It’s opening day for the Orioles. For the Ravens, the start of a new season is still months away. However, here are five major questions still facing the Ravens before they open another season.
1. Where does Ray Rice’s career go from here?
Rice is facing aggravated assault charges and potential punishment from the NFL. The Ravens never saw this coming when the season ended. Rice was already trying to put a disappointing 2013 season behind him. Now Rice has even more to prove, both on and off the field.
2. How will the Gary Kubiak-Joe Flacco marriage work?
Flacco will be starting his third straight season with a new offensive coordinator. While Kubiak is an experienced play-caller, he and Flacco have never worked together, and Flacco threw more interceptions (22) than touchdown passes (19) last season. At his best, like during the 2012 Super Bowl run, Flacco can carry the Ravens. But will Kubiak help Flacco unlock the key to playing more consistently?
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3. Can general manager Ozzie Newsome hit some home runs in the draft?
Many scouts say this is the deepest draft in 10 years. That means Newsome, who has a terrific track record, needs to deliver.
4. How much does Steve Smith have left?
Smith is the biggest new edition to the roster, but he is also the oldest, turning 35 years old in May. The Ravens badly needed an impact receiver. They are counting on Smith to be that guy.
5. Have the Ravens narrowed the gap between themselves and the AFC elite?
Both the Broncos and Patriots look better on paper than they did in January. That puts even more pressure on the Ravens to have a strong draft.
The Ravens have plenty of time between now and their season-opener. But they also have questions to answer.