John Harbaugh’s team won six of its final seven games in 2018 to win the AFC North. What can the Baltimore Ravens do to take another step forward in ’19?
During head coach John Harbaugh’s first five seasons as the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, the club was in the postseason each year, reached the AFC title game three times and won Super Bowl XLVII. Entering 2018, the team owned a 40-40 regular-season record the previous five years and had reach the playoffs just once.
After nine games in ’18, the Ravens owned a 4-5 record and there were whispers about Harbaugh’s job. But enter rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson and a change in offensive philosophy – all resulting in a 6-1 stretch run and the franchise’s first AFC North title since 2012. So how can Harbaugh’s team build off last season’s strong finish?
5. Youth in the secondary
If newly-promoted general manager Eric DeCosta is going to improve the Ravens from a year ago, he may have to make some tough decisions on the number of veteran players. Eight-year cornerback Jimmy Smith carries a pretty hefty cap number ($15.85 million, via Spotrac) into this upcoming season.
There’s also Eric Weddle, who has already speculated about his future with the Baltimore Ravens (via Aaron Kasinitz of PennLive.com). So will the team opt to keep the savvy 34-year-old safety? Add in the fact that veteran cornerback Brandon Carr has 11 NFL seasons under his belt as well.
In 2017, the Ravens added a quality cornerback in the first round in former University of Alabama standout Marlon Humphrey. In two seasons, he’s totaled four interceptions and knocked down 26 passes in 30 contests.
If Weddle is released, could either two-year pro Chuck Clark or 2018 sixth-round pick DeShon Elliott (who spent his rookie season on IR), be the heir apparent? The Baltimore secondary could have a few new looks this fall.