The Baltimore Ravens focused on toughness this offseason
The Baltimore Ravens focused on bringing in toughness this offseason.
Michael Crabtree was the first sign that the Baltimore Ravens wanted to be a tougher football team. Crabtree is as tough as it gets at the wide receiver position. Some receivers are divas, and some have attitude that works for them. Crabtree has an attitude that propels his game, an edge that defines him.
The Ravens brought in Willie Snead and John Brown. These are two receivers who need to have bounce back efforts in 2018. Brown has battled through injuries, and frustration of not being able to match his stellar 2015 season. Snead hardly produced at all last year due to a suspension and injury. The Ravens did not sign receivers with booming stock. Instead they found players hungry for a second chance or a new beginning.
Baltimore had 12 selections in the 2018 NFL Draft. Hayden Hurst was a struggling baseball player, who knew a career change was the only way forward. Hurst rebuilt himself through the game of football. Hurst has mental toughness. His determination is what got him here. There was a really good article about Hurst’s journey on baltimoreravens.com, by Ryan Mink. It makes you appreciate what Hurst brings to the table.
Lamar Jackson was asked by some scouts and NFL decision makers if he would change his position. It would have been easy to give them what they wanted; Jackson could have indulged them by doing some drills as a receiver. Jackson is a quarterback and he stayed firm with that. The expectations put on Jackson have been through the roof ever since he won his Heisman trophy. He put on a show at Louisville, he tried to do it all. Jackson is used to being a leader and knows how to handle the spotlight.
Orlando Brown Jr. earned a lot of doubters during the NFL Scouting Combine. Brown Jr. went from a top 10 pick to a third round selection. He had to face a lot of frustration because of this. In his first preseason game, Brown Jr. looked poised. It looks like his combine performance was just a bump on the path towards success.
One of the hallmarks of the Ravens past success has been mental toughness. Whether it was Ray Lewis willing the team to victory or Anqaun Boldin snatching a 50/50 ball, when the Ravens have won they have been tough.
The Ravens are trying to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. The past two seasons have ended with heartbreaking finishes. The Ravens need something that will give them the edge and in football, tough players never hurts.