Despite making numerous offseason changes, the Ravens are counting on some familiar faces to raise their games in 2014. Which returning Raven faces the most pressure? Here are five candidates.
Ray Rice – The reasons are obvious. He’s coming off a disappointing season. He’s facing aggravated assault charges, which could lead to a possible NFL suspension. Can Rice play at the level he once did? Rice faces the most pivotal season of his career.
Joe Flacco – A year after winning a Super Bowl, he threw a career-high 22 interceptions. The Ravens have gotten Flacco more weapons. Now they will expect more consistency.
Bernard Pierce – Instead of becoming a bigger part of the Ravens’ offense, also had a disappointing 2013, followed by offseason shoulder surgery. Pierce might not be ready until training camp. Whenever he returns, the Ravens will need more from this running back in 2014, especially if they don’t have Rice early in the season.
Terrell Suggs – He had nine sacks during the first half of the 2013 season, but just one sack over his final eight games. While sacks are not the total measure of Suggs’ effectiveness, can’t afford for Suggs production to fade again during the second half of the season.
Eugene Monroe – The Ravens signed Monroe to a five-year, $37.5 million contract, entrusting him to protect Flacco’s blindside during the prime of his career. Turning 27 years old later this month, Monroe’s best football should be in front of him. Flacco will be counting on it.