Head Coach John Harbaugh will speak with reporters Thursday at 11 a.m., and will field a multitude of questions about the 2017 season and what may lie ahead in the 2018 offseason.
Here are some of the biggest questions:
How do the Ravens finish?
The Ravens have fallen just short of the playoffs in back-to-back years. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown knocked them out with the “Immaculate Extension” on Christmas last year, and this season Andy Daulton delivered a game-winning touchdown pass with 44 seconds left on fourth-and-12. Baltimore made “finishing” a huge point of emphasis this season, but the same result happened in the end. What can the Ravens do to fix it? There’s no easy answer, but Harbaugh will likely be asked.
What changes are coming on the coaching staff?
There’s already a big-time opening at defensive coordinator after Dean Pees announced his retirement. Harbaugh will also be asked about the status of Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg after an unsteady offensive performance this season. And with so many new head coaching openings around the league, there could be assistants on the move.
How do the Ravens find offensive consistency?
No AFC team averaged more points per game than the Ravens from Week 8 on. However, Baltimore still ranked 27th in the NFL in average yards per game (305.4). It was a drop from last year when the Ravens ranked 17th in yards per game (347.7). Baltimore improved its rushing attack and was more committed to it, but the passing attack ranked 29th in yards per game and last in yards per attempt (5.7). Quarterback Joe Flacco finished strong, but still ended up with his fewest passing yards (3,141) and touchdowns (18) in a full 16-game season since his rookie year.
Who will play wide receiver?
Wide receiver has been a riddle in Baltimore for many years, and the search will continue this offseason. Leading receiver Mike Wallace is slated to become an unrestricted free agent. Jeremy Maclin is under contract for another year, but had a second straight injury-riddled season with down production (40 catches, 440 yards, three touchdowns). Speedy 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman had a drop-off in his third season, and was a healthy scratch for much of the final stretch. Will the Ravens add another veteran free agent or dip back into the draft with a high pick?
What tweaks are needed on defense?
The Ravens heavily invested in their defense last offseason with the thinking that they would make it a dominant unit. Players went into the season saying it would be a disappointment if they didn’t finish as the league’s best defense. Baltimore finished 12th overall (325.1 yards per game) and sixth in scoring (18.9 points per game). They led the league in takeaways (34) and were tied for 11th in sacks (41). It’s all very good, but it’s not dominant. The interior pass rush didn’t have much production and the run defense was in the middle of the pack, due in part to major struggles when Brandon Williams was injured and out for four games. So what tweaks are needed to get the Ravens over the hump?