The Ravens had a historic 2019. Lamar Jackson and company set both passing and rushing records. Yet, the Ravens are still 0-0. To get back to the playoffs, and their 2019 dominance several players will have to step up and play at a high level. Here are five key players that the Ravens need to have an impressive 2020 campaign.
Jaylon Ferguson is the only outside linebacker who is under contract for 2021. Ferguson showed some flashes in 2019, but he has a long way to go. He needs to be able to consistently set the edge and turn the run inside. He struggled with that last year and teams consistently gashed the Ravens outside. If he can set the edge and get some sacks, the Ravens will be able to worry less about the run and concentrate on stopping the pass.
Matt Skura had a serious knee injury in week 12 against the Rams including a tear in his ACL and MCL. The interior of the Ravens offensive line is already dealing with another loss in the retirement of Marshal Yanda. For the Ravens to return to their 2019 dominance, Skura has to play as he did before the injury. Skura’s backup, Patrick Mekari, was decent down the stretch, but he was part of a total collapse on the offensive line in the playoff game against the Titans, on several key plays.
As previously mentioned, the Ravens lost a cornerstone on their offensive line in Marshal Yanda. Yanda was practically immaculate for the Ravens, and the Ravens have to try and replace him. The brought in D.J. Fluker in free agency. Fluker is a veteran, and he has to try and fill in some big shoes. Fluker will likely get the start in week one, and if he, combined with Matt Skura and Bradley Bozeman, can anchor the interior of the Ravens offensive line, the Ravens should be fine.
Marcus Peters had an incredible 2019 with the Ravens. He solidified the Ravens defense, and the Ravens immediately gave him an extension. Throughout Peters' career, he has been boom or bust. He needs to play well in 2020 to allow Marlon Humphrey to play inside. Tavon Young is back, but the Ravens will likely still use Humphrey in an unusual manner. They can only do that if Peters plays well on the outside.
The Ravens selected Patrick Queen in the first round in the draft. Queen will be taking the inside linebacker spot for the Ravens. Queen has to step up and play well. When the inside linebackers struggled last year, the entire defense struggled. The Ravens do get creative with their packages. They could substitute Queen out if he struggles, but if Queen does well, the Ravens could be looking at another dominant defense.