The Ravens struggles continued in Week 4 as they were run out of their own stadium by the Cleveland Browns. Six rookies were active, below is a breakdown of their impact on the game based on snaps and production:
The rookie continued to lead all receivers in snaps again in Week 4, totaling 56 (81%). Despite a depleted secondary in Cleveland, it was tough sledding all afternoon as he and Lamar Jackson could not get it going. The Browns did an effective job of taking away the deep opportunities by playing 10-15 yards off the ball and not allowing him to get behind the defense.
Hollywood did not help his cause, he let a ball bounce off his hands on a what would have been first down and later did not reel in a catchable touchdown pass. He continued to see a decent number of targets with seven but was only able to convert that into four catches for 22 yards. It was the most disappointing performance of his young career considering the state of the Browns secondary and the implications of the matchup. He is now up to 18 receptions for 304 yards and two touchdowns heading into a pivotal game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, his first taste of the historic rivalry.
After a slow start to the season, Boykin’s best showing of his young career included a touchdown from Jackson. For the second straight week he saw his snap count drop, going from 27 in Week 3 to just 21 in Week 4, fourth on the team. In those 21 snaps he saw three targets and was able to corral all of them, totaling 32 yards and a touchdown.
Production wise, it was a step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see if his snap count increases moving forward. It is critical that the Ravens begin to get more production from a wide receiver not named Hollywood Brown and Boykin seems like the obvious choice with the most upside.
After seeing just one carry for one yard in Week 3, Hill’s limited role continued as he totaled two carries for eight yards against the Browns. He was targeted twice in the passing game and was able to reel in both catches for a total of nine yards. Finishing with 16 snaps, he trailed Gus Edwards by four snaps and was in during crucial moments of the game.
On Jackson’s second interception of the game, it appeared that Hill picked up the wrong blitzer, allowing a defender to hit Lamar as he was releasing the ball. It was curious to not see Mark Ingram this late in the game in an obvious passing situation, as he is an above average pass blocker. Hill continued his role as the kick returner until he muffed his second kick of the season, which was enough for the Ravens coaching staff to replace him with Chris Moore for the remainder of the afternoon.
Ferguson was active for the second straight week and outsnapped both Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams in a surprise development. With the leash getting shorter for both third-year pass rushers, Ferguson looks to be in prime position to steal away more snaps in a prominent role. It will be paramount for the Ravens to keep Pernell McPhee and Matthew Judon fresh as the season goes on.
On a 3rd down stop, Ferguson was lined up inside similar to how Za’Darius Smith was used last year, which could be a role he carves out moving forward. Going from nine snaps in Week 3 to 22 snaps in Week 4 was a big development for the rookie out of Louisiana Tech. Look for “Sack Daddy” to continue to build from there, the Ravens will surely welcome some additional disruption in the opponent’s backfield.
After Brandon Williams was a late scratch on Sunday, the door was opened for Mack to make his professional debut against the Browns. Lacking an interior pass rush, this was an area where Mack figured to give the unit a boost, but he was quiet in his nine snaps, failing to make it onto the stat sheet. The Ravens clearly missed Williams presence in the middle of the line as they were gashed all day on the ground. The health of Williams will be under a close microscope and figures to be the deciding factor whether Mack will be active moving forward.
Mekari was active for the fourth straight week but did not record a snap. All five starters accounted for the complete 69 offensive snaps.
OG Ben Powers
QB Trace McSorley
LB Otaro Alaka (IR)