Last week, I began to ask a few questions. After all the speculation this offseason, there are things we would like to have answered during the warm up period before kickoff in Denver. We asked in Part 1, if the rookies Elam and Brown can run with the first team? Is Jimmy Smith capable of starting opposite Webb? How will the Ravens utilize rookie Kyle Juszczyk? Here are a few more questions, things I’d like to see as preseason rolls along.
Insert your questions, or discuss your opinion on our message board.
Can James Ihedigbo and Josh Bynes run on the first team defense?
We mentioned the rookies, Matt Elam and Arthur Brown, in Part 1, asking if they are capable of running with the first team defense. Obviously they will have to earn that honor in camp and in these upcoming preseason games. I guess that begs the question, can Ihedigbo and Bynes also really run with the first team defense? Ihedigbo moves up to number one on the depth chart ahead of Elam by way of tenure and having played a bit last year. Bynes as well, earning his spot by shining in preseasons past, and doing his thing on special teams. With Jameel McClain not cleared for full contact, the door is open for Bynes to start as the Will LB. I’ll be watching these guys closely to see if these backups are really ready for a starting job. It appears to be theirs to lose at this point.
Will any receivers step up and make a preseason statement?
The team has yet to make a move when it comes to acquiring a new WR. Something they have done around this time in years past. The hope is that the young group of men we have can be counted on to get the job done in place of Boldin, and now Pitta. We’ll be looking to see if Deonte Thompson, Tandon Doss, David Reed, or possibly Aaron Mellette can avoid giving the front office a reason to make a move and bring in an outsider. Deonte Thompson has been running “almost exclusively” with the first team offense, according to The Sun.
Is the O-Line still a solid unit?
Not too much has been mentioned about the O-line this offseason. Speculation, even on my part, is that McKinnie is back, so we should be okay there. Look what happened when McKinnie came back last season. It was a complete 180 on that O-line. They were reliable. Is it still that way? Bryant McKinnie is another year older. Can K.O. return to form? He was solid last year, but that was only one year of play. Oher on the right side is better than Oher on the left side. Can he continue that success? Matt Birk was a great center for many years. Are we okay there with Gradkowski or Shipley? The only sure thing is Marshall Yanda. But in his place we’ll see Jah Reid plenty this preseason. In the regular season, Reid is likely the first one off the bench when someone needs a breather or an injury occurs. Can Jah Reid be counted on? He’ll have to impress us this preseason, because the former third round pick has yet to do so up to this point in his short career. The O-line is critical to Joe Flacco’s success. We have witnessed this.
Maybe some of these get answered this Thursday night, when the Ravens finally hit someone, other than themselves, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.