Five questions about the Ravens heading into training camp with Aaron Wilson, the beat writer from the Carroll County Times.
Date: Sept. 23
Time: 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Location: M&T Bank Stadium
2011 record: 12-4, first place in AFC North
Playoffs: Lost AFC Championship game 23-20 at New England
1. What is going to be the strength of this team?
Besides franchise running back Ray Rice, which is an obvious one, the cornerback position is a really talented group with Lardarius Webb, Cary Williams and Jimmy Smith.
2. Where are they looking to get better?
The offensive line is an area of concern because they lost Pro Bowl offensive guard Ben Grubbs. They are hoping that Bobbie Williams, 35, has another good season in him. They gave him a two-year, $2.925 million contract that includes an $800,000 signing bonus.
3. Players on the spot?
Left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie says he weighs 354 pounds and was held out of a mandatory minicamp due to conditioning issues. He says his target weight is 345 pounds by training camp. It’s unclear what the team will do if he doesn’t hit his target weight.
4. What needs to happen for this team to win big?
The passing game has to become more explosive. That means wide receiver Torrey Smith taking another step forward after an encouraging rookie season. It looks like Joe Flacco is primed for a good year based on the AFC championship game and how he’s been throwing the ball during offseason workouts and practices.
5. Realistic expectations for this team at this point?
A fifth consecutive trip to the playoffs, but a Super Bowl appearance seems unlikely after losing NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs for at least the majority of the season with a partially torn Achilles tendon.