the Ravens' defense be O.K. without former coordinator Mike Macdonald? All of these concerns, especially on the offensive line, could lead to a non-playoff season for the Ravens."

With comments like this, it's once more appropriate to harken back on’s Kevin Patra's words.

"It's foolhardy to judge a Ravens roster until much closer to the start of the season. No one does a better job of continuing to find cheap, capable talent deep into the process than Baltimore's front office," Patra wrote.

The Baltimore Sun’s Brian Wacker listed the offensive line among the winners of Ravens OTAs and minicamp.

"The offensive line en masse had nearly perfect attendance through the offseason program — not surprising given that three starting jobs and several backup roles are up for grabs," Wacker wrote. "The players also didn't disappoint."

There's still a long way to go in the Ravens' starting offensive line competition and more clarity, which will come during training camp, will likely change pundits' confidence level.

Seven Ravens Make CBS Sports Top 100 NFL Players of 2024

The (off)season of lists and ranking players has arrived and the first of many came from CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco, who knew most will have a gripe about his rankings.

In all, Prisco put seven Ravens in his Top 100, tying the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions for second place, all behind the San Francisco 49ers with nine. However, where Prisco placed the reigning and two-time MVP is where things get questionable, with Jackson ranked No. 16 and fourth among quarterbacks.

No. 16: Lamar Jackson, Quarterback

"He won his second MVP last season, but the next step is getting his team to the Super Bowl," Prisco wrote. "He has improved greatly as a passer, which should continue this season in Year 2 under OC Todd Monken. (Last season: No. 35)"

The three quarterbacks ahead of Jackson are Patrick Mahomes (1), Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen (6) and Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow (15).

Here are the rest of the Ravens:

No. 36: Kyle Hamilton, Safety

"He had his breakout season for a dominant Ravens defense in 2023. He can do a lot of things, which makes him so special. His versatility sets him apart from a lot of safeties in the league with his ability to rush, cover and play the run. (Last season: NR)"

No. 40: Roquan Smith, Inside linebacker

"Since coming over to the Ravens in a trade from Chicago in 2022, he has become a big-time playmaker on their defense. He can really run, which shows up on tape. He's also a good blitzer. (Last season: No. 76)"

No. 46: Justin Madubuike, Defensive tackle

"He had his breakout season playing inside for the Ravens, emerging as a dominant force on their defense with 13 sacks and showing off his ability to take over games (Last season: NR)"

No. 61: Mark Andrews, Tight end

"He was limited to 10 games last season because of a serious ankle injury suffered against the Bengals on a hip-drop tackle. He caught 45 passes in those games with six touchdowns. (Last season: No. 53)"

No. 91: Derrick Henry, Running back

"A new team should help give him a new start. Playing with Lamar Jackson will help his numbers. He was second in the league in rushing last year but this yards-per-carry average was down to 4.2. (Last season: No. 30)"

No. 100: Tyler Linderbaum, Center

"In his second season, he emerged as one of the league's best centers. He is good in both the run game and pass protection, which helps key the offense. (Last season: NR)"

Ravens Offseason Given 'B' Grade by ESPN; Ranked No. 10

The Ravens have kept busy this offseason by way of successful contract negotiations to re-sign multiple players, landing a big-name free agent, seeing a few of their own homegrown stars walk, and topping it off with a highly touted draft class. All this culminated in ESPN’s Seth Walder giving the Ravens a 'B' grade for their offseason, which ranked them No. 10 in the NFL.

Walder listed the re-signing of Madubuike as the Ravens' biggest move this offseason, but shared he's a bit hesitant on how it could play out.

"Baltimore signed Madubuike to a big $98 million deal with $48.5 million fully guaranteed," Walder wrote. "There's no question the Ravens needed a pass-rusher, and it's hard to fault them for paying the defensive tackle after a huge season in which he recorded 13.0 sacks, but I'm a little wary. Mike Macdonald's simulated pressure-filled scheme was a contributor to Madubuike's success, and Macdonald left for Seattle."

The move Walder liked most was signing Henry in free agency.

"One of the Ravens' biggest – and certainly most fun – moves of the offseason was signing Henry to a shockingly cheap deal," Walder wrote. "The $9 million fully guaranteed was less than D'Andre Swift, Tony Pollard, Joe Mixon, Josh Jacobs and Devin Singletary received."

Walder's biggest critique was not re-signing offensive guard Kevin Zeitler. But,[comma] he made sure to note the Ravens are expected to net compensatory draft picks due to their approach to the offseason.

"Zeitler left for Detroit, and they'll have to rely on their depth and possibly rookie tackle Roger Rosengarten to reshape that unit, which might get dicey," Walder wrote. "As always, the Ravens dominate the compensatory pick game and are expected to land the maximum four picks next year, per OverTheCap."

Ravens' New 'Purple Rising' Helmet 'Aesthetically Pleasing'

Reactions are in for the Ravens' new alternate helmet, and the masses appear to enjoy them. None more so than’s Nick Shook.

"To call the helmet aesthetically pleasing is an understatement," Shook wrote. "Baltimore's selection of a metallic satin finish on the purple shell makes the helmet pop, and the inclusion of the team's talon striping -- a staple of their uniforms since their inception -- in gold, not purple, maintains the team's aesthetic tradition. With no better time than now to introduce a gold facemask, the Ravens jumped at the opportunity, creating a regal helmet and embracing the third team color in prominent fashion."

Many others shared their approval on X.

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