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49ers 2023 Opponent Preview: Baltimore Ravens

The countdown to training camp and the 2023 NFL regular season has begun with the league releasing report days for each of the 32 clubs. The San Francisco 49ers have set a rookie report day of July 18, and veterans are expected back in Santa Clara a week later on July 25.

As all 32 teams begin gearing up for training camp, is breaking down some of the key matchups of the upcoming season in this 2023 opponent preview series. We'll also hear directly from the opposition on their club's biggest offseason moves.

Up next, we are previewing the 49ers Christmas Day opponent, the Baltimore Ravens. San Francisco will host quarterback Lamar Jackson and company for a holiday game in Week 16 at Levi's® Stadium. The last time these two teams faced each other was in Week 13 of the 2019 season.

2022 Season Recap

The Ravens reverted back to their winning ways in 2022 after closing out the previous season with an 8-9 record and their first playoff miss with Jackson as the starter. Baltimore went 10-7 and secured the sixth-seed in the AFC despite facing significant adversity in the second half of the season.

The year started out decently well for the Ravens who won seven of their first ten games, but just a couple weeks later, the team would lose their franchise quarterback for the rest of the year. Jackson suffered a knee injury versus the Denver Broncos that was not initially labeled as season-ending, and while he was never placed on Injured Reserve, he was not cleared to play for the remainder of the regular and postseason slate. The team also had to contend with injuries to running backs Gus Edwards and J. K. Dobbins and wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay among others.

Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley took over the offense in the final six games of the season, including a start against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card Round. Their season ended at the hands of the Bengals with a 24-17 loss in Cincinnati. However, optimism is high heading into the 2023 campaign after the club and Jackson agreed to a five-year contract extension during the offseason.

View game photos from the 49ers Week 13 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.

Key Offseason Additions

Drafted Players

  • WR Zay Flowers
  • LB Trent Simpson
  • Edge Tavius Robinson
  • CB Kyu Blu Kelly
  • OT Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu
  • G Andrew Vorhees

Acquired and Retained Free Agents

  • WR Odell Beckham Jr.
  • WR Nelson Agholor
  • S Geno Stone
  • LS Nick Moore
  • RB Justice Hill
  • QB Lamar Jackson
  • CB Rock Ya-Sin
  • QB Tyler Huntley
  • CB Kevon Seymour
  • WR Tarik Black
  • LB Kristian Welch
  • CB Trayvon Mullen
  • LB Del'Shawn Phillips

Coaching Changes and Promotions

  • Offensive coordinator: Todd Monken
  • Wide receivers coach: Greg Lewis
  • Defensive backs coach: Dennard Wilson
  • Outside linebackers coach: Chuck Smith
  • Quarterbacks coach: Tee Martin
  • Running backs coach: Willie Taggert
  • Team strength and conditioning coordinator: Scott Elliot
  • Strength and conditioning coach: Anthony Watson
  • Strength and conditioning coach: Ron Shrift
  • Strength and conditioning coach: Kaelyn Buskey

Hear From the Other Side

Get an insider's perspective as staff writer Clifton Brown answered some questions regarding the club's offseason moves.

How important was reaching an agreement with Lamar Jackson as the rest of the Ravens roster was coming together in free agency?

The Ravens signed Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor before they agreed to terms with Jackson. However, the uncertainty surrounding Jackson's future had been hovering over the team for more than a year. It's hard to overstate the importance of having the franchise quarterback and a former unanimous MVP under contract for the next five seasons. Jackson is still only 26 years old. His best football should be ahead of him.

Which player(s) was/were the most critical free agent signing for the Ravens (outside of LJ)?

Beckham will be a major addition for the Ravens if he stays healthy and plays like he did for the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants. When we last saw Beckham in action, he was on his way to an MVP-caliber performance in the Super Bowl before suffering a knee injury and sitting out the 2022 season. He's the most decorated receiver Jackson has ever worked with, and his presence should also benefit other weapons in the offense like Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews and wide receiver Rashod Bateman.

What are your early impressions of the 2023 rookie class? Any early standouts during OTAs?

First-round pick Zay Flowers headlines Baltimore's draft class, an explosive wide receiver who excels in running after the catch. Flowers could be a dangerous weapon in his first season and may be targeted often, expecially if Beckham or Bateman don't stay healthy. An under-the-radar rookie to watch is sixth-round offensive lineman Sala Aumavae-Laulu, who enters training camp competing to be the starting left guard.

Baltimore and SF are set for a Christmas Day game in Week 16. What's your impression of this 2023 edition of the 49ers the Ravens will face?

It's not breaking news, but I think the 49ers are one of the NFL's best teams. It wouldn't surprise me to see them make a return trip to the NFC Championship Game. I'm still interested to see how their quarterback situation plays out, but the roster is strong from top to bottom. Having Christian McCaffrey for a full season should make the offense even more explosive. They're legit Super Bowl contenders and facing the 49ers on the West Coast on Christmas is a tough assignment for the Ravens.

What's one position battle you are looking forward to seeing in training camp?

The battle at left guard will be the hottest at training camp after Ben Powers' departure to Denver in free agency. Aumavae-Laulu, John Simpson, Ben Cleveland and Daniel Faalele all have a chance. The Ravens value veteran Patrick Mekari as a backup who can play all five offensive line positions, so they're likely to keep him in that role. Simpson enters camp as the favorite, but the battle could linger throughout the preseason if nobody takes control early.

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