Baltimore Ravens, with loss to Chargers in mind, begin to rebuild offense ‘from the ground up’ - Aaron Kasinitz
“The direction we needed to go – from the way our offense was going to be built from the ground up – needed to start with the run game and build into the play-action pass, and then to the drop-back pass from there, kind of built around our quarterback and what he’s going to bring to the table going forward,” Harbaugh said.
Analysts and fans expressed concern that the Chargers might’ve find an antidote to a Jackson-led offense. Some believe the longer the Ravens use an unconventional attack centered on the quarterback’s legs, the easier it’ll be for opponents to identify surefire ways to stop it. Perhaps LA’s defensive back-heavy approach was the first sign of trouble.
Harbaugh doesn’t buy into that line of thinking, though. He expects Jackson to improve as a passer and he’s sure his coaches will build a system that’s creative, flexible and a terror for opponents.
“It’s all going to work,” Harbaugh said. “It’s going to work if we call it at the right time against the right defense and build the right system around it, where we can get to the right play when we want against the right defense. They can’t stop everything. If you think there’s a defense that’s going to line up and stop Lamar running plays and us executing really well, that’s just not the case.”
Perhaps more important than what plays the offensive coordinator calls is when he calls them. The best play callers keep defenses off balance by using deception and breaking tendencies, hopefully Greg Roman is an upgrade over Marty Mornhinweg in this regard.
Top-10 Free Agent Wide Receivers in 2019 - Austin Gayle
Cast into a primary role in 2016, Los Angeles Chargers’ Tyrell Williams caught 69-of-111 targets for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns en route to a 75.6 overall grade. Yet, Keenan Allen’s return from injury and the addition for first-round Clemson product Mike Williams pushed Williams into the backseat in 2017 and 2018. Listed at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, the soon-to-be 27-year-old Williams should have ample suitors willing to bet on his potential in free agency.
4. JOHN BROWN
John Brown made some splash plays deep down the field with Joe Flacco under center for the Baltimore Ravens early in the season, but he failed to record more than 30 receiving yards in any game after Week 7. If given an opportunity to field deep targets in bunches, Brown can thrive in 2019 and beyond.
Devin Funchess’ 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame bodes well for his potential as an outside receiver in the NFL, but he’s failed to come close to it in his four years with the Carolina Panthers. He earned a career-high 74.7 overall grade as a rookie and topped 900 receiving yards in 2017, but drops combined with overall inconsistency have limited his year-to-year success.
The 2019 crop of free agents receivers does not align well with the Ravens needs. Of the top six, only Tyrell Williams and John Brown do not primarily line up in the slot. Baltimore does not need another slot man because Willie Snead filled that role admirably last season. In all likelihood, Eric DeCosta will add playmakers on the outside through the draft.
Ranking all 52 Super Bowls - Elliot Harrison
44. Super Bowl XXXV - Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7
Perhaps my least favorite Super Bowl, made worse by Steven Tyler doing a halftime show with Britney Spears. This game was saved, at least from an entertainment standpoint, when three touchdowns were scored on three straight plays: The Baltimore Ravens scored a touchdown, the New York Giants’ Ron Dixon brought the kickoff all the way back, and then Ravens kick returner Jermaine Lewis answered.
Gil Brandt’s take: ”The Cowboys lost 16-13 to the Colts on Jim O’Brien’s field goal. We were a better football team, talent-wise. We had come so close the previous years, losing back-to-back championship games to the Packers, then in ‘68 in Cleveland and to the Browns again in ‘69. So, now we lost on a 32-yard field goal by O’Brien after he had missed an extra point earlier in the same game!”
16. Super Bowl XLVII - Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31
Well, if two hot quarterbacks with polar-opposite styles, a 34-minute power outage and nearly a 22-point, second-half comeback don’t interest you, maybe a faceoff of two head coaches who just happen to be brothers and a fourth-and-goal stop essentially settling the game will.
Super Bowl XLVII makes it into the top 15 by virtue of having one of the most exciting second halves ever. The final stretch was spectacular, and it included a little controversy on that late four-down stop.
At the end of the day, the Ravens’ win might not be up there with Super Bowl X, but it’s not far behind, while being one of the better Super Sundays of recent vintage.
6. Super Bowl III - New York Jets 16, Baltimore Colts 7
Gil Brandt’s take: ”Super Bowl III has to be one of the best because of what it meant. It changed the perception about the American Football League and the merger. That game was about the impact it had.”
Pittsburgh’s 35-31 victory over Dallas in Super Bowl XIII ranked first on Harrison’s list.