Making the Leap: Lamar Jackson’s 2019 play will sway doubters - Gregg Rosenthal
Positives through the air
Jackson made enough high-quality throws as a rookie to make you believe better days are ahead. He’s not Vince Young or Blake Bortles, two highly drafted physical specimens who rarely showed the feel for the quarterback position that Jackson has flashed, albeit inconsistently.
Jackson’s sneaky-good pocket movement was a pleasant surprise on tape. He has a natural feel for moving away from pressure while staying inside the pocket. This is a skill separate from his ability to take off and run, one that some veteran quarterbacks never learn.
Jackson’s two biggest problems were ball security and delivering accurate passes once he buys time. He sometimes sails out-routes by 5 yards, a flaw going back to college that isn’t often seen from successful NFL quarterbacks. (Cam Newton is a notable exception.) Jackson often bought time, made the right read, then failed to deliver an on-time pass. His ability to limit those misses may ultimately decide whether he’s just a solid starter or a game-changer. The tools are there.
Anyone who questions Jackson’s arm strength isn’t paying attention. He made some spectacular throws across his body, including one flat-footed attempt to Chris Moore that went over 50 yards down the field against the Chiefs in Week 14. He’s able to throw with touch and power on the run, proving to be more accurate overall last season when he was on the move.
Week 4 will give us our first look of the season into what appears to be a budding annual rivalry between two of the top young players at their position. In just his first two seasons, Garrett has established himself in the upper tier of edge defenders in the NFL, recording a two-year grade of 88.4 since 2017 which ranks 9th in the league, sandwiched between names such as Joey Bosa and J.J. Watt. On the other side, Stanley has been steady as they come to start his career, grading between 74.8 and 75.8 all three seasons while playing 800 or more snaps each year. He has performed at a high level in pass protection specifically. Last season, Stanley’s pressure rate allowed of 3.5% trailed only Tyron Smith at left tackle.
With two years of matchups under their belt, there is already a decent sample size of head-to-heads between these two. In fact, Garrett has more matchups against Stanley than any other player along the offensive line. In 76 pass-rush snaps against the young Ravens’ left tackle, Garrett has just three hurries, one hit and one sack. That pressure rate of 6.6% ranks sixth-highest among the 13 individual matchups in which Garrett has had at least 25 pass-rushing snaps.
AFC North position rankings: Steelers, Browns will challenge Ravens for defensive supremacy - Jonas Shaffer
Interior defensive line
Ranking (Nos. 1-4): Steelers, Ravens, Browns, Bengals
The Ravens could’ve challenged for top billing with Gerald McCoy in purple and black, but a core of Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, Willie Henry and Chris Wormley is rock-solid.
Ranking: Browns, Bengals, Steelers, Ravens
The Ravens need Matthew Judon to take another step forward — and for the loss of Smith and Suggs to not be too noticeable.
Ranking: Browns, Ravens, Steelers, Bengals
It won’t be easy replacing Mosley in Baltimore, but the Ravens have promising, versatile options.
Ranking: Ravens, Browns, Steelers, Bengals
Ravens place Marquise Brown on NFI list to start camp - Jeremy Bergman
Ravens receiver Marquise Brown was among four Baltimore rookies placed on the active/non-football injury list on Thursday. Brown underwent Lisfranc surgery in February, months before the Ravensdrafted him at No. 25 overall in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Brown and the rest of his teammates can be taken off the NFI list, which is reserved for players unable to practice for reasons unrelated to professional football, once medically cleared.
The Grim Future of Running Back Contract Negotiations - Kevin Clark
The NFL has a lot of money to spend—the cap has risen by about $60 million in seven years—and running backs are lagging far behind. In 2018, the position’s franchise tag number—the average of the top 10 salaries—was lower than it was five years earlier. Gordon and Elliott are not the first running backs to be upset at their lack of value—and they won’t be the last—but they are part of the new normal.
Seemingly every week, there’s new evidence that passing efficiency is more important to an offense’s success than running the ball. The passing game has become much more efficient to the point it’s becoming even more valuable than the run used to be. FiveThirtyEight’s Josh Hermsmeyer, in a shocking study earlier this year, found that “96 percent of yards-per-carry totals are explained by the offense’s field position and the number of men the opponent has in the box.”