When the last of the Ravens’ veterans reported to training camp Tuesday, the atmosphere around the team’s facility was familiar. “Like the first day of school,” defensive lineman Calais Campbell said.
However, the circumstances surrounding their 2022 season are decidedly foreign. After an injury-riddled year that former defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale likened to Netflix’s gory “Squid Game” series, the Ravens know they must move past the disappointing finish that defined their 2021. was
Six straight losses, including four without injured quarterback Lamar Jackson. 8-9 record, only the second losing season under coach John Harbaugh. And for the first time since 2017, there was no postseason appearance.
“It makes you hungry,” inside linebacker Patrick Quinn said Tuesday. “I don’t like a bad taste in my mouth. I know the last game of the season. [a 16-13 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers], it didn’t end the way we wanted, and we didn’t make the playoffs. So the only thing on our minds right now is getting ready for these preseason games. Go out there and just get off on the right foot and just get off on the right foot and be better than we were last season.
A less crowded injury list will help. Jackson, sidelined by an ankle sprain last season, is healthy and expected to participate fully during ongoing contract negotiations. But left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle), running backs JK Dobbins (knee) and Gus Edwards (knee), outside linebacker Tyus Bowser (Achilles tendon), cornerback Marcus Peters (knee) and safety R. Darius Washington (foot). are on List of physically unfit to performThat is, they are not cleared to practice. Edwards is already considered questionable for Week 1..
Meanwhile, Charlie Kolar is dealing with a possible sports hernia that could require surgery, and rookie outside linebacker David Ojabo (Achilles), an unsigned second-round pick, is out at least through midseason. Will not be ready. And despite the Ravens’ improved approach to training camp — later start times, more stretches, fewer one-on-one sessions — training camp injuries are inevitable.
But inside and outside of Owings Mills, there is confidence in the team making a return to the playoffs. According to DraftKingsthe Ravens are slight favorites to win the AFC North, even ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals, who swept the Ravens last season and advanced to the Super Bowl.
“If [missing the playoffs] Don’t give you a little edge, I don’t know what will happen,” Campbell said. “You have a bad taste in your mouth the whole offseason, so when you’re preparing and training, your mouth I have this taste all the time. When you lose in the playoffs, you have a bad taste in your mouth. But you knew, like, ‘Well, we were close.’ But when you don’t even make the playoffs, I mean, it’s a little different. It gives you a little bit more leverage when you’re going through your training camp — and not just training camp, but preseason workouts and just trying to get ready for the moment.
“So I think we’re in a good place. I think we know what we can be. And that’s the most important thing. Well, the pieces are there. Now it just comes down to execution. is, our development, from now until the season starts, and then getting out there and earning our way. So we’re in a position where we know it’s going to be a lot of work. It’s not going to be easy. We have to roll up our sleeves and get dirty. But I look in the eyes of the guys and I see a lot of guys that are ready and willing. So I’m excited.”
The next step comes on Wednesday, when the team will hold its first full team practice. On Saturday, the Ravens returned to M&T Bank Stadium for open practice. On August 11, they welcome the Tennessee Titans to Baltimore for their preseason opener. After last year’s disappointments, the team knows they can’t afford to miss a step on their way back to glory.
“The word that comes to mind is motivation,” tight end Mark Andrews said. “This is the beginning of getting down to the real business. We have a lot of goals and ambitions, and for us, this is the most disciplined team, while being focused on the details and being a hungry team, Which we will be.”
Preseason, Week 1
Thursday, August 11, 7:30 p.m
Television: Chs. 11, 4
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM