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Ravens News 8/14: Confident Jaleel, flawless roster and more

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Jacksonville Jaguars v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

News & Notes 8/13: Confident Jaleel Scott Is Making Plays - Ryan Mink

Now Scott is one of the Ravens’ most improved players. In a crowded wide receiver competition, he appears to have a good shot at making the Ravens’ 53-man roster and making an impact this season.

So what clicked?

“Confidence,” Scott said Tuesday. “Everything that you do, you need to have confidence and know that you’re going to get the job done. So, I feel like my confidence went up, and my preparation in the offseason, my training and the things that I knew I needed to work on, I attacked it this offseason.”

The New Mexico State product already topped that in last Thursday’s preseason opener, hauling in a 25-yard pass in the fourth quarter. It was a back-shoulder throw when Scott had one-on-one coverage and he twisted his body and made the snag along the sideline.

“He’s playing really fast. If you look at the tracking and all of that, the guy is running really fast,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

“He’s running good routes, and he’s making plays – catch-and-run plays, go-up-and-get-the-ball plays. The next step that I’ve talked to him about is, ‘Let’s take that offensive play-making to special teams this week, too.’”

Flawless NFL roster: 53 players, $188.2 million to spend - Bill Barnwell

Edge Rushers

Matt Judon, BAL, $2.09M

We’re four-deep here with a group of edge rushers who combined for 38.5 sacks and 92 quarterback knockdowns last season. The oldest of the bunch is Judon, who turns 27 this week, so you’re looking at players who are still ascending into their peaks. None of these guys needs to sell out and shirk their run responsibilities to get after the quarterback, either.

Defensive Tackle

Michael Pierce, BAL, $3.09M

Donald is going to be on this team at any cost. He has 99 quarterback knockdowns over the past three years, and no other player has topped 73. Pierce gives us a mammoth nose tackle to play alongside Donald, but out of pure curiosity, I want to see what Williams can do in the starting lineup alongside the league’s most terrifying defender.

Will Lamar Jackson stay healthy long enough for the Ravens to revolutionize offense in the NFL? - Anthony Defeo

To the Ravens credit, they recognized they were going nowhere with Joe Flacco a season ago; they made Jackson their starter late in the year, utilized his ability to make things happen with his feet, and they rode him all the way to an unlikely AFC North title.

But in Baltimore’s playoff game against the Chargers, Jackson was exposed as a quarterback a defense could keep in check just as long as it contained him as a runner.

Isn’t that the recipe for any NFL defense, make an offense one-dimensional? And if the strength of an offense is running the football, shutting that element down almost guarantees success.

NFL defenses are filled with freakish athletes who are big, fast and strong. They dream of getting a free shot at the quarterback. Sure, the Ravens might initially do some damage with this planned attack that’s hellbent on revolutionizing modern offense. But what happens when defenses begin to catch up? And it might not take them too long to catch up if Jackson doesn’t have the accuracy to find his shiny new receivers downfield. What happens if Jackson becomes just another run-first quarterback? That’s a lot of hits per game to absorb from those freakish athletes on the other side of the ball.

The Baltimore Ravens’ pass-rush battle took shape in preseason Week 1 - Gordon McGuinness

One starting spot this year is likely locked in barring injury, with Matthew Judon just behind those two with 674 snaps a year ago — also ranking third on the team with 42 total pressures. But it’s the spot opposite him that is most up in the air. Pernell McPhee is the front runner to see the most snaps, but his health will play a major role in that, having never topped 600 snaps in a single season and combining for just 861 snaps over the past three seasons. Still, when he has been on the field, he has been productive. He had the best season of his career as a pass-rusher back in 2014 with the Ravens, racking up nine sacks, 24 hits and 40 hurries from 426 pass-rushing snaps.


Baltimore has a wicked running QB in Lamar Jackson -- who was very successful running pistol ideas in Louisville. They’ve added a lightning-quick zone runner in Justice Hill -- who was very successful running pistol ideas in Oklahoma State -- to an already strong stable of backs with Kenneth Dixon, Gus Edwards, and Mark Ingram. Their versatile tight ends -- Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst, and Nick Boyle -- allow them to run 12 personnel sets that look more like 20, 10, or 11 by alignment. Throw in their fullback -- yep, they’ve got one of those! -- and now they can run 22 and 21 personnel sets with multiple running, receiving, and blocking threats.

That is a whole two handfuls, man. Defenses don’t want to deal with that. They have to put multiple defenders in conflict responsibilities; ask defensive backs to play in the box and linebackers to play flexed out; default to zone ideas to keep eyes on Lamar Jackson should he break the pocket. There’s so much going on, that Jackson doesn’t even need to be a plus passer -- he just needs to be enough of one to keep the passing game relevant.