Evolved Ravens offense can be elite in 2019 - Gordon McGuinness
ANDREWS OVER THE MIDDLE
The Ravens have a strong history of tight ends, with Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe key to their 2000 Super Bowl team and players like Todd Heap and Dennis Pitta making an impact during their time in Baltimore. Just one game into his second season, former Oklahoma standout Mark Andrews looks like he could be another good one. Following on from an impressive rookie campaign, he opened the 2019 season with eight catches for 108 yards and a touchdown, leading all tight ends with a 6.0 yards per route run average in the opening weekend of action.
While he showed that he can be a downfield threat with a 39-yard reception on 2nd-and-13 with 8:51 left in the third quarter, the real value in his work is on underneath routes. Six of his receptions came within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, including a touchdown on 4th-and-3 with 9:30 left in the game, this time coming from backup quarterback Robert Griffin III.
As teams adjust to the threat of Brown downfield, Andrews and players like fellow second-year tight end Hayden Hurst and wide receiver Willie Snead have the potential to see some favorable coverage matchups in the middle of the field, something that will be further benefited by the fact that no quarterbacks in the NFL used play-action on a higher percentage of dropbacks than the Ravens at 50%.
Offensive Line Scoring vs. Dolphins 9/8/19 - Ken McKusick
The Ravens afforded Jackson ample time and space (ATS) on 8 of 21 drop backs (38%), which is unexceptional, but a function of Lamar’s early success. Let’s review:
- Jackson’s first 2 passes came out quickly for gains of 7 and 3 yards
- On the next 5 drop backs, he had ATS resulting in gains of 47 (TD), 83 (TD), 9, 14, and 33 (TD).
- At that point the Dolphins changed their defensive game plan to use numbers and scheme to dial up additional pressure and Jackson had ATS on just 3 of his final 14 drop backs.
Using Flacco’s results with and without ATS from 2009-17 as a baseline, Lamar should have been expected to throw for 119 yards. He exceeded that by 204 net yards, which is a larger positive deviation from expectation than any game Flacco had over the period I collected the data.
Murray and Jackson aren’t just slithery and capable of keeping plays alive – they are legitimately two of the fastest players on the field.
“It’s two very dynamic playmakers, no question,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “They could be the future of football if they continue to work and develop.”
According to the NFL’s NextGenStats, Jackson clocked a top speed of 20.11 mph on Sunday against the Dolphins. Murray peaked at 19.68 mph against the Lions without ever seeming to hit full throttle.
The ability for Jackson and Murray to break the pocket and surge upfield on a moment’s notice is a wrinkle defenders must always consider.
“I think that the ability to run is definitely changing the game,” Murray said.
“It’s a new era, definitely,” Jackson said.
“It definitely will feel different,” kicker Justin Tucker said. “Growing up and being a part of the Ravens for the last seven-plus years, the Ravens have always had Terrell Suggs on the roster. He’s always been out there. I remember playing Madden in high school. You always see Sizz lined up out there in black and purple. But that’s the nature of the business.”
“It’s definitely going to be weird,” said cornerback Jimmy Smith, who recently saw Suggs wearing his Cardinals jersey on Snapchat. “… It’s not like he left because he hates everybody. It isn’t a nasty reunion. We’re definitely going to welcome him back with an ass-whooping.”