A.J. Klein signing is proof the Ravens don’t like their LB situation
The Baltimore Ravens officially signed veteran linebacker A.J. Klein off the New York Giants practice squad on Thursday — a clear sign that the team was looking to upgrade their linebacker room.
A nine-year NFL veteran, Klein has played for the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and most recently the Buffalo Bills. With 134 career games and 80 starts under this belt, he’s a much-needed, experienced veteran to add to the roster.
The Klein signing might not just be for depth, however. It’s an obvious indication that the Ravens aren’t happy with the production at the linebacker position, and that extends to the starting duo of Patrick Queen and Josh Bynes.
The Ravens’ linebackers have struggled in 2022. The potential breakout season for Queen hasn’t come to fruition with the third-year linebacker posting an ugly 46.1 Pro Football Focus grade through four weeks.
The same issues that have plagued Queen throughout his career continue to be an issue. Inconsistencies in coverage, poor angles in run defense, you name it. Bynes, while better, can’t do it all himself and he’s dealing with injuries of his own.
The Ravens needed linebacker help. Klein provides them with just that.
Don’t be surprised if A.J. Klein plays an important role for the Ravens in 2022
The Ravens are no strangers to signing veteran linebackers to help stop the bleeding at the position. Rewind to 2019 when the Ravens added both Bynes and L.J. Fort midseason before rattling off a 12-game win streak on the back of strong defensive performances.
Bynes rejoined the team again last season and helped stabilize the position after Queen’s difficult start. Klein is looking to repeat history now that he’s made his way to Baltimore.
Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald praised Klein’s versatility when speaking to the media on Thursday, indicating that the veteran can play all three linebacker positions.
That versatility should allow him to carve out a role on defense as well as special teams. And in all actuality, don’t be surprised if he starts to eat into Queen’s snaps in the future if the former first-round pick continues to struggle.
The Ravens are once again turning to veterans to help solve their linebacker woes. The A.J. Klein signing is proof that the team knew they were in trouble at the position.