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Ravens News 1/1: Bright skies ahead and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Final 2019 DVOA Ratings - Aaron Schatz

Sitting starters? Not a problem for the Baltimore Ravens, whose league-leading DVOA rating barely moved after their 28-10 Week 17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens didn’t take the No. 1 spot in DVOA until after Week 13, but they had an absurdly dominant last half of the season. The Ravens had a single-game rating over 30% in their last ten straight games of the year.

Baltimore’s losses are so far back in the rearview mirror at this point that the Ravens have a weighted DVOA of 50.9%. Their performance this year is so far past any other team that they win the Super Bowl in over 40% of our playoff simulations. The Ravens finish the season in the top ten for all three phases of the game, including first on offense and fourth on defense. If we look only since Week 10, the Ravens are second on offense (behind, here’s a shocker, Tennessee) and second on defense (behind Pittsburgh).

If we measure weighted DVOA instead of total DVOA, looking at how each team was playing going into the playoffs, the Ravens are sixth since 1985.

Ranking all 32 NFL offensive lines following the 2019 regular season - Ben Linsey

2. BALTIMORE RAVENS

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens exceeded all expectations on their way to the No. 1 seed in the AFC, and the offensive line has been a big part of that success. Ronnie Stanley has had perhaps the best pass-blocking season we’ve ever seenfrom an offensive tackle since PFF began tracking players in 2006, allowing just six pressures in 443 pass-blocking snaps. It hasn’t just been Stanley, either. Jackson has been pressured at the ninth-lowest rate of any qualifying quarterback despite being the only passer to hold onto the ball for over three seconds on average. Whether letting Jackson work his magic or paving the way for the league’s best rushing offense, the Ravens’ offensive line has gotten the job done in 2019.

Giants coaching search: Add Mike McCarthy, Don Martindale - Ed Valentine

Don Martindale

The Baltimore defensive coordinator is an intriguing, unexpected addition to the field.

The 56-year-old has been an NFL assistant since 2004 with the Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos and the Ravens. He was defensive coordinator in Denver in 2010, and with the highly-rated Ravens’ defense the past two seasons.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Martindale is Ian Rapoport’s report that he would try to bring LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady with him to run his offense.

Brady moved from the New Orleans Saints to LSU this season and is largely credited with turning quarterback Joe Burrow into the Heisman Trophy winner and likely No. 1 pick in the draft, as well as turning a previously pedestrian LSU offense into a high-flying unit that has the Tigers playing for a national title.

New Year, Many Sunny Skies Ahead - John Eisenberg

After years of living close to the cap limit, they’re finally going to have room to maneuver.

The cap is rising anywhere from 4.2 to 6.9 percent in 2020, depending on several economic factors. That’s a healthy spike. Meanwhile, Joe Flacco’s mega-contract finally comes off the books after this season.

In case you’d forgotten, the Ravens had to eat $16 million in “dead money” in 2019 after trading Flacco. They went 14-2 this season with Flacco as their largest cap hit, encompassing 8.52 percent of their entire cap allotment, according to Spotrac. That’s slightly more than Jimmy Smith’s 8.44 percent, and Smith’s contract runs out after this season.

Aside from an improved cap situation, the Ravens also will be in the much-envied position of starting an MVP-caliber quarterback at a bargain price. Lamar Jackson’s rookie contract runs through the 2022 season (with the fifth-year option) and he’ll obviously be super expensive if and when the time comes for him to get paid, but until then, there’s a window of opportunity to lock up more talent.

Until now, it seemed the Ravens often found themselves in an either-or situation with such players because they were so tight against the cap limit. I’m oversimplifying, but basically, if they signed Player A, they couldn’t sign Player B.

Now, with more room to maneuver, they have an opportunity to sign Peters and his teammates.