Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:
The opening of training camp this month will end what surely has been the NFL's strangest offseason, replete with Zoom team meetings, virtual conditioning tests, etc. All that makes it a challenge to anoint an offseason MVP for the Ravens, but if forced to pick one, I'd choose Hollywood Brown.
The Ravens are counting on Brown effectively becoming a No. 1 receiver in 2020, and if the workout videos he has posted are any indication, he seriously got the message. With his stronger body and foot injury behind him, he is poised for the big things the team wants/needs.
No surprise Lamar Jackson and Joe Flacco ran neck-and-neck in balloting for quarterback on the Ravens' all-time team, as selected by fans. Jackson's future appears limitless after his gargantuan MVP season, but Flacco won a ton of games, including a Super Bowl, in a decade on the job. Tough call.
Jackson won by a nose, but I'm generally a body-of-work guy so I'd have picked Flacco. I can't get past the fact that he has a huge lead over Jackson in starts (163 to 22), wins (96 to 19), passing yardage (38,245 to 4,328) and touchdown passes (212 to 42).
The rest of the fans' all-time team selections were mostly solid with one glaring exception. Derrick Mason is the franchise leader in career receptions and receiving yardage. I get Anquan Boldin making it, and Steve Smith Sr. was terrific in his three seasons, but Mason belongs on the all-time team.
Other all-time team thoughts: Justin Tucker is the obvious choice at kicker with his historically good career numbers, but Matt Stover was really good; he carried the offense through some lean years. And Jacoby Jones over Jermaine Lewis as the returner? Someone had to win but that's a coin flip.
As the start of training camp nears, I'm seeing a lot of interesting analysis about which football factors might separate the winners from the losers in the NFL in 2020. But with the coronavirus pandemic continuing, the biggest factor might be simply which teams can keep their players the healthiest.
Jackson needs to win a Super Bowl to be in position to get as much (in either dollars or years) as Patrick Mahomes got in his mega-contract with the Chiefs. But assuming he remains one of the NFL's biggest stars, Jackson will still command huge dollars whenever the time comes.
Although we still don't know for sure whether Cam Newton is fully recovered from the injury that sidelined him in 2019, my prediction is he's fine and will be starting for the Patriots this fall. I doubt the Ravens or any other team in the AFC is doing cartwheels.
We still don't know whether fans will get to attend games at M&T Bank Stadium in 2020, but if the end result is a limited capacity of less than 14,000 due to safety protocols, that's certainly a better "game" environment for the players than no fans at all.