For all the angst about Matt Schaub's play in training camp – and I wrote about that topic in today's paper – he wouldn't be in my top five of players/issues to be concerned about if I was a Ravens official.
Look, I'm not going to offer the opinion that Schaub has impressed or played well. But I don't think there are all that many quality backup options out there. And if Joe Flacco goes down for an extended period of time, the Ravens' Super Bowl hopes become remote, regardless of who is coming in to replace him.
Now, the five things that would concern me most at this point of training camp (in no particular order): cornerback Lardarius Webb's health and form; the team's lack of speed on the outside with Breshad Perriman hurt, the rash of injuries to potential key contributors like Perriman, John Urschel, Matt Elam, Brent Urban and DeAngelo Tyson, the youth at tight end and the depth in the defensive backfield.
I didn't include second-year defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan with the other injuries because we just don't know a whole lot about what he's dealing with right now, aside from coach John Harbaugh saying it has to do with Jernigan's foot. But make no mistake, if Jernigan, who has missed the past two days of practice and seems unlikely to play Thursday, has a significant foot injury and will be sidelined for a significant period of time, that will be the biggest blow yet for the Ravens.
Brown on the bubble
I would have told you a month ago that I'd be shocked if 2013 second-round NFL draft pick Arthur Brown isn't on the regular-season roster. Now, I'm trying to figure out how the Ravens will be able to keep the inside linebacker.
Brown is working with the third teamers, having seemingly been passed on the depth chart by both Zach Orr and Albert McClellan. He's also struggled mightily over the past two years when pressed into special teams duty.
Where does that leave him? Firmly on the roster bubble, I guess. The Ravens don't like giving up on high drafts picks so early, but if they decide Brown hasn't improved and is not going to be able to help them, they might as well move on from the former Kansas State standout.
More retirements coming?
Obviously, a lot depends on how the season goes and individual circumstances, but my guess would be that Steve Smith Sr. won't be the only Raven to retire after this year.
Daryl Smith and Chris Canty will be two guys worth watching as well, and Terrell Suggs was noncommittal this summer when he was asked whether this could be his last season.
Daryl Smith did tell my colleague, Mike Preston, that he's having too much fun to retire.
Between retirements, the potential unrestricted free agency of players like Courtney Upshaw, Marshal Yanda, Kelechi Osemele and Justin Tucker and the typical offseason roster casualties, this season could represent the last run for several members of the team's current nucleus.
I've said or written several times that I don't expect the Ravens to re-sign both Yanda and Osemele to huge deals -- it's just not realistic to have so much money tied up by your two starting guards. I still believe that, but there's certainly a way for the Ravens to make it work.
They could move on from left tackle Eugene Monroe and center Jeremy Zuttah next season, replacing them with James Hurst and John Urschel. Between Hurst, Urschel and right tackle Rick Wagner, you'd have 60 percent of your starting offensive line on their rookie contracts.
That would certainly make it more feasible to sign both Yanda and Osemele to big deals. Again, not saying that will happen, but it's not out of the question that the Ravens can pull it off.
A linebacker's worth
The Ravens won't have to worry about this for several more years, but I'm sure they – and their second-year standout C.J. Mosley – noticed the deals signed by a couple of linebackers over the past week or so.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and weak-side linebacker Lavonte David agreed to a five-year, $50.25 million deal that includes $25.6 million guaranteed. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner signed a four-year, $44 million extension with the Seattle Seahawks. Weak-side linebacker DeAndre Levy got a five-year, $37.2 million pact, including $20 million guaranteed, from the Detroit Lions.
Think about those deals, fast forward a couple of years and just imagine the financial windfall that Mosley could be in for if he stays healthy and continues to improve. He has looked very good in training camp, too.
Rice to Browns?
Sports Illustrated's Don Banks had an interesting story Tuesday in which he quoted Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine saying that the Browns have discussed signing former Ravens running back Ray Rice.
What's interesting is not that a team is considering signing him. If you ask me, another chance is overdue for Rice, who has mostly said – and more importantly – done all the right things since his horrific domestic violence incident.
What's interesting is that team is the Browns, whose running back coach, Wilbert Montgomery, also was Rice's position coach in Baltimore. Rice and Montgomery had a major falling out during the running back's disappointing 2013 campaign, and the breakdown in that relationship partly contributed to Montgomery's dismissal following the season.
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That was a couple of years ago, however. There's been enough time for Rice and Montgomery to clear the air, so perhaps they have and Montgomery is vouching for Rice.
San Jose Mercury News reporter Mike Rosenberg recently compiled data of all NFL arrests over the past five years. According to Rosenberg, the Ravens had 10 players arrested during that span.
Though much has been made of the Ravens off-the-field problems, nine organizations had more arrests during the period studied than the Ravens did. The Minnesota Vikings led the NFL with 18 arrests over the past five years.
I'm not sure the numbers make Ravens fans feel better, but it might put things in better perspective.