The Baltimore Ravens have had a number of premier inside linebackers over their history. Ray Lewis started the legacy as he patrolled the middle of the Ravens defense for 17 years. Baltimore selected CJ Mosley with the 17th overall pick in 2014. The Ravens got five good seasons out of him.

Mosley signed a free-agent deal with the New York Jets in 2019, opening the door for the next inside linebacker to take over. Current Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Queen became the next man up when the team selected him as the 28th pick in the 2020 draft.

Queen’s impact was felt right away. He was named to the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team after he posted 106 tackles, seven run stuffs, three sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. That success came under the leadership of current defensive coordinator Mike McDonald as Queen’s position coach. All of his numbers except for run stuffs (14) dropped in his second season, despite having played one additional game. Now McDonald is back as the defensive play caller.

“I love it,” Queen said. “We’ve got Mike [Macdonald] at ‘DC’ [defensive coordinator] – he was my coach my rookie year – then you’ve got ‘ZO’ [inside linebackers coach Zach Orr] in the room with us now. So, we’ve got two football guys, two guys that love football, who bring energy every single day, who love to communicate with us and get feedback from us, so now we’re able to talk to our coach and tell them what we think. And everything is working together. Like I said, ‘ZO’ is an All-Pro, so he knows what he’s talking about, he knows what he’s doing. So, it’s everything I need.”

McDonald agrees.

“He’s definitely more comfortable in the scheme, he’s confident, he’s poised, communicates well. He’s doing all of the things that we’re asking him to do, and this is kind of the vision that he has for himself. So, like we said, he’s on a great trajectory right now, and we’re counting on him. So, he should have a great year.”

The confidence comes from understanding how everything goes together from the playbook to conditioning and everything in between. He will be asked to wear the green dot helmet, meaning that he is the player on the field who gets the call from the coaches, then relays it to the defense in the huddle.

Queen noted that he has made plenty of progress over the last two seasons. Now that he is in his third year, he plans to put it all together and be a consistent playmaker for the Ravens.

The way last season ended serves as motivation for Queen. Now it’s time to let it all out on the field.

“It makes you hungry,” Queen said. “I don’t like having a bad taste in my mouth. And I know, the last game of the season, it didn’t end how we wanted it to, and we didn’t make the playoffs, so the only thing on our minds right now is just getting ready for these preseason games – to go in there and just get off on the right foot – and just be better than what we were last year.”

Tyler Hamilton
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