Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five statistics that really mean something for the Ravens. This week, he looks at Michael Oher's run blocking, the camp battle at cornerback, the Ravens' recent success against the Bengals and more.
With three teams making the playoffs and two winning 12 games during the regular season, the AFC North was arguably the NFL's most competitive division last season. Unfortunately for the Ravens, it figures to be hyper-competitive again in 2012 -- well, except for anything involving the hapless Cleveland Browns.
With most of their projected starters not even suiting up for the game, the Ravens were beaten, 31-17, by the St. Louis Rams in their preseason finale last night. Here are five players who impressed and five who disappointed.
Convinced that maintaining his mobility is the key to remaining a force at age 37, Ravens All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis dieted and exercised his way down to his lightest weight since he was a rookie.
When Terrell Suggs went down with a torn right Achilles tendon in late April, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that second-round draft pick Courtney Upshaw would start at one of the outside linebacker spots for the Ravens in Week 1. That belief was reinforced this spring when the rookie linebacker from Alabama worked almost exclusively with the first-team defense.
So far, Paul Kruger hasn¿t done anything to disappoint observers. The outside linebacker dove and tipped a pass from quarterback Tyrod Taylor to rookie wide receiver Deonte Thompson. On the very next play, Kruger sacked Taylor. Kruger then sacked Flacco twice.
Organized team activities and mandatory minicamp have come and gone, and the Ravens are off enjoying a little down time before the start of training camp. But my peers in the media never rest, which is why I have rounded up what several national media outlets have been saying about the Ravens over the past several days.
In his first news conference since tearing his right Achilles tendon in April, Ravens All-Pro linebacker Terrell Suggs reiterated he'll play football this season, again denied he was hurt while playing basketball and expressed confidence that the defense can maintain its high standard without him.
Haloti Ngata, 28, played last season at 335 pounds, hoping that a little less weight would improve his quickness and endurance. But feeling that he wore down a little, Ngata said he showed up for minicamp this week at 345 pounds and is hoping to play around that weight for the upcoming season.
After playing 16 NFL seasons, getting invited to 13 Pro Bowls and establishing himself as a future Hall of Famer and one of the most feared middle linebackers in league history, Ray Lewis returned home this offseason and decided change was in order.