Pressures allowed: 158 (sixth). Average YGBC: 0.47 (eighth).
The Ravens’ offense wasn’t a consistently threatening unit this past season, but that wasn’t due to poor play across the front line. Despite losing one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL in Marshal Yanda (ankle) early on, Baltimore was still a top-12 rushing offense and was one of nine teams to allow fewer than 30 sacks on the year. The team’s proficiency as run blockers despite missing Yanda for the majority of the season was especially impressive. Baltimore’s running backs gained an average of 0.47 yards before defenders closed within 1 yard in 2017, ranking eighth. The great work by the offensive line helped spring Seahawks castoff Alex Collins to a near 1,000-yard campaign after getting an early-season promotion from the Ravens’ practice squad.
The sixth least quarterback pressures allowed is an impressive statistic. Baltimore's offensive line could be even better next year with the return of Yanda and potentially a first round selection at right tackle.
This past season, the Ravens needed one more win to reach the playoffs. The scenario was simple heading into the game against the Bengals in Week 17, “win and your in.”
Of course, the Ravens did not win, and thus, failed to make the post-season for the third straight year. The game started off ugly for Baltimore, but a mid-game rally put them in the lead with only minutes left. With 53 seconds left in regulation, trailing 27-24, the Bengals were forced into a 4th-and-12 situation with no timeouts remaining. What should seemingly be an easy stop turned into one of the worst plays in Ravens’ history. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton found a breakdown in the Ravens’ zone coverage and hit receiver Tyler Boyd for not only a first down but a game-winning 49-yard touchdown. Everything was right there for the Ravens and it was ripped away in the blink of an eye.
Team leader Terrell Suggs was visibly distraught after the last minute loss. It is nice to hear Judon was equally disappointed. As Ray Lewis used to say, “I’m pissed off for greatness. Because if you [aren’t] pissed off for greatness, that means you are OK with being mediocre.”
Based on his contract, the 2018 season is a prove-it, make-or-break type year for Jefferson. Many expected the Eric Weddle-Tony Jefferson duo to be one of the best safety tandems in the league heading into last season. However, that was far from the case. Weddle and Jefferson looked to be on different pages throughout the course of the season.
Not to mention, Jefferson struggled in coverage, particularly when matched up with opposing tight ends. Interestingly enough, Pro Football Focus gave Jefferson and Weddle both an overall grade of 82.4. They both were tied for 25th on Pro Football Focus’ grading.
Jefferson has some physical limitations, namely his lack of long speed. His 4.75 second 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine placed him in the 4th percentile at the safety position. Hopefully new coordinator Martindale can identify his strengths and put him in position to thrive next season.