Patriots

NFL Notebook: 7 burning questions on the NFL, Patriots with camp now 1 month out

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Some thoughts as we cross an important threshold today — NFL training camps open to veterans one month from today — that we weren't sure ever was going to get here, and we still have some lingering doubts that it will be hit on the nose.

We'll start with the Ravens and Chiefs, dump on Josh Allen again, have good things to say about Matt Patricia (?), identify the first fired coach and give you the name of the Patriots player no one is talking about now but will once the season starts....

1. If you had to identify a weakness for the Patriots to target against the Ravens — provided a lot of things go right and that game means something — what would it be at this point?

Yeah, good luck, considering PFF just ranked the Ravens as having the best roster in the league (Patriots were 18th). PFF identified the interior offense line as Baltimore's biggest weakness, and there's some validity to that especially since all three spots are far from solidified after All-Everything right guard Marshal Yanda retired. Center Matt Skura is good, but didn't finish the season. Left guard Brad Bozeman is nothing to write home about at this time. DJ Fluker could be a major liability on the right side.

But what PFF negates to take into account, when taking aim at the offensive line, is the offensive style of the Ravens and the running ability of QB Lamar Jackson basically acts as additional offensive linemen (to say nothing of Baltimore's excellent blocking TEs) and makes them look better. Unlike other teams, you can't just look at the offensive line, grade the five guys and directly compare them to other teams. The TEs are great, so that's one extra gap to defend. Jackson is special with the ball, so that's an additional gap.

It all makes the offensive line's job easier, so the Ravens' line is basically worked with bonus points before the race starts.

As far as a Ravens' weakness to target, I'm going to go with something else, and this goes along with what the Patriots were able to do in last year's matchup.