By the time the Ravens lost quarterback Joe Flacco to a knee injury in November, Baltimore’s 2015 season was already a disappointment with a record of 3-7 (they would win only two more games the rest of the season). Though there are still questions surrounding Flacco’s health, it would appear to be a good sign that the Ravens felt comfortable enough to offer him a three-year extension this offseason. By drafting offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley out of Notre Dame in the first round of this year’s draft, the Ravens are clearly making it a priority to protect their franchise quarterback. Justin Forsett hopes to chip in at running back, as he is also coming off of a season-ending injury that hurt Baltimore down the stretch. On the other side of the ball, the defense somehow ended up with the second-best defense in the final half of last season. With a presumably healthy Flacco and strong offensive line, Baltimore has a chance to top the tough AFC North.
Steve Smith told NFL Radio that the rehab process of his injured Achilles last season has been a tough process, and he admits that he doesn’t have the desire to play much longer in the NFL.
“There were times that I was like, ‘Man, is this worth it? Will I be able to come back even close to where I was when I got hurt?’ Because when I got hurt, I think I was doing pretty good.
“Can I continue the standard four more years? No,” Smith said. “And I’m not seeking it, I don’t desire it. Will I miss football? I will miss football a great deal. I’m 37 years old and there is a standard in myself that I hold. But there is also 52 other guys that are expecting Steve Smith Sr., to make a play, to come down with a catch, to run that ball down. And so that pressure that I’ve (felt) over a 16-year career, I’m like man, give it to somebody else.”
Fantasy Studs and Sleepers
Stud: Joe Flacco, QB. Another no-brainer, Flacco is one of the most best quarterbacks in the league when he’s healthy. Low risk, high ceiling for the proven quarterback.
Sleeper: Benjamin Watson, TE. Coming off a career year in New Orleans, Watson has a chance to get a lot of balls thrown his way as several of the wide receivers are coming off of injuries.
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