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Ravens News 11/27: FA lookahead, ‘Best in the Business’ and more

NFL: NOV 25 Ravens at Rams Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What the Rams Said After Monday Night Football Rout - Ryan Mink

QB Jared Goff

On Marcus Peters picking him off:

“He’s a great player. I love Marcus; he’s one of my favorite guys I’ve played with and he made a great play. He made a great play and he’s known for that. I tip my cap to him, he made a great play. Their whole defense had a tremendous day.”

S Eric Weddle

On the Ravens offense:

”When you get on the field and you get to the speed of what they run, it’s tough. I mean, some of the plays I didn’t know who had the ball because they run it so efficiently. These guys are just coming down hill and doubling and getting extra gaps and you’re trying to figure out what’s going on.”

CB Jalen Ramsey

On what he thought of the Ravens offense:

“Put a lot of points up on the board. Best in the business I would say.”

Five Things We Learned from the Ravens’ 45-6 win over the Los Angeles Rams - Childs Walker

Patrick Mekari did a terrific job stepping in for Matt Skura at center.

The Ravens have benefited from unusual stability on their offensive line, with the five starters playing almost every meaningful snap of the season. Skura had grown into one of their most dependable players, a top-10 center who never left the field. So his teammates had to feel dispirited as they watched him ride off on a cart after a Rams defender fell on the back of his leg.

Mekari, an undrafted rookie, had to step in against a front seven that features the most dominant individual defender in the NFL in defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Big problem, right?

It didn’t turn out that way as the Ravens kept right on rolling with Mekari snapping the ball. They used persistent double teams to hold Donald to a single assisted tackle and generally overpowered the Rams at the line of scrimmage, clearing the way for a season-high 285 rushing yards. Jackson took two sacks, but those were the results of him holding the ball a beat too long against good pass coverage.

Mekari was no sure thing to make the Ravens roster coming out of training camp. As the team scrambled to find quality depth in a top-heavy position group, he impressed coaches with his versatility and steady improvement.

Though he didn’t play center in college, he handled one of the sport’s most subtly difficult positions as if it was second nature against the Rams.

Mekari is just the latest example of an unexpected piece fitting neatly into place during this charmed run for the Ravens.

The Biggest Compliment of Lamar Jackson Is Still to Come - Conor Orr

We’re running out of ways to describe and things to say about the quarterback who is grinding nearly every defense he faces into a fine powder. He is politely stomping on everyone who did not believe he was an NFL quarterback. He is, as head coach John Harbaugh intimated during a sideline conversation with Jackson, the type of transcendent talent that will change the way an upcoming generation of kids thinks about football.

But I think the most obvious compliment the league will pay to Jackson—beyond giving him the MVP award, which he is running away with—is how it will quietly try and emulate what Baltimore is doing.

Any team that puts on something resembling appointment viewing like the Ravens have this season will be studied, analyzed and eventually pilfered by the unoriginal masses at the urging of ownership.

Next season, Baltimore offensive coordinator Greg Roman will be a head coach somewhere.

We’re going to see the DNA of this Baltimore team spread throughout the NFL, right down to more coaches using informed, analytical decision making like Harbaugh does on Sundays.

2020 NFL free agency lookahead: Tannehill up, A.J. Green down - Gregg Rosenthal

Free agents who have made themselves money this season

3) Matthew Judon is following in a long line of Ravens edge rushers who have seen a jump in production and playing time in their contract year, leading to free-agency riches. I don’t think he’s as big a difference maker as Za’Darius Smith, who left Baltimore for a four-year, $66 million pact with the Packers last March, but the Ravens have learned the hard way how difficult it is to keep pass rushers. For once, it doesn’t appear that there is much young future talent in the pass-rushing pipeline.

Week 12 DVOA Ratings - Aaron Schatz

But the Ravens’ 45-6 win over the Rams is easily the best game of this year and continues a phenomenal run by Baltimore since Week 7. In their last five games, the Ravens have an average DVOA of 75.4%. Here’s how good that is: only seven other teams this season have had a single game as good as what Baltimore has done over a five-game span. Baltimore moves past Dallas into the top spot in offensive DVOA this week, and the Ravens also move up from tenth to fourth in defensive DVOA. Combine that with their rank in special teams (second) and the Ravens are now in the top four in all three phases of the game.

There is a place where the Ravens are ahead of the Patriots, and that’s in weighted DVOA, which lowers the strength of early-season games. Right now, that mostly means lowering the strength of Weeks 1-4, which happens to include three of New England’s best games of the year as well as Baltimore’s two losses. So the Ravens are now No. 1 in weighted DVOA at 44.0%, and the Patriots are second at 41.4%.

I’ll admit that I’m surprised that the Ravens haven’t passed the Patriots overall in DVOA, given how good they’ve been over the last five games. I know some other advanced metrics on the Web, from PFR’s Simple Rating System to EPA-based metrics such as ESPN’s FPI, have the Ravens ahead of the Patriots.