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Ravens News 7/31: QB commitment index, important Coordinators and more

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Ravens’ Coordinators Are Extremely Important to 2019 Success - John Eisenberg

Greg Roman, in his first year as OC, and Don (Wink) Martindale, in his second year as DC, both figure extra prominently in the calculus for success the organization has devised.

The Ravens are counting on their Roman-designed unconventionality working in their favor, and the early returns are promising. In a recent NFL Network poll of “league insiders,” the Ravens were the overwhelming top choice as the AFC team that opponents were least excited to prepare for.

That’s not just because of the offense, of course. Martindale’s defense was pretty much a nightmare for opposing OCs and quarterbacks in 2018. It was partly due to the talent on the unit, but more importantly, players at all three levels jumped around confusingly before the snap, disguising their intentions and leaving opponents mystified as to where pressure might come from and how various coverages would unfold.

The QB Commitment Index, Training Camp Edition - Danny Heifetz


Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray

Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson

Two teams that went and found a younger man while they were still committed to a different one. Lamar reignited embers inside of Baltimore that had long been extinguished. Joe Flacco is predictable. Lamar is spontaneous. While Joe is past his prime (32nd in pass yards per attempt in 2017), Lamar is just getting started (Heisman Trophy winner in 2016, set the NFL record for carries by a QB in 2018). With Joe, it is always about his arm, but Lamar knows how to use those legs.

How notorious night owl Ed Reed became the NFL’s feared ball hawk - Jamison Hensley

Night owl

One of the best ball hawks in NFL history was also a notorious night owl. He did all of his film study at home, staying up late to pick up tendencies and plot his personal plan of attack.

Haruki Nakamura, former teammate: “He was in a meeting just passed out. His hoodie is completely pulled over his face, and he’s sitting right next to [then-secondary coach Chuck] Pagano. He’s basically snoring in the meeting. I’m a rookie, and I’m looking, like, ‘This is the greatest safety of all time? What kind of habits does this guy have?’ Pagano would all of a sudden pause the play and would tap Ed, and he would be like, ‘Ed, Ed, I need you to look at this.’ Ed would open one eye, look at the screen and say, ‘Oh, yeah, this is this. This guy is going to cross here. Blah, blah, blah.’ We would be dead silent listening. He would then close his eyes and go back to sleep. Pagano would press play, and everything Ed just said would go across the screen. We were like, ‘What the hell?’ It’s unbelievable.”

Nakamura: “The one thing that used to bug him the most was that people used to say he was guessing. He would get so mad because they had no idea how high the percentages on the plays that he was choosing to make.”

Staking the claim

Harbaugh: “You go into the Hall of Fame, you’re a legendary football player. But in my mind, there are levels in the Hall of Fame too. And I think Ed Reed, it would be hard to argue that he’s not the greatest safety in the history of football, right? He’s one of the top 10 players maybe in the history of the game, in my mind.”

Way-too-early NFL Week 1 best bets: Aaron Rodgers leads Packers upset of Bears, Ravens run all over Dolphins - John Breech

Ravens (-4) at Dolphins

I have no idea if the Ravens are actually going to throw a forward pass this season, but that’s not going to matter in Week 1, because they might not have to throw a single pass to beat the Dolphins. This game is basically a matchup made in heaven for Baltimore. The Ravens will be rolling into Miami with an offense that averaged 152.6 yards per game on the ground last season, which ranked second in the NFL and the Dolphins will be trying to stop that with a defense that has no idea how to stop the run.

The Dolphins surrendered 145.3 rushing yards per game last season, which was the worst in the AFC and second-worst in the NFL.

As if that’s not enough, there’s also going to be a mismatch on the other side of the ball. The Ravens defense surrendered the fewest yards in the NFL last season and the second-fewest points, and they might actually be better now that they’ve added players like Earl Thomas. If I’m putting money on a football game, I’m surely not betting on Josh Rosen or Ryan Fitzpatrick to put up big numbers on Baltimore’s defense, especially when they’re being protected by a unit that’s already gone through one coach this offseason.

Firing your offensive line coach less than a week into training camp is never a good thing.

This game could turn into the biggest blowout of Week 1. Not only are the Ravens going to cover the four-point spread, but they’re going to win by double digits.