Can the Baltimore Ravens finally rely on Patrick Queen?

Ravens, Patrick Queen (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Ravens, Patrick Queen (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Long hailed as a first-round draft pick who never quite met expectations, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen showed up to play in Week 11.

Queen dazzled all over the field and finished with a team-high 12 tackles and a half-sack against the Carolina Panthers. He had shown his big-play ability here and there in the past two seasons, but he came out flying as an uber-efficient blitzer and run defender on Sunday, rattling the Panthers’ bones with some jaw-dropping hard hits.

Per Pro Football Focus, Queen made seven of his 12 tackles against the run, including this obliterating play against D’Onta Foreman before the line of scrimmage.

Queen rightfully received rave reviews from the media after Week 11:

So does this mean Queen is finally the reliable linebacker the Ravens need him to be?

The sample size is small, yet his future is definitely trending upward.

Ravens’ Patrick Queen is growing into his own as an elite inside linebacker

After a successful first year that saw Queen finish third in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting, Queen slightly regressed the following season.

He exploded as a run obliterator in some games, but in others, he missed tackles and too easily gave up chunks of yardage in the middle of the field — simply put, he was not consistent and couldn’t quite fit the SAM linebacker role.

In 2021, the Ravens would pick up veteran Josh Bynes to fill that role, and working in tandem with Bynes greatly benefited Queen’s production.

Queen appeared to play more instinctively as a coverage linebacker and moving to the weak side allowed him to show off his impressive speed, rushing laterally to stop running backs in their tracks and occasionally getting a morale-boosting quarterback hit.

In 2022, the Roquan Smith addition puts Queen in arguably the best situation of his career: he has a more talented linebacker partner in Smith, who often attracts more attention from offenses given his superior pass-rushing abilities.

That leaves Queen as the more overlooked defender who can nonetheless generate big plays of his own, having recorded a career-high four sacks and nine quarterback hits so far this year.

Signing Josh Bynes was essentially the equivalent of giving Queen a pair of training wheels — Bynes helped Queen improve his tactical awareness and increased his confidence when he needed it most.

Next to Smith, though, Queen could unlock his unrealized potential and reach his peak form, growing into his own as a dominant run defender and playing at a high-level week after week.

At the very least, the Ravens can expect to see much more consistency and production from him in the second half of the season.

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If all goes well, this could be the long-awaited breakout campaign Patrick Queen and the rest of the Ravens have been yearning for.