On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns’ take on the Baltimore Ravens. To help preview a few topics from the Ravens’ perspective, we reached out to Kyle Barber from Baltimore Beatdown and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
Chris: “What area do you see as the biggest improvement for the Ravens heading into this season?”
Kyle: “The defensive line—more specifically the pass rush—has gone from a slight weakness into a strength. With the additions of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, combined with Matt Judon re-signing on the franchise tag, ability to pressure the quarterback has greatly increased.”
Chris: “Browns fans will no doubt be curious about new Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins, the former Ohio State Buckeye who was selected in the second round of this year’s draft. What role is Dobbins expected to play for Baltimore?”
Kyle: “We don’t exactly know what to expect when it comes to the Ravens’ strategy with J.K. Dobbins. He’s been praised by the front office and the coaching staff, including John Harbaugh, who said Dobbins has earned a “significant role.” I’m expecting him to be the Ravens second running back behind Mark Ingram II, at least to begin the season.”
Chris: “Patrick Queen was the Ravens’ first-round pick. Will he be a Day 1 starter, and how has the shortened offseason gone for him?”
Kyle: “Queen has been listed as the starting middle linebacker and will be a contributor in 2020. We haven’t heard much regarding Queen. I believe that’s likely due to the lack of preseason, as Queen can’t show he’s a sound tackler and good run-stopper when they aren’t hitting, tackling and playing full-speed.”
Chris: “What is the biggest area of weakness you’re concerned with for Baltimore?”
Kyle: “I think linebacker is an area of worry. I wouldn’t say weakness, as they just added Queen and third-round pick Malik Harrison. They’re unproven in the NFL and without a preseason, it’s trial by fire. Another area I consider worrisome is right guard. For the first time in a decade, the Ravens don’t have Marshal Yanda on the roster. The run game was largely successful due to him bulldozing blockers and creating lanes for the tailbacks and Lamar Jackson.”
Chris: “Tell us about one player on offense and one player on defense who Browns fans might not be familiar with, but who could make a nice contribution for this week’s game.”
Kyle: “On offense, I’ll go with TE Nick Boyle. With the absence of Yanda, I’m greatly expecting the Ravens to rely on more blockers and Boyle is essentially a sixth offensive lineman. He’s great at setting the edge and making the difference between a 1-yard loss to a 4-yard gain.
On defense, I’ll go with Tavon Young. After missing last season with a torn ACL, I’m expecting the slot cornerback to come back and make a big play in his return. His job has become far easier with Marlon Humphrey’s progression into becoming a No. 1 cornerback and the addition of Marcus Peters. Young plays aggressive and now he’s not expected to cover guys along the outside so frequently.”
Thanks again to Kyle for taking the time to answer my questions.