Year to year, training camp always has its twists and turns, and no matter how much optimism there is for a new season, there is always a few players who see the bullseye squarely on their backs as they begin on-field workouts.
This season, the Baltimore Ravens will be no exception. As the team is looking to settle things at plenty of spots on the roster, several players will come under the microscope in a big way in order to right the ship and take things to the next level to do some major winning in 2021.
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On both offense and defense, there are several players who are going to be facing the pressure in a big way for the Ravens in terms of making a fast impact and getting their 2021 off to a positive start. Here’s a look at the names that will be facing the biggest heat to begin the new year.
Marquise Brown, Wide Receiver
The Ravens need to see Brown make major strides this season, and there is no more beating around the bush about what must happen for his career. Brown came in with great promise, and has delivered on it only part of the time for the team and the offense so much so that the Ravens are constantly looked at as a team that is one wideout away from being elite. Arguably, that wideout should already be on the roster in Brown. During camp this year, Brown has to step up and be the leader of this pass catcher group in a big way and show he is the heartbeat for the team. If he has a good season, that could go a long way toward setting the standard for this group in 2021 and beyond. Obviously, it will start with a solid training camp.
Odafe Oweh, Edge
Considering what happened this offseason in terms of departures, the Ravens will be asking a lot of Oweh off the edge in 2021. He will need to rush the passer well almost from day one to make up for the production that has been lost from Matt Judon. There won’t be much time for Oweh to adjust knowing this, so getting it right quickly will be a huge goal for the rookie in his first camp. He must start strong in terms of carving out a role within the trenches, sticking to it and then excelling in between the lines in his first year.
Ronnie Stanley, Offensive Line
Typically, players coming off injury get somewhat of an adjustment period, but that won’t be the case for Stanley whatsoever. Already, the heat has been applied to him in a big way in terms of what some folks think he must do in camp. Many see Stanley stepping up and showing how healthy he is as a huge goal for not only the team but the player. It’s an important time for Stanley and the Ravens, who hope they can gain a measure of stability for their line with the healthy return of a very elite talent.
Rashod Bateman, Wide Receiver
Much like Oweh, there’s isn’t going to be much breathing room for Bateman as a rookie this season, as the team needs to see him come in and make an impression almost immediately at the key position of wideout. The Ravens haven’t been able to develop much at wideout the last few seasons, so the time is now for that to be able to happen. From day one, Bateman has to show himself as a major weapon in between the lines capable of big plays. It’s been a while since the Ravens had an elite wideout from the first day on the field, so Bateman has to be that guy at this time for the team.
Alejandro Villanueva, Offensive Line
The veteran should have no trouble adjusting to the Ravens locker room personality-wise, but will he be able to show his talent on the field with consistency up front? The Ravens traded Orlando Brown Jr. and looked content to replace him directly with Villanueva. He’s a decent pass blocker but has struggled at times with consistency while run blocking, and the Ravens want to establish the ground game most of all. That puts pressure on the veteran to be able to adjust quickly to a new scheme and system while playing a seamless role for a line that is in transition.