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Ravens News 9/11: Tavon’s return, Flacco’s bounceback and more

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Buffalo Bills v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Tavon Young’s Return Is Huge Boost for Ravens Defense - Clifton Brown

“Tavon is a huge asset to this defense,” safety Tony Jefferson said after Sunday’s game. “Obviously, that nickel spot guy needs to be able to do both – cover and blitz. ‘Tay’ is perfect for that job.”

“We saw something on the field that we were able to take advantage of on Tavon’s [Young] sacks,” Mosley said. “One of those was actually a coverage sack, and he was supposed to be covering, but he got loose and made it happen. Sometimes you’ve got to make a play.”

Young also did well in coverage. Per Pro Football Focus, he was targeted twice, gave up one catch for 11 yards and broke up the other.

With instincts, coverage skills, sound tackling and a nose for the football, Tavon Young is tailor made to excel in the slot.

PFF’s Week 1 NFL Team of the Week - Gordon McGuinness

CORNERBACK

Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens89.9

In their first game without cornerback Jimmy Smith, another Ravens cornerback makes the Team of the Week. Humphrey was outstanding, allowing just two receptions for six yards from six targets, and came away with two pass breakups.

The official gamebook credited Humphrey with four balls defensed. Marlon has clearly improved his ability to break-up passes at the catch point.

Buffalo hits the Iceberg - Ken McKusick

Intended Scheme Changes

If the iceberg the Bills could see was the preseason defensive tape from the Ravens, they crashed against the deeper scheme Martindale unloaded in his first game as the Ravens DC. To summarize:

• The Ravens played a substantial number of big nickel (3 safeties/2 corners) snaps for the first time since the 2016 opener versus Buffalo. In total, they lined up 8 times with Clark as the SCB. On those snaps, the Bills gained 29 yards on 7 plays and were penalized for holding on the other. This alignment may have been an adjustment Martindale found appropriate to the weather conditions.

• On 3 plays, the Ravens lined up with no defensive linemen, but utilized all 5 of their outstanding OLBs at the same time with Mosley and 5 DBs. This is a more extreme version of a package frequently used by Pees with 1 down linemen, 5 linebackers, and a nickel in passing situations. The results of those plays were a 3-yard sack by Tavon Young (Q1, 8:12), Jefferson’s interception (Q2, 5:50), and Smith’s 4-yard sack (Q3, 10:49). I’m going to go out on a limb and say we will see more of that package.

Coordinator Martindale had a masterful debut as the Ravens play caller. It was refreshing to see aggression, deception and a willingness to maximize the natural talents of his defensive personnel.

Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens: Three Things we Learned - Andrew Kim

Joe Flacco’s bounceback campaign

Flacco was very decisive and hit three different receivers for touchdowns as he was sat from the game in the third quarter. He threw for 236 yards on 25 completions of 34 attempts with a 73% pass completions and a 121.7 passer rating.

Adding Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead was a complete overhaul at the receiver position in free agency but so far, it has paid off as all three of them had touchdown catches and racked up 13 catches and 131 receiving yards combined in only three quarters of play.

With rookie Hayden Hurst out, rookie Mark Andrews filled his role as three catches for 31 yards along with Nick Boyle who had a similar state line to Andrews at three catches for 40 yards.

Even though the running game was not that effective besides the three rushing touchdowns by the Raven’s running backs (Alex Collins, Javorius Allen, Kenneth Dixon), it was still great to see the Ravens passing game working so effectively.

Flacco’s execution of a well designed pass-first gameplan was near flawless. He played with confidence and sprayed the ball around to a variety of targets with precision and accuracy.

Take it to the Bank podcast

A comprehensive review of the Ravens dominating Week 1 performance.