In MMQB, we detailed Lamar Jackson’s big 2019 debut, and left on the cutting room floor Sunday night was a quick exchange I had with Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who’s pretty proud of how far his quarterback has come. We mentioned in the column how his accuracy, field vision and processing have improved, and Harbaugh brought up the improvements Jackson’s made in another year.
“I was really impressed with the way he handled all the blitzes,” Harbaugh said. “He was poised and made numerous plays against a lot of different types of blitzes.” Dolphins coach Brian Flores, of course, was one of the more aggressive blitzers in the NFL calling the defense in New England last year, so that’s no surprise. But it’s absolutely another good step in an afternoon full of them for the 22-year-old.
Bradley Bozeman Not Taking Start at Left Guard for Granted - Clifton Brown
“Bradley played really well and justified the fact that he was in there as a starter at left guard,” Harbaugh said.
Bozeman believes he’s made great strides since last year, improving his agility and strength. That was evident on the first play from scrimmage Sunday, when Bozeman moved quickly to his right and threw a physical block that sprung Ingram for a 49-yard gain.
Bozeman is not taking his starting role for granted or assuming his role won’t change. He figures the best way to help the Ravens, and to keep his starting job, is to continue improving.
“Who knows, I might not be the starter next week. But I definitely say I’m playing better than last year. I’m moving better than I have my entire career, and I hope to continue that. I’m not getting complacent, and I’m going to continue to work hard every day.”
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, WR, Ravens
Week 1 stats: Four receptions, five targets, 147 yards, two touchdowns
Assets: Brown has that elite, strike-fear-in-defenses type of speed. On his 47-yard touchdown, Brown showed the ability to break away from defenders after catching a short slant. On his 83-yard score, Brown used that burst to get behind the Dolphins’ defense and catch the deep ball. He became the first player in NFL history with multiple 40-plus-yard touchdown catches in a debut, and he accomplished this on his first two receptions. This type of deep weapon was lacking last year for quarterback Lamar Jackson and his big arm. Considering how defenses have to respect Baltimore’s rushing attack, Brown should get opportunities for big plays downfield because safeties will bite on Jackson’s play-action passes.
Obstacles: Physicality and durability. Defenses are going to see whether the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Brown can hold up. To try to stop him from getting a clean release, bigger cornerbacks will look to get their hands on him at the line. The challenge for Brown is whether he can beat press coverage. With teams getting more physical with Brown, he’ll have to prove he can get healthy. Brown is still dealing with pain from his surgically repaired left foot, and the Ravens have been extra cautious with him. Brown played only 14 snaps in the season opener. Baltimore is going to need to get more from him in bigger games ahead.
Week 1 DVOA Ratings - Aaron Schatz
It will surprise nobody that the Baltimore Ravens are on top of our ratings after just one week. They wrecked the Dolphins so bad it made Aquaman cry. Baltimore is in the top three for offense, defense, and special teams after one week, and they end up with highest Week 1 VOA rating in 20 years.
What’s interesting is that the Miami Dolphins did not end up on a similar list of the worst Week 1 games in DVOA history. You may remember that we ran that list last year, because two Week 1 performances in 2018 rated as worse than Miami’s terrible Week 1 this year. Miami’s VOA of -94.7% doesn’t end up anywhere near as bad as last year’s Buffalo Bills (-130.6% for a 47-3 loss to Baltimore) or Detroit Lions (-123.4% for a 48-17 loss to the Jets).
I haven’t heard anyone even mention how badly the Ravens beat up on Buffalo in Week 1 last year. That’s two straight seasons they’ve done this!