Ravens Could Reunite With Superbowl-Winning WR

Former Packers WR Sammy Watkins

Getty Former Packers WR Sammy Watkins could be possible option for the Ravens help their struggling passing attack.

A familiar face at an offensive skill position that is a clear need for the Baltimore Ravens went on the waiver wire on Monday, December 19, 2022, and if he clears, could be available to sign with any team of his choosing.

The Green Bay Packers released veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins ahead of their Week 15 primetime NFC matchup with the defending Superbowl champion Las Angeles Rams that they would go on to win comfortably without him 24-12.

Watkins originally entered the league as the fourth overall pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2014 NFL Draft and has played for five different teams during his nine-year career. He played in pair of Superbowls during his three-year stint and was key in their title-winning run in 2019.

Prior to joining the Packers past offseason, he spent the 2021 season with the Ravens where he finished fourth on the team in receiving yards with 394 on 27 receptions for an average of 14.6 yards per catch. In nine games with Green Bay, he made three starts and recorded 209 receiving yards on 13 receptions for an average of 15.8 yards per catch.

As he has throughout his career, Watkins struggled to stay on the field during his stint with the Packers. So whether the Ravens or any other team decides to claim him off waivers or wait until he clears, none of them should expect that tendency to realistically change but he can still be useful as a rotational role player.

While many Ravens fans took to social media to post instances where Watkins failed to make a play during his time with the team, he made his fair share of clutch plays as well in their hot start to the 2021 season before injuries completely derailed it.

He made key receptions late in their Week 3 game against the Detroit Lions to set up Justin Tucker for his record-setting field goal and came up with another crucial conversion late in their Week 11 game against the Chicago Bears that extended the eventual game-winning drive.

He also caught what would’ve been the game-tying touchdown in Week 13 against the Pittsburgh Steelers that would’ve sent the game into overtime had the Ravens not elected to go for the two-point conversion for the win.

The Ravens’ current group of wide receivers and passing offense as a whole have been largely underwhelming since the loss of second-year pro Rashod Bateman for the year to a foot injury outside of a few inconsistent flashes. If Watkins clears waivers by 4 pm eastern, he’d at least be worth a flyer for the veteran minimum and since is already familiar with the offense having just played in it less than a year ago, there wouldn’t a long adjustment period.

John Harbaugh Confident Ravens Can Fix Pass Game

While it seems like the whole NFL world and their fanbase is clamoring for the team to make a drastic move to address the issues with their aerial attack, internally, they believe that they already have what it takes to get back on track in that aspect of their offense.

“I’ve got confidence in everybody,” head coach John Harbaugh said in a press conference on December 19, 2022. “We have great coaches and great players at the highest level, battling every single day to get everything as good as it can be.

With all the discord surrounding the job security of offensive coordinator Greg Roman due to his sometimes highly questionable game script and impulse to stray away from what the unit currently does best, Harbaugh went out of his way to express his faith and trust in the fourth-year play-caller.

“All of our coaches including Greg and everybody else, are fully capable of understanding the pass game and what we’ve got to do to get it done and scheming it up and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “We can do things a lot better, we can look at how much we’re calling, how much motion and stuff we put in, all the football-related X-and-O stuff, we’re definitely looking at really hard.”

He understands the frustration of the fanbase and admires their passion but is completely focused on the Ravens’ next opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, who are coming to town on Christmas Eve.

Harbaugh even went as far as to coin the phrase ‘We’re onto Atlanta’ which is an homage to New England Patriots’ future Hall of Fame head coach Bill Bellichick whose phrase ‘We’re on to Cincinatti’ served as a rallying cry for his team during the 2104 season during their run to the Superbowl after suffering a debilitating 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Cheifs. They would go on to blowout the Bengals 43-17 the following week and rattle off seven straight victories during their title run.

“We’re spending all of our time getting ready for the Atlanta Falcons with every ounce of energy we’ve got and a bunch of very, very good people at what they do, who understand everything about our team better than anybody else possibly could,” Harbaugh said. “All that end-of-the-bar talk is for the people sitting at the end of the bar.”

Ravens add Offensive Lineman, Release Outside Linebacker

A couple of transactions that the team actually made on Monday was the addition of third-year offensive guard John Simpson to the practice squad followed by the release of the outside linebacker Julian Stanford to make room for him.

Simpson was originally a fourth-round pick by the Las Vegas Raiders out of Clemson in the 2020 NFL Draft. He comes with a good amount of starting experience having made 21 starts in 35 career games including the first two weeks of this season and will provide quality depth if called upon and elevated.

Stanford joined the Ravens on October 18, 2022, a week after being released by the Carolina Panthers on October 11. He was only elevated for one game which came in Week 12 against the team he began his career with, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and played exclusively on special teams in all 17 of his snaps.