The next seven weeks figure to be an immensely important stretch for the Ravens as they attempt to assess certain position battles and the strength of their overall roster. Several veterans might find themselves on the bubble, while a few rookies — drafted and undrafted — might spark conversation.
Training camp opens July 19 at 11:50 a.m. when the team will be on the field for its first full-squad practice. The first preseason game is Aug. 2 against the Chicago Bears in the Hall of Fame Game, and the final cuts for the 53-man active roster will take place Sept. 1.
Injuries, individual performances and possible additions could play a role in determining the roster before the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium. Here is a position-by-position look at the veterans and newcomers jockeying for roster spots. Monday’s visit was with the quarterbacks. Tuesday’s visit is with the running backs.
Returning veterans: No. 37 Buck Allen, No. 34 Alex Collins, No. 30 Kenneth Dixon, No. 42 Patrick Ricard (fullback)
Rookies: No. 35 Gus Edwards, No. 44 Mark Thompson, No. 47 De’Lance Turner, No. 45 Christopher Ezeala (fullback)
What to look for in training camp: Allen, Collins and Dixon figure to be locks to make the active roster. Dixon, who sat out last season because of a torn meniscus in his knee, will draw much attention as he attempts to regain the form that helped him average 4.3 yards per carry and score two rushing touchdowns as a rookie in 2016. Of the three newcomers, the 6-foot-1, 240-pound Edwards has perhaps the best opportunity to extend to 15 years the franchise’s streak of an undrafted rookie making the active roster.
Outlook: With Terrance West departing for the New Orleans Saints and Danny Woodhead retiring, Collins, who ended last season ranked 11th in the league in rushing with 973 yards, no longer has to worry as much about sharing carries. He enters camp as the favorite to open the regular season as the No. 1 running back. But if Dixon can prove that the health of his knee is not a problem, the 2016 fourth-round draft pick could challenge Collins atop the depth chart. Allen, who caught 46 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns last season, is a reliable target out of the backfield. Ricard’s versatility in playing fullback and defensive end is a strength.
One stat from 2017: 460 total carries for the Ravens, seventh most in the NFL