Training camp can’t open soon enough for Baltimore.
No franchise had more players arrested this offseason than the Ravens (five). The most notable was running back Ray Rice, who likely is facing an NFL suspension after being involved in a domestic violence incident with his fiancee (who he has since married).
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has acknowledged being frustrated at seeing some of his players in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
"There have been a lot more phone calls this year than other years in the offseason to find out what the heck some guys are thinking at times," Harbaugh told Ravens media in May.
But there’s a more positive reason why the Ravens should want the preseason to begin. After missing the playoffs last year for the first time since Harbaugh became head coach in 2008, the team is set for another postseason run following a series of positive personnel moves.
Unlike during the roster bloodletting of 2013, general manager Ozzie Newsome was able to re-sign key players like tight end Dennis Pitta, left tackle Eugene Monroe and linebackers Terrell Suggs and Daryl Smith. The big free-agent addition was wide receiver Steve Smith following his release by Carolina.
QB Joe Flacco now has his most complete set of receivers to work with since joining the Ravens in 2008, as well as a new offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, who knows how to deploy them. This should help Flacco rebound from a disappointing 2013 season in which he threw more interceptions (22) than touchdown passes (19) while clearly pressing to carry an inferior supporting cast.
Harbaugh said his squad was "as far along as we could be" at the end of its offseason workout program. The ultimate goal: getting as far along as the 2012 Ravens by winning a Super Bowl.