The Baltimore Ravens are set to start training camp this week. Rookies report to training camp on July 11, and veterans return on the 18th. Training camp is always an exciting time, as it marks the closest moment to football yet each offseason. Training camp is always the most important practices, as it prepares the team for the long season of football ahead. It also gives the coaches a glimpse into how each player will perform in the upcoming year. Along with the preseason, many roster decisions are made with the results of training camp in mind. There are many players who can benefit from a strong performance in training camp, but these five have the most on the line.
Matt Skura – Center
The Ravens lost center Ryan Jensen this offseason to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jensen became the starting center in 2017 after the Ravens traded away and then cut Jeremy Zuttah. Jensen was a much better center than expected, as he played with ferocity on the offensive line. The Ravens have had a streak of developing offensive linemen, and Skura hopes to become the next of that breed. It appears that Skura is currently the front-runner to replace Jensen as the starting center, but the position is still far from decided. Other contenders such as Nico Siragusa, or even James Hurst could take the position if Skura does not prove himself capable. Skura needs a strong performance this training camp to hold on to his dream of becoming the centerpiece of the offensive line.
Robert Griffin III
Robert Griffin III has the most to lose in training camp out of any other player on the roster. His entire case to make the roster depends on the production and development of Lamar Jackson. The Ravens typically keep just two quarterbacks on the roster and already have two locks in Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson. Robert Griffin needs to prove himself as an experienced, and healthy, backup quarterback. He needs to show John Harbaugh that he would be a valuable asset assuming Lamar Jackson is not ready to play NFL football. If he is ready, Robert Griffin III is almost certainly gone. His performance in training camp, if it goes well, could help him land a spot on another team if he is released from the Ravens.
Kenneth Dixon is now heading into his third year with the Ravens. The running back once thought to have bounds of potential is now on the bubble of the Ravens roster. Dixon’s downward spiral began last year when he was suspended by the NFL for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. To make matters worse, Dixon tore his meniscus in training camp later that offseason. He never returned to the field in 2017. Now, with the emergence of Alex Collins, and the resurgence of Javorius “Buck” Allen, the field is much more crowded then it was in 2016. If Dixon does not live up to what he once was, the Ravens may turn to a new face, such as Gus Edwards, to be the third runner in the backfield. Dixon needs a strong showing to prove to the coaches that he still has that “it” factor they once saw in him.
Since being drafted in the third round in 2016, Bronson Kaufusi has done nothing but disappoint the Baltimore Ravens. The BYU product was touted as the next great Ravens pass rusher, but we have yet to see him sack the quarterback. In fact, Kaufusi has barely played at all since joining the team. Kaufusi missed the entire 2016 season with a broken ankle which he sustained in training camp. In 2017, Kaufusi only played in three games, totaling just five total tackles. Kaufusi is now on the roster bubble and is likely to be cut unless he shows major improvement. He absolutely needs to have a successful and stellar training camp performance, or else he will be watching the Ravens from the couch this year.
The other disappointment of the 2016 draft is Kamalei Correa. Correa was drafted in the second round in 2016 and has yet to prove himself worthy of the selection. Corea was drafted as an outside linebacker who primarily rushed the passer. Coach Harbaugh decided to try him out at inside linebacker after drafting him. The transition failed, and Correa never found solid ground as an inside linebacker. Now, Corea is moving back to outside linebacker in hopes of salvaging his career with the Ravens. He will need to impress the coaches in the very deep linebackers group, and earn his roster spot this training camp. If he does not stand out to the coaches, he will likely be out of Baltimore.