Ravens May Face Former QB Joe Flacco Week 1
Joe Flacco is an icon in Baltimore leading the Ravens to their second Super Bowl championship. Now he may face his former team for the first time.
Flacco may be the New York Jets'[add] starter when they take on the Ravens in Week 1.
On Friday, quarterback Zach Wilson suffered a non-contact knee injury during the Jets' preseason opener. Reports indicated Wilson avoided major injury, but his timeline to return is 2-4 weeks and their season opener is less than four weeks away.
Wilson is scheduled to get an arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus, per the New York Post. He also has a bone bruise.
"While the Jets are hopeful that Wilson will be ready for the opener, they will have to get backup Joe Flacco ready to play just in case," ESPN’s Rich Cimini wrote. "Flacco, 37, is the clear-cut No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart, ahead of Mike White (three career starts) and journeyman Chris Streveler."
Yesterday, Flacco was asked about the possibility of facing his former team for the first time since being traded in 2019 and couldn't help himself from smiling.
"I've definitely thought about that a little bit, like, 'Oh yeah, it's not going to be a big deal.' But I'm going to know deep down … I'm going to try to make sure it's not the biggest deal in the world, but at the same time, I've been through it enough, I've seen guys go through it," Flacco said. "It's a different thing."
Flacco referenced Steve Smith Sr. facing the Carolina Panthers in his first year as a Raven. Smith was highly emotional and went off with seven catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
"I'll never forget that day. He was on another planet," Flacco said with a chuckle. "It worked out good for him. It can probably go both ways."
As Flacco said, the emotions for players and coaches facing their former teams can be "crazy." In all likelihood, the emotions would be mutual as Flacco's tenure with the Ravens brought years of success for the franchise and culminated in a championship. If only the game were being played in M&T Bank Stadium.
Asked yesterday about the possibility of facing Flacco, Ravens Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald said, "The history – it really doesn't have anything to do with it, honestly. In terms of game planning, it presents the issue of, 'Hey, we have to be ready for both,' so we're going to monitor the situation, and we're going to do our homework for both quarterbacks."
Travis Jones Could Be 'The Most Valuable Rookie'
By Week 2 of training camp, defensive tackle Travis Jones was heralded as a player to watch and was a "stock up" player for The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec.
Jones' stock just continues to rise after the Ravens' first preseason game.
"[Jones] will have some reps where he just overwhelms the interior offensive lineman in front of him," Zrebiec wrote. "On Saturday, he swatted down a pass so emphatically that you could hear the thud 50 yards away. He's big, strong and explosive, and he already has veteran teammates believing that he'll immediately upgrade the team's interior pass rush."
Against the Tennessee Titans, Jones translated what he's done on the practice field into the game, tracking down shifty quarterback Malik Willis for a sack near the sideline.
Baltimore Beatdown’s Spencer Schultz believes Jones "could be this year's biggest draft steal."
"It's impossible not to be excited about the rare skillset that he's put on display so far," Schultz wrote. "Jones ultimately could be the biggest steal of this draft class. His unique blend of size, power, technical prowess in terms of hand usage and body control, quickness and movement skills align to a Frankenstein's monster-like skillset that could show an instant impact as a third-round pick once the regular season rolls around. It would be unsurprising to see Jones emerge as the most valuable rookie in the Ravens' defensive class, or perhaps across the entire league."
Justin Tucker Makes NFL Top 100, But Fans Still Aren't Satisfied
For the first time in his illustrious career, Justin Tucker has made the NFL Top 100; his NFL peers ranked him No. 94.
Though making the NFL Top 100 is an honor, many weren't pleased with his placement, including Baltimore Beatdown’s Zach Canter.
"It is a startling low spot for a guy who's been far and away the best at his position and is an impactful player for so many consecutive years," Canter wrote.
Others are disappointed it took 10 years for Tucker to make the list.
Three Wide Receiver Trade Scenarios
The lack of depth among the Ravens wide receiver unit was noted in Friday’s LFW following their preseason game on Thursday. Along with the free agent options on the market, The Draft Network’s Justin Melo believes there are three wide receivers the Ravens should try to trade for.
"The Patriots possess an abundance of receivers, especially for an offense that will likely run 12-personnel with frequency," Melo wrote. "Agholor is entering a contract season. The former Philadelphia Eagle is set to carry a cap hit of approximately $14.882 million and the cash-strapped Patriots would save nearly $10 million by trading him, via Spotrac. Agholor to the Ravens makes sense."
It's difficult to imagine the Ravens spending draft capital to bring in Agholor and his $10 million cap hit, especially when their cap space is around $8.5 million (according to Russell Street Report’s Brian McFarland) after restructuring cornerback Marlon Humphrey's contract and extending Tucker's for more cap space.
"Darius Slayton is a prime candidate to be traded or released before Week 1 marks its arrival," Melo wrote. "Once touted as an intriguing deep-speed threat, Slayton could potentially help the Ravens replace the field-stretching ability their offense lost when they traded Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals. The Giants have a surplus at receiver and the Ravens could utilize Slayton's skill set."
"The Saints completely revamped their receiver room this offseason by drafting Chris Olave and signing Jarvis Landry," Melo wrote. "New Orleans' offseason activity has bumped Callaway into a positional battle to make the Saints' final 53-man roster. Callaway is a quality NFL receiver that deserves more snaps and targets than he'll find in New Orleans. The Ravens could provide Callaway with that opportunity."
Both Slayton and Callaway are a bit more of what the Ravens have been pursuing, standing 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-2, respectively. However, both are, according to Melo, competing to make their teams' respective roster, which makes it hard to envision the Ravens parting ways with trade capital when they may be able to claim one or both off waivers if cut. The Ravens have also repeatedly stated they're interested in finding out how their current crop of receivers will perform.