After an offseason of major moves, the Ravens begin their 2023 training camp with a Wednesday afternoon practice at the Under Armour Performance Center.
The sun will be hot, and so will the storylines. Here are the biggest ones to watch as the Ravens ramp up for a season that holds great promise:
How Quickly Will the New Offense Click?
It will be critical to establish timing and confidence during training camp, with key starters such as Lamar Jackson, Odell Beckham Jr., and Mark Andrews unlikely to play during the preseason.
Starting a new offensive era under first-year coordinator Todd Monken, the Ravens plan to speed up their tempo and open up the passing game. The potential for a dynamic offense is in place, with playmakers galore surrounding Jackson. Now it's time to put the pieces together.
"I'm excited for all the Baltimore fans, really everybody, to see the difference of what this offense could be," Andrews said. "This is going to be a different offense… there's going to be little nuances, here or there. We're going to be able to throw the ball and do good things. I'm excited about the receivers; Coach Monken is doing his thing. He's really teaching well and making us all excited about learning and [the] install of his offense."
Some growing pains are to be expected, but the Ravens will need to work them out quickly. They can't afford a slow start to the regular season, facing all three AFC North rivals on the road during the first five weeks. There's plenty of work to do in July and August for the Ravens to be clicking offensively in September.
Which Targets Will Share the Spotlight With Beckham?
With newcomers Beckham, Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor joining Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay, the Ravens have a talented group leading the wide receivers, along with a deep tight end room featuring Andrews, Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar.
All eyes are always on Beckham, one of the NFL's biggest stars who wants to prove he's still an elite playmaker after missing the 2022 season following knee surgery. However, there's plenty to see at wide receiver besides Beckham. Can Flowers carry the rave reviews he’s gotten from teammates as a rookie into training camp, the preseason, and the regular season? How quickly can Bateman get on the field and perform well as he begins camp on PUP and continues his recovery from last year's foot surgery? Can Agholor and Duvernay find consistent roles in the offense, and who will grab the No. 6 roster spot at wide receiver?
As for the tight ends, Andrews is an established All-Pro, but he expects a different role in Monken's offense and is looking forward to making the adjustments. Meanwhile, Likely and Kolar want to carve out their place in the offense, giving Monken the option to use multiple tight end sets whenever he wants.
The competition for targets will be intense, and training camp and the preseason will give Monken a better idea of which wide receivers and tight ends will be relied on once the season begins.
Is Jackson Ready for His Best Season?
With his new contract signed, Jackson enters this season with his future set and thrilled about the Ravens' new offense and weapons. Much will be expected, but Jackson is a former unanimous MVP who has proven he's one of the NFL's most dynamic players.
Monken has said he will give Jackson more freedom to make checks at the line of scrimmage, adjust routes and change plays. With the Ravens expected to throw more, Jackson will be relied on to carry the offense through the air and will need to have great chemistry with his receivers.
Jackson has already gotten a head start, working out with Beckham and Flowers ahead of training camp. How well Jackson plays will go a long way in determining how far the Ravens go.
These players are in critical positions as the Ravens kick off training camp practices Wednesday.
Can the Defense Become Dominant?
Defensive leaders such as All-Pro inside linebacker Roquan Smith and Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey believe the Ravens have the potential to be a top defense in Mike Macdonald's second season as coordinator. The defense wants to set that tone during training camp.
"I feel like the expectations are very high," Smith said. "I feel like if we play to our standard, [if] everyone stays healthy, I think the defense – we're not weak in any spots, if you ask me."
Two players to watch closely are the starting safety tandem of Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton, which has the potential to be an elite pairing. The Ravens will be counting heavily on young outside linebackers Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo to step up this season, and there is competition for the No. 3 cornerback where Pepe Williams, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Kyu Blu Kelly, Ar'Darius Washington,Trayvon Mullen and others are all in the mix.
However, the defensive line will have a deep rotation led by Justin Madubuike, Michael Pierce, Broderick Washington, Travis Jones and Brent Urban. The Ravens may add a veteran pass rusher and reportedly hosted outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy for a recent visit. They also have reportedly agreed to terms with former Steelers slot cornerback Arthur Maulet.
Who Will Win the Left Guard Competition?
John Simpson, Ben Cleveland and rookie sixth-round pick Sala Aumavae-Laulu are competing to start at left guard, which is the hottest position battle heading into camp. The Ravens expect to have one of the NFL's top offensive lines with Ronnie Stanley, Tyler Linderbaum, Kevin Zeitler and Morgan Moses all returning as starters. But left guard is the one remaining question mark up front, and Moses is eager to see the competition play out.
"Obviously, the left guard spot is wide (open), but that's the challenge, right?" Moses said. "We're challenging those guys to step up, and whoever may take that rein, we'll bring them along."