The Baltimore Ravens open training camp July 28 at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Maryland. Here's a closer look at the Ravens camp, which wraps up Aug. 18.
Top storyline: There doesn't appear to be much drama regarding when Joe Flacco will return after tearing knee ligaments last season. Ravens officials insisted all offseason that Flacco will be ready for the start of training camp, and Flacco indicated last month that he believes he will be on the field for the first practice. The uncertainty is how long it'll take for Flacco to get up to speed after missing all of the spring practices.
Flacco has to strengthen his arm after not throwing much this offseason, and he acknowledged that he is unsure how he'll react mentally the first time he takes a hit to the surgically repaired left knee. The Ravens showed their confidence in Flacco in March, when they signed him to a three-year, $66.4 million contract extension. It's now up to Flacco to regain his championship form. Since winning the Super Bowl in 2012, Flacco has a 21-21 record with 60 touchdowns and 46 interceptions (third-most in the NFL over that span).
If Flacco doesn't get protected on the blind side: It doesn't matter how many pieces the Ravens added to the offense if they can't keep Flacco safe in the pocket. Baltimore has a new left side of the offensive line this season: Ronnie Stanley and John Urschel are in, Eugene Monroe and Kelechi Osemele are out. The Ravens have done a better job at protecting Flacco. In the last two seasons, Flacco has been sacked only 35 times, third-fewest among quarterbacks with at least 700 pass attempts. The pressure is on for the Ravens to be just as stout this season because Flacco won't be able to move as well after coming back.
Player who will have fans buzzing: Keenan Reynolds. The sixth-round pick is the most intriguing rookie on the team. Reynolds is a decorated Navy quarterback-turned-NFL receiver who set the NCAA record with 88 career rushing touchdowns. What makes him even more buzz-worthy is that he's further along at his new position than many anticipated, making several tough catches this spring. With Reynolds' playmaking ability, he'll get a shot at punt returner and perhaps snaps at running back. He's the multipurpose threat that Baltimore has wanted in recent years.
Position battle worth watching: Inside linebacker. The Ravens released leading tackler Daryl Smith in March, and they didn't sign or draft an inside linebacker. Zachary Orr, who went undrafted in 2014, is the front-runner after spending most of the offseason with the first-team defense. The potential surprise is Kamalei Correa, a second-round pick who primarily played outside linebacker at Boise State but received reps next to C.J. Mosley this spring. Arthur Brown, a 2013 second-round pick, could figure into the battle if he can finally live up to expectations. If none of the young linebackers pan out, the Ravens could bring in a veteran free agent like A.J. Hawk later in training camp.
That rookie should start: Ronnie Stanley. It would be troubling if Stanley wasn't the starting left tackle on Sept. 11, when Baltimore hosts the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens used their highest draft pick in 16 years on Stanley, and coach John Harbaugh said repeatedly that the expectation is for Stanley to start immediately. Stanley is the eighth player to start at left tackle for the Ravens since Jonathan Ogden retired after the 2007 season, and is the most athletic of those who have followed the Hall of Fame offensive lineman.
Veteran whose job is in jeopardy: Defensive end Lawrence Guy. He is one of Baltimore's more underrated players and proved he can more than hold his own in six starts last season when he filled in for Chris Canty. To be a full-time starter for the first time in his seven-year career, Guy will have to hold off two players -- Brent Urban and Bronson Kaufusi -- the Ravens drafted with the hope of eventually becoming starters. Urban and Kaufusi will push Guy if they can remain healthy.
Position switch worth monitoring: Lardarius Webb. He became a liability at cornerback after seven seasons, and the Ravens decided to move him and his team-high $5.5 million base salary to safety. Team officials believe Webb can make the switch because of his instincts, ball skills and tackling ability. But Webb has to prove he has the range to limit big plays. The Ravens have allowed a league-worst 17 completions on passes that traveled 40 yards in the air since Ed Reed retired after the 2012 season.
Injury watch: The Ravens will probably bring back wide receiver Steve Smith (Achilles) and linebackers Terrell Suggs (Achilles) and Elvis Dumervil (foot) slowly at the start of camp, but they should return at some point in training camp. The biggest concern for the regular season is wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who injured his knee this offseason. He avoided having season-ending reconstructive surgery, but it's uncertain exactly when he'll return, especially with how slow he healed from a knee injury last season.
What fans will be saying after camp: The Ravens are much faster at the receiver position. Baltimore ranked last in the NFL with a 10.4-yard per catch average last year, and the Ravens believe they'll be able to stretch the field more consistently this season. The free-agent signing of Mike Wallace, the return of Perriman and the drafting of Chris Moore in the fourth round significantly upgraded the speed at wide receiver. The difference in quickness from last year to this year was noticeable at offseason practices.
For daily updates at camp, check out the Baltimore Ravens clubhouse page.