Ravens' positional overview

Notes on the Ravens as they head into their first game of the season.

Defensive line: Nose guards Kelly Gregg, Maake Kemoeatu and Aubrayo Franklin (R); defensive ends Tony Weaver, Marques Douglas and Jarret Johnson (R).

Headliners: Weaver is the most complete player of this unit and the lone starter with ideal size for his position, but needs to produce more as a pass rusher. Gregg is a tenacious, undersized scrapper adept at the leverage game.

Linebackers: Outside linebackers Peter Boulware, Adalius Thomas, Cornell Brown and Terrell Suggs (R); inside linebackers Ray Lewis, Ed Hartwell and Bart Scott.

Headliners: Lewis is a perennial All-Pro returning from shoulder surgery and is viewed by many as the best defensive player in football. Boulware is an elite pass rusher, and Thomas is versatile and mobile.

Defensive backs: Cornerbacks Chris McAlister, Corey Fuller, Tom Knight, Alvin Porter and Ray Walls; safeties Ed Reed, Gary Baxter, Will Demps, Chad Williams and Gerome Sapp (R).

Headliners: Reed represents a cerebral, aggressive presence. McAlister is a physically-gifted franchise player whom the Ravens hope will mature into a top corner.

Offense Quarterbacks: Kyle Boller (R), Chris Redman and Anthony Wright.

Headliners: Boller has been thrust into the starting lineup despite an ugly track record for rookie passers. He has tremendous arm strength and good mobility, but must overcome a total lack of experience to keep Redman off the football field.

Receivers: Travis Taylor, Frank Sanders, Marcus Robinson and Ron Johnson.

Headliners: The coaching staff hopes Taylor will finally fulfill his promise as a former first-round draft pick and have an extremely productive season.

Tight ends: Todd Heap, Terry Jones, John Jones.

Headliner: Heap is an athletic Pro Bowl selection considered one of the best tight ends in the game along with Tony Gonzalez and Jeremy Shockey.

Offensive line: Tackles Jonathan Ogden, Ethan Brooks, Orlando Brown and Damion Cook; guards Edwin Mulitalo, Bennie Anderson and Jason Thomas; centers Mike Flynn and Casey Rabach.

Headliner: Ogden is a massive All-Pro who's the obvious strength on a line that is superior on its left side and a question mark on the right.

Special teams: Kicker Matt Stover; punter Dave Zastudil; kickoff specialist Wade Richey; return specialist Lamont Brightful; long snapper Joe Maese.

Headliner: Although Stover has lost some distance on deep attempts, he remains one of the most accurate kickers in league history with a career 81.6 percent mark.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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