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Ravens News 10/9: High rate of motion and more

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Syndication: Cincinnati Kareem Elgazzar, Cincinnati Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC

PFF Rankings: Ranking all 32 NFL offenses ahead of Week 5 - Anthony Treash

6. BALTIMORE RAVENS

To no surprise, the Ravens’ rushing attack is producing at a high level to start out 2020. They have generated 0.18 EPA per rush on running back carries in non-garbage time, which is the highest in the NFL. That’s actually more efficient than 22 teams are passing the ball on a per-play basis.

One of the great aspects of this offense is its high rate of motion. Baltimore has the highest usage of motion in the NFL this year, at 75% — over three percentage points higher than second and nearly 15 percentage points higher than third. Motion can cause miscommunication for the defense, thus creating big plays for the offense.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson has also been responsible for his fair share of big plays created on the ground, as he has picked up a 10-plus-yard gain on 39 of his carries. And while this team hasn’t been nearly as good through the air overall as they were last year (first in EPA per pass in 2019, 18th in 2020), they have been on play-action passes. When using play-action, Baltimore ranks fifth in EPA per pass play while Jackson has recorded the third-best passing grade at 93.8.

First-quarter report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 3-1 start - Mike Preston

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson makes everything go in this offense. He has played well in three of the four games and is a threat as both a passer and a runner. Jackson is the team’s leading rusher with 235 yards and a touchdown on 39 attempts. He hasn’t been as dazzling as a year ago, but the season is still young. Jackson has completed 67 of 98 passes for 769 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception. Despite having a completion rate of 68.4% and a passer rating of 111.3, he needs to be more consistent throwing the deep ball and he has missed open receivers at times. Grade: B+

Defensive line

The Ravens are allowing 97.5 rushing yards per game, but the line hasn’t performed up to its preseason billing. Nose tackle Brandon Williams has played well against the run and defensive end Calais Campbell has turned in a steady, all-around performance, including knocking down a key pass here and there, but more was expected after the Ravens added Campbell and fellow end Derek Wolfe during the offseason. Campbell leads the linemen with 14 tackles, followed by Williams with 13 and Wolfe with 12, but they have combined for only one sack. This group might be the key to the Ravens advancing deep into the playoffs. If the Ravens can get pressure with their front three or four, it leaves the secondary less vulnerable and allows coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale to blitz less often. Grade: B-

Lamar Jackson (illness/knee) misses back-to-back practices for first time in career - Kevin Patra

Lamar Jackson missed his second consecutive day of practice.

The Baltimore Ravens MVP quarterback was not at Thursday’s session after missing Wednesday because of an illness in addition to the knee that popped up on the injury report yesterday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported. Both issues are considered minor, Pelissero added.

The QB completely sitting out back-to-back days is at least eyebrow-raising, even if it goes no further.

It’s unclear when Jackson suffered the knee issue. He played 47 of 55 snaps in Sunday’s win over Washington, coming out late in the 31-17 blowout.

Running back Mark Ingram, nose tackle Brandon Williams, and right guard Tyre Phillips also missed practice Thursday.

Baltimore Ravens key players: Why Ricard, Humphrey and 4 others could be vital against the Bengals - Aaron Kasinitz

FB Patrick Ricard

As a bulldozing blocker, Ricard holds the ability to jolt a Ravens running game that has failed to match its sky-high production from last year. But might he also chip in Sunday … as a pass catcher? Blocking tight end Nick Boyle has 215 receiving yards in games against the Bengals over his career, more than twice his total against any other single opponent. Boyle, like Peters, missed practice Wednesday with a thigh injury. If he doesn’t play, perhaps Ricard’s role will grow and the Ravens will try to design plays that set up easy completions to the fullback instead of the blocking tight end.

S DeShon Elliott

Burrow’s a confident rookie quarterback who hasn’t shied away from delivering difficult throws through his first four NFL games. His talented tandem of receivers and a creative play caller in head coach Zac Taylor give him more opportunities to take risks.

Elliott, in his first year starting as a Ravens free safety, will have chances to take advantage of — or get burned by — Burrow’s gambles.

NFL Week 5 picks, odds: Cowboys hold off Giants in shootout, Bengals scare Ravens and more spread winners - Will Brinson

Cincinnati (1-2-1) at Baltimore (3-1)

Point spread: Ravens -13.5

Are the Bengals the best 1-2-1 team in NFL history? I kid, I kid. Kind of — Joe Burrow is freaking awesome. This kid is so ridiculously polished for a rookie quarterback (especially for one drafted in a pandemic!) on a team with a really bad offensive line. The Bengals probably aren’t going to win this game, but the Ravens are dealing with a Lamar Jackson injury, and I would expect we see a healthy dose of Robert Griffin III in the second half if Baltimore has a lead. Burrow loves the backdoor, so I’ll take the two touchdowns here and watch him stroll through late.

Pick: Ravens 28, Bengals 21