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Late for Work 6/20: Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen Are 'Arguably the Best Linebacker Duo in the League'

From left: ILB Patrick Queen, ILB Roquan Smith
From left: ILB Patrick Queen, ILB Roquan Smith

Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen Are 'Arguably the Best Linebacker Duo in the League'

Patrick Queen said a few weeks ago that he and Roquan Smith are the best linebacker duo in the league. He's not alone in his thinking.

CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr identified the best duo (at any position) on each team, and he said Smith and Queen not only are the Ravens' top pair, but they're also "arguably the best linebacker duo in the league."

"Smith made an instant impact in the Ravens defense since Baltimore acquired him prior to the trade deadline, finishing with 169 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three interceptions and six passes defended with the Ravens and Chicago Bears this past season," Kerr wrote. "Smith and Patrick Willis are the only players to have 150-plus tackles, four-plus sacks and three-plus interceptions in a season.

"Queen is coming off a season in which he notched a career high in tackles (117), sacks (five), interceptions (two) and passes defensed (six). He is one of three defenders (Roquan Smith and Bobby Wagner) with at least 300 tackles, three interceptions and 10 sacks since entering the league in 2020. If Baltimore makes a deep playoff run in 2023, Smith and Queen will be a massive reason why."

Marlon Humphrey Says Ravens' Revamped Offense Will Sharpen Their Defense

Marlon Humphrey appeared on “The Rich Eisen Show” to speak with guest host and former NFL linebacker Kirk Morrison yesterday.

The Pro Bowl cornerback discussed the Ravens' revamped offense and how it will benefit their defense.

"There's not much relaxing in practice anymore. You gotta be ready to go, which is really good for both sides," Humphrey said. "I think [General Manager Eric] DeCosta and the front office, what they've done this offseason has been really good as far as putting our quarterback in great position, paying our quarterback, getting some weapons for him, and even on defense getting some weapons.

"I think it'll be a really fun season. It'll be some really competitive training camp practices. Might be some fights out there. It might be war out there, but I'm really excited to get that work in at practice."

Humphrey touched on a variety of other topics, including his always-entertaining tweets, being the OG in the locker room, and the Ravens defense being disrespected in the Madden trailer yet again.

Last season, the trailer for the game depicted Browns running back Nick Chubb trucking Humphrey. This year, the trailer featured Bills quarterback Josh Allen stiff-arming Geno Stone and running over Queen.

"I don't know, maybe Ravens sells," Humphrey said. "That always is a thing. Maybe they should give us a copy first if they are gonna put us on there as advertising. …Or maybe we could be scoring, but we're always on defense getting killed or ran over. They need to fix that. Maybe they're just forgetting that it's the same team every time."

Ravens' Quarterback Room Ranked Among NFL's Best

Not only do the Ravens have one of the best starting quarterbacks in the league in Lamar Jackson, but they also have talented and experienced quarterbacks backing him up.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio placed the Ravens at No. 5 in his rankings of NFL quarterback rooms. Florio based his rankings on a team's starter, backups, and coaches.

"The Ravens will contend this year. They could be a serious contender for a Super Bowl appearance," Florio wrote. "Much of it hinges on the quarterback position, and the team's overall quarterback position is among the best in the league."

Florio believes Jackson can take his game to another level this season under new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken.

"Sure, they're in the process of installing a new offense. But that should only get more out of starting quarterback Lamar Jackson, whose throwing skills are regularly underestimated and often dismissed," Florio wrote. "He has his five-year contract, he's fully engaged, and he has multiple new weapons at his disposal as the team transitions from the Greg Roman offense to the Todd Monken attack."

Florio noted that the Ravens have a capable backup quarterback in Tyler Huntley, who has started nine games the past two seasons, including one in the playoffs.

"He's under contract for one more season, and he has proven to be a competent understudy to Jackson. Huntley gave the Bengals a run for their money in the playoffs," Florio wrote.

Other quarterbacks competing for roster spots are journeyman Josh Johnson, who has played for 14 teams and is on his third stint with the Ravens, and Anthony Brown, who started one game as a rookie last year.

Zay Flowers Has Impressed With His Ability to Get Open

ESPN's NFL Nation reporters provided progress reports on the first-round draft pick of the team they cover. Zay Flowers received a positive review from Jamison Hensley.

"Flowers has been impressive with his ability to consistently get open," Hensley wrote. "The Ravens have drafted six wide receivers in the first round in their history, but none has shown this type of route-running as a rookie. Teammates and coaches have raved about his sharp change of direction, which has caused plenty of separation this offseason.

"Flowers has had the occasional drop, which was a problem in college. But Ravens officials have shown no concern over his hands. Flowers is projected to be among Baltimore's top three wide receivers alongside Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman."

Also complimentary of Flowers was CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin, who called the drafting of the Boston College star the Ravens' best move of the offseason, which is saying something considering some of the team's other offseason moves.

"Drafting WR Zay Flowers is easily the most promising investment they've made at the position in years," Benjamin wrote.

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