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. Wednesday’s visit was with the defensive backs. Thursday’s visit is with special teams.
Returning veterans: No. 46 Morgan Cox, No. 4 Sam Koch, No. 9 Justin Tucker
Rookies: No. 66 Trent Sieg, No. 6 Kaare Vedvik
What to look for in training camp: There should be little volatility with this unit considering the chemistry and consistency that Tucker, Koch and Cox have enjoyed for the past six years. Vedvik, a 24-year-old punter from Marshall, and Sieg, a long snapper from Colorado State, could break up the monotony of practices in sweltering heat while getting in some repetitions, but their chances of making the active roster are slim unless the injury bug bites someone. The preseason is a great opportunity for the unheralded veterans and rookies to make an impression with the coaching staff.
Outlook: Including Tucker, Koch and Cox, the Ravens special teams finished as one of the top units in the NFL last season. Rick Gosselin, a former writer for The Dallas Morning News, ranked the group as the fourth best in the league. It marked the sixth consecutive year that the unit, headed by special teams coordinator and associate head coach Jerry Rosburg, was in the top five of Gosselin’s rankings. The team finished first in average kickoff return yards (27.5), kickoff starting point (27.8-yard line), average kickoff yards allowed (18.6) and punts placed inside the 20 (40). The group also joined 12 other teams in avoiding a turnover on special teams.
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One stat from 2017: The coverage units did not surrender a touchdown on a kick or punt return for the fifth time in the past six seasons.