Since entering the league as a 20-year-old first-round pick out of LSU in 2020 who didn’t turn 21 until just before his rookie season got underway, Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Queen has grown as a player and person both on and off the field.
Despite having his future with the team called into question following the trade for Roquan Smith midway through last season, the selection of his potential replacement in the 2023 NFL draft, and the decline of his fifth-year option, he has been present for the voluntary portion of the team’s offseason program including football school and Organized Team Activities.
“[I’m] just trying to get better,” Queen said Thursday, May 1, 2023. Obviously, Roquan is here now, getting an offseason with us. So, [I’m] just trying to build that chemistry, trying to learn [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] more, trying to learn the defense more, trying to – you know, all of us getting on the same page. That’s my main focus right now.”
Many young players in his situation that have started every game for their respective team since entering the league and played at a high level for the majority of that time might stay away from the team, threaten a holdout, or even request a trade. However, Queen views the opportunity that lies before him as a “blessing in disguise”.
“You see guys go both sides of it and get paid either way,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m just focused on being the best teammate I can be, being the best player that I can be and just going out there and proving myself. Going out there and playing the game that I love to play at a high level.”
Early on in his career, he didn’t really hold back his emotions, especially when it came to responding to criticism on social media but he has matured a lot in that area as well. Instead of being disgruntled, he is happy with where he is after having conversations with the team about their feelings and long-term plans for him.
“You go through emotions and at the end of the day, it may take some of us longer to get over,” Queen said. “I had many talks with many people and different outlooks on it. I just came to the realization that everything is not a bad thing.
“The front office, [I] talked to them a little bit. They keep me grounded and let me know what it really was and how they feel. At the end of the day, they know that this is the place I want to play. This is the place I want to be. So, however the chips fall, I’m happy with it.”
He isn’t dwelling on the past or looking too far down the road. Locking in on the present and becoming the best player he can be in 2023 will set him up for success and a handsome payday whether it’s in Baltimore or elsewhere.”
“I am not focusing on the future, I’m just focused on right now,” Queen said. “I think if I take care of my business and do what I’m supposed to do, all of that will fall into place.”
Queen Believes Ravens Have ‘Best Linebacker Duo’ in NFL Without a Doubt
Last season he was already ascending and beginning to play his best prior to the team’s midseason trade for Smith and after he paired up with the First-Team All-Pro, his game elevated to an even higher level.
Queen set career highs across the board that included a team-leading 117 total tackles, the third most sacks on the team with five, 14 quarterback hits, a pair of interceptions, six pass breakups, and pair of fumble recoveries according to Pro Football Reference.
He and Smith formed arguably the best insider linebacker tandem in the league during the second half of the 2022 season. Now that they’ve had an entire offseason to further strengthen their chemistry on and off the field, Queen believes that they’re unquestionably the top duo in the league.
“I actually put us as the best linebacker duo, no discussion about it,” Queen said. “If you turn on the tape, you will see it. At the end of the day, we get a full offseason to go with each other now, full training camp, full whole season, so now we just have to build that chemistry.”
He has made tremendous strides as a tackler and pass rusher as well as in pass coverage but believes the key to taking the next big leap in his maturation as an every-down is consistency and minimizing mistakes.
“The biggest thing for me was being consistent over the years,” Queen said. “I think now it’s just the point of me just playing my game, playing it at a high level and playing it consistently.”
Smith spoke glowingly about him last week and is also very optimistic about the impact the two of them can have this year.
“I truly enjoy working with that guy,” he said on May 24, 2023. “I think he’s a pro at the end of the day. He’s out here to get better with the guys. He’s just trying to make this year his best year. I’m excited to just be next to him, playing with him, and making each other better.”
Queen Doesn’t Subscribe to ‘Super Bowl or Bust’ Philosophy
The Ravens were recently named among the most complete and improved rosters in the league by NFL.com after having a busy offseason in which they overhauled their wide receiver room, made quarterback Lamar Jackson the highest-paid player in league history, and replaced offensive coordinator Greg Roman with Todd Monken.
With higher expectations for this year’s team, Queen was asked if this year is “Super Bowl or Bust?” for the Ravens, and while he agreed with the notion that they’re aiming to win it all this year, he shot down the “bust” part of that narrative.
“Everybody around the locker room is saying Super Bowl,” he said. “I don’t think it’s Super Bowl or bust. I think it’s just Super Bowl, because you don’t want a bust mindset.”
Queen went on to express that going the distance and winning a championship is the goal every year and that he is confident that this year’s team has what it takes to be a true title contender.
“With the pieces we have, with the defense we have, the offense we have, the new coordinator, everything, [with the] special teams we have, head coach, the whole organization, everything, we have what we need right here,” he said. “We don’t need anything else.”
While Queen doesn’t believe that the team needs to add any more notable pieces on either side of the ball, they could still benefit from adding an established veteran or two on defense in particular at edge defender, cornerback, or both.
Two of the top available free agent options at each position just so happen to be familiar faces that played with the Ravens the past two seasons. Four-time Pro Bowler Justin Houston led the team in sacks last season with 9.5 and three-time Pro Bowler Marcus Peters is an elite ballhawk when healthy and was an emotional leader for the team last year.
The Ravens currently have a lot of youth in both positions that want to give the opportunity to prove themselves. However, bringing in some more established players would provide injury insurance and experienced depth which is crucial for a team with championship aspirations to have in case of emergency or preservation through rotation.