Baltimore Ravens Roster Preview: Quaterbacks

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 31: Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens passes in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 31: Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens passes in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

I begin the first of my Baltimore Ravens roster preview series taking a look at the quarterback position, headlined by veteran Joe Flacco.

The Baltimore Ravens finished up their first week of OTAs on a busy offseason is in full effect. A 90-man roster will be trimmed down to 53 when it’s all said and done, leaving plenty of position battles to watch in the next coming months.

With that being the case, I’m beginning a series previewing every position on the current roster.  Rosters are shuffled around on a weekly basis, especially once training camp and the preseason come into effect so I’ll do my best to keep up with every single move.

Today, we start with the signal callers, arguably one of the most intriguing positions in Baltimore this season.

Joe Flacco

It’s been Joe Flacco’s team for the last 10 years. He’s achieved winning seasons, playoff wins and a Super Bowl championship but the Ravens have reached the postseason just once in the last five years. Part of the unprecedented drought has resulted from the lack of production from Flacco.

Despite having one of the top completion percentages among quarterbacks last season, Flacco’s stats were mediocre at best. Finishing with 3,141 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions didn’t warrant a $24.75 million payday last season.

But Flacco’s lack of production isn’t 100% his fault. The Ravens have failed to surround him with adequate weapons and it’s showed in the lack of offensive production across the board. However, this season shouldn’t provide any excuses. There’s an entirely new receiving core, headlined by three free-agent additions and two talented rookie tight ends. Alex Collins has all the capabilities to be a 1,000-yard rusher in what should be a balanced offensive attack.

Flacco is the unheralded starter coming into the 2018 season but the leash isn’t as long as it once was. With no guaranteed money on his contract in 2019, No. 5 is under pressure to succeed this season.

Robert Griffin III 

He’s not the former Heisman Trophy winner everyone is buzzing about in Baltimore but Robert Griffin is back on the gridiron after not playing the entirety of last season. The Ravens desperately needed a cheap, veteran backup after letting Ryan Mallett walk and that’s what Griffin provides.

It’s a low-risk, high-reward situation on a dirt-cheap contract for a team pressed against the salary cap. Griffin hasn’t played a full 16-game season once in his NFL career but the 28-year old has had time to recuperate after getting banged up in his first three years with the Redskins.

I believe the addition of Jackson ultimately makes Griffin expendable. The Ravens aren’t a team accustomed to taking three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and a spot may be better allocated elsewhere with some very tight position battles. But having a veteran and standout teammate like Griffin to help mentor Jackson will only be beneficial for the young rookie.

Lamar Jackson

Jackson is wild card coming into the 2018 season. Ozzie Newsome pulled the trigger, trading back into the first-round and selecting the most electrifying player in this year’s draft class. The extreme dual-threat ability is something the Ravens have never had at the quarterback position.

While he’s not a wide receiver, the Ravens clearly have plans to get Jackson involved in the offense during his rookie season. Whether that’s in read-option packages or whatnot, Marty Mornhinweg, James Urban, and Greg Roman all have experience working with mobile quarterbacks. When you have a quarterback with that athletic ability, it’s hard not to get him involved, even if it’s not in a starting role.

Jackson is far from a finished product. He’s got kinks to work out that will only improve with practice and coaching. The level of excitement surrounding Jackson was evident on draft night when he expressed his ambition to bring Super Bowl titles back to the Charm City.

It’s way too early to predict or project Jackson’s role but as mentioned before, the writing is on the wall. With each interception and falter Flacco has, the support will only continue to grow for Jackson.

Josh Woodrum

With Flacco nursing a back injury and Ryan Mallett struggling to produce last offseason, Josh Woodrum quickly gained a following. The former undrafted rookie put together two decent preseason performances and some even clamored for him to be the team’s backup quarterback. Woodrum eventually released and re-signed to the Ravens’ practice squad in September. He signed a Reserves/Futures contract and is given the chance to compete.

Woodrum, unfortunately, gets the short end of the stick in the quarterback competition. From what we’ve seen and the current situation at the position, there’s no reason to believe he’ll make the 53-man roster. He’s unproven aside from a few short bouts in the preseason and that’s just not enough at this point.

Next: Baltimore Ravens: starting summer by projecting the 53 man roster

Woodrum may be a practice squad candidate but this offseason will likely be an audition for work elsewhere.