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Late for Work: Looking at Ravens' Biggest Offseason Losses and Their Replacements

OLB Odafe Oweh
OLB Odafe Oweh

Looking at Ravens' Biggest Offseason Losses and Their Replacements

No team has suffered more losses this offseason than the Ravens, both on the roster and the coaching staff.

The Baltimore Banner's Jonas Shaffer ranked the Ravens' 10 biggest offseason losses, as measured by their value to last year's team, and their likely or actual replacements in 2024. Here are the top four:

Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald

"Throw in the assistant coaches the Ravens' defense lost this offseason — Associate Head Coach and Defensive Line Coach Anthony Weaver (Miami Dolphins) and Defensive Backs Coach Dennard Wilson (Tennessee Titans) — and this is an easy one. Maybe no unit's staff last season was more impressive. Under Macdonald, the Ravens became the first team in modern NFL history to lead the league in scoring defense, sacks and takeaways in the same season. Their defensive staff married impressive player development — none of the Ravens' four All-Pro players over the past two seasons had been so honored — with schematic complexity.

"Replacement: This one's a sure thing: Zach Orr. After Macdonald was named the Seattle Seahawks' coach in January, the former Ravens inside linebacker was promoted from inside linebackers coach to coordinator. Orr has no play-calling experience, but he's intimately acquainted with the Ravens' scheme, personnel and culture."

OLB Jadeveon Clowney

"Clowney was the best pass rusher on the NFL's best defense last season, finishing with a career-high-tying 9.5 sacks and career-high 71 quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, 13th most in the NFL. The Ravens generated a significantly higher pressure rate with Clowney on the field (43.3%) than without him (36.4%), according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats, despite blitzing far less often. He signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.

"Replacement: Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo have promising pedigrees — Oweh was a first-round pick in 2021, and Ojabo, if healthy, would've been one in 2022 — but neither has delivered a star-making season. Oweh has 13 sacks over three years; Ojabo has two over five games. Even if the Ravens draft a pass rusher late in the first round, such as Penn State's Chop Robinson or Missouri's Darius Robinson, or re-sign outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy, Oweh would project as the breadwinner out wide."

ILB Patrick Queen

"It's not just Queen's ability as a blitzer (four sacks, 26 pressures and plenty of picks set for defensive lineman Justin Madubuike) that earned him All-Pro honors and a three-year, $41 million deal from the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's also his availability. Queen started every single game over his Ravens career and played at least 94% of the defensive snaps each of the past two seasons. Roquan Smith is a force multiplier in the middle of the defense, but there's no guarantee that his 2024 partner will have Queen's competitiveness or instincts against the run.

"Replacement: Trenton Simpson has impressive physical gifts — at 6 feet 2, 235 pounds, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds and did 25 repetitions on the bench press — but he fell to the third round last year after an inconsistent junior season at Clemson. Simpson's strong performance in the Ravens' regular-season finale (seven tackles, including two for loss) offered a glimpse at what he could become. Still, success at the position can elude young players. Just ask Queen."

RG Kevin Zeitler

"Zeitler was Mr. Reliable for the offensive line. One of the team's hardest workers, he started all but four games at right guard after arriving in 2021 and led the team in total snaps over that span. Zeitler graded out as a top-15 guard each of the past three seasons, according to PFF, and earned Pro Bowl honors last year after allowing just two sacks in 574 pass-blocking snaps. He signed a one-year, $6 million deal last month with the Detroit Lions.

"Replacement: Ben Cleveland stepped in for Zeitler when injuries sidelined the veteran late last season, and he graded out well. A third-round pick in 2021, Cleveland has started just seven games over his career. He could be in the mix at left guard, where the Ravens also need to replace John Simpson, but he has far more experience on the right side of the line. Second-year linemen Andrew Vorhees and Sala Aumavae-Laulu, offseason signing Josh Jones, and a Day 1 or Day 2 pick could also be in the mix."

Ravens Involved in Three Top Revenge Games in 2024’s.Adam Rank named his 12 favorite revenge games for the coming season, and the Ravens are involved in three of them, the most of any team:

Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs

"Many thought the 2023 Ravens — the AFC's top seeds who notched a resounding divisional round win over the up-and-coming Texans — were going to be the team to make the leap to the Super Bowl. Not me; I picked the Chiefs. But still, there has been some history between Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, with the wins going the way of the latter. The fact that Kansas City went on to win the Super Bowl makes last season's home loss in the AFC Championship Game such a bitter pill to swallow. And while a win in the regular season won't exactly mean true revenge, you know Baltimore has circled this showdown."

Ravens vs. Steelers

"You get the sense the players — while they might respect each other — really don't like each other. And Patrick Queen's defection from Baltimore to Pittsburgh as a free agent should act as kind of a superkick in this series. It won't be surprising if there is a little extra emotional juice on both sides. Queen would undoubtedly like to prove he can stand on his own as a pro — away from Roquan Smith — after leaving the franchise that declined his fifth-year option. Baltimore has enjoyed more general success than Pittsburgh recently, but the Ravens have lost seven of their past eight games against the Steelers — and while it's true that Lamar Jackson missed many of those, he hasn't beaten Pittsburgh since 2019."

Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals

"This might not be the first game you think of when it comes to the Ravens' 2024 opponents. But safety Geno Stone signing with the Bengals has to be one of the best moves in free agency — or, at least, the best move nobody is talking about. The Bengals needed some help in the secondary after losing key pieces over the last few years, including Jessie Bates and Chidobe Awuzie. Stone, who just recorded seven INTs and nine passes defensed in a breakout 2023 season for Baltimore, is a young cornerstone for Cincy's defense who came at a pretty affordable price (two years, $15 million)."

John Harbaugh Makes It to Final Four in 'Best Coach in the NFL' Tournament

In the spirit of March Madness, the NFL on Fox put together the “Best Coach in the NFL” tournament. The bracket divides the coaches by conference and ranks them from one to 16. The winners in each round are determined by fan votes online.

John Harbaugh, the No. 2 seed in the AFC, made it to the conference final, where he was eliminated by No. 1 seed Andy Reid of the Chiefs.

Along the way, Harbaugh scored lopsided victories over the New England Patriots' Jerod Mayo, Jacksonville Jaguars' Doug Pederson, and Miami Dolphins' Mike McDaniel.

Reid is facing the Detroit Lions' Dan Campbell in the finals. Campbell beat the Los Angeles Rams' Sean McVay in the NFC final.

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