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Monday Hangover, Week 2: Big LJ Energy

The Ravens and their QB continue their stellar start

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Monday Hangover, a weekly column where Jake is here to answer any lingering questions you may have about the Ravens (or the rest of the league) coming out of the weekend, and take a quick look around the division/league. Enjoy, and power through your Monday with some light Ravens reading, and leave a comment with your thoughts down below!

Another week, another win. The Ravens came into this season knowing that they had two very winnable matchups in the first two weeks, and that later season success may be predicated on playing them per the script.

They’ve now done so, as they walked away from Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with a victory and a 2-0 record through 2 weeks. Everything has seemingly gone to plan so far this season, but there are always questions to be answered regardless of outcome when it comes to the NFL.

Let’s take a look at a few the Ravens are still facing below:

How do we feel about this offense through two games?

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Pretty damn good, to put things simply. No matter how much you may have believed in Lamar Jackson and this offense throughout the offseason, it was always going to be impossible to tell if things would mesh in the way that Ravens backers would hope for.

After a perfect opening in Week 1, they took care of business on Sunday, with Jackson distributing through the air and running it to equal effect to keep the Cardinals off balance. This is the type of game I think should be expected of Lamar moving forward; not perfect by any stretch, but very effective when he needs to be, and dynamic in multiple phases.

There were some lulls with the offense, but there are a few examples of the attack firing on all cylinders, such as their first drive - a 95-yard march that ended with a wide open touchdown strike to Mark Andrews. The fact that they closed out the game with Lamar dropping a perfect dime over Hollywood Brown’s shoulder for a 41-yard gainer and a first down pickup felt like the icing on the cake.

Is Marquise Brown the real deal?

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

It certainly seems that way. After a pitch perfect start to things in Week 1 in which he was ripping off explosive plays like Wile E. Coyote, he had a much more efficient and workmanlike effort in Week 2 that was both impressive in multiple facets and crucial to the Ravens winning.

On the first drive of the game, he got involved on multiple plays to different levels of the field, and showcased his ability as more than just a burner. Like I said, his final catch was a thing of beauty, and a potential sign of things to come between him and Lamar Jackson as the two continue to build chemistry with one another.

How well has Greg Roman fit in as the OC so far?

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

While it’s hard to argue with the results so far, there are a few oddities with Roman’s play-calling that I noticed today that hopefully won’t be a concern moving forward. Mainly, he just seemed stuck to the idea that the Ravens were going to have success running the football up the middle, or die trying.

Arizona stacked the box and took the same route as Miami did in trying to stop Lamar - making him throw the ball. Thankfully for Baltimore, he was able to have success both throwing and running it, but you’d like to see a young quarterback be supported by his stable of running backs maybe a bit more in a home effort like this.

Maybe I’m just nitpicking as I’ve been very pleased with Roman up to this point, but I do believe a bit more adaptability will be crucial at certain points throughout the rest of the season. Like I said though, so far, so good.

Should we be concerned about the secondary after a tough outing?

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

To a certain extent, at least until Jimmy Smith starts to get back into the mix. There’s still a lot of top end talent to like here, but with some of the younger guys getting mixed in, communication may be an issue to keep an eye on.

Brandon Carr was picked on early but rebounded nicely as you’d expect from a veteran of his caliber, and Anthony Averett had his struggles as well. Ultimately though, some of the longer plays against Baltimore came from miracle heaves or communication busts, which can be fixed with better coaching.

There are still kinks to be worked out here, but overall, there’s no need to push the panic button on this defensive backfield just yet. Of course, I may be singing a different tune after they head to Kansas City to take on Patrick Mahomes, but that’s a different story entirely...

Speaking of which... am I the only one super hyped up about next week?

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

I would certainly hope not, but if you’re not hyped, you better get there sooner rather than later. A rematch of one of the best games of 2018 comes at a point in the season when both teams are 2-0, and both quarterbacks are playing MVP-caliber football.

Patrick Mahomes is a different type of test than Ryan Fitzpatrick or Kyler Murray, and Kansas City’s crowd is going to be rocking at Arrowhead per usual. The Ravens D will need to tighten things up, and the offense may need to tighten things up consistency-wise if they’re going to have a prayer of walking out of there with a win.

With or without it though, the Ravens have gotten 2019 started off on the right foot, and a competitive game against the top shelf Chiefs will only serve as more evidence to that.

AFC North whiparound:

  • The Steelers lost Big Ben and the game to the Seahawks on Sunday, and concerns loom about the veteran’s availability moving forward. Without him, things would be looking pretty rough with 0-2 now in the books for the black and yellow.
  • The Bengals were absolutely waxed by San Francisco in their building, looking a bit more like the Cincy I was expecting this season. It’s almost a shame as they looked very competitive in week 1, but more of this and less of that spells doom for a talent poor Bengals roster.
  • The Browns travel to New York to take on the Sam Darnold-less Jets tonight, and if they don’t win then.... boy. They better win, for their sake.