A former NFL defensive back, secondary coach Chris Hewitt knows what his players face every day. It's that experience, and his balance of intensity and empathy, that leads Ravens players and coaches to believe he's the man to lead the secondary back to prominence in 2015.
The Baltimore Sun is breaking down where the Ravens stand at each position, including predictions on how many players the team will keep at each spot and which players are locks, long shots or ¿on the bubble.¿ Today, we highlight cornerbacks and safeties.
There seems to be a consensus among football pundits leaguewide: The Ravens, who annually lose veteran talent and replace it with young and unproven players, will again enter the season as one of the better teams in the AFC, and in good position to make the playoffs for the seventh time in head coach John Harbaugh's eight seasons.
Associate special teams coach Jerry Rosburg listed a number of candidates to return kicks and punts in place of departed return specialist Jacoby Jones, and only ruled out a handful of players in the open competition ¿ the offensive linemen.
While we learned a little last week about Joe Flacco's adjustment to Marc Trestman's version of the West Coast offense, Timmy Jernigan's ascension to the starting defensive line and just how much longer 36-year-old wide receiver Steve Smith might play in the NFL, all of that has been sufficiently discussed and dissected.
The Ravens will have their first of three weeks of organized team activities, starting Tuesday at the Under Armour Performance Center. More than anything, the workouts will give the Ravens coaching staff a glimpse of what kind of shape certain players are in and how the rookie class acclimates with the veterans, along with providing players a precursor to the mandatory June 16-18 minicamp.
Several players who are in town are scheduled to attend the game, including Webb, wide receiver Steve Smith and former Ravens players Ed Reed, who officially retired from the NFL on Thursday after signing a one-day contract with the Ravens, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith, Detroit Lions safety James Ihedigbo and Lions linebacker Josh Bynes.
Until April 30, the first round of the 2015 NFL draft, The Baltimore Sun will examine the Ravens¿ depth at each position, the potential of them adding to that spot early in the draft and some of the players who they could target.
Before the NFL turns over the league¿s calendar each year, top Ravens officials join owner Steve Bisciotti in Florida for a comprehensive look at the upcoming season and the one that will follow it, taking into account roster construction, salary cap issues and free agency.
General manager Ozzie Newsome stood next to Jimmy Smith at the Ravens' training complex a week ago and broke into a wide smile moments after the cornerback signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension.
The Ravens expressed confidence that with their 10 picks, they will able to fill some of their primary needs in the 2015 NFL draft. They are thin at wide receiver, tight end and cornerback. Team officials want to add another pass rusher, too.
During a conference call with Ravens' season ticket and personal seat license holders Wednesday night, Bisciotti said he would be excited if the team came out of the April 30 first round with a third pass-rushing threat, joining Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.