clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ravens News 12/8: Attacking Run Defenses and more

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Cowboys turn away Ravens, stretch winning streak to 9 Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Report: Ravens QB Lamar Jackson Expected to Start vs. Cowboys - Ben Pickman

Reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson is expected to start in the Ravens’ Tuesday night matchup vs. the Cowboys, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

On Saturday, Ravens team president Dick Cass said in a statement that the team found “at least four unique strains” of COVID-19 inside their facility during the team’s outbreak. At least one Baltimore player tested positive for COVID-19 for 10 straight days and a total of 23 players landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list during their late November outbreak.

McSorley is expected to be the team’s backup quarterback this week after Griffin III was placed on the injured reserve following his hamstring injury.

Jackson and the Ravens enter Week 13 at 6-5 and are currently outside the AFC playoff picture. Last year’s league MVP has thrown for 1,948 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. He’s also added 575 yards and three scores on the ground.

Ravens film study: Why a conservative game plan could be enough vs. Cowboys - Jonas Shaffer

The Cowboys entered the weekend ranked No. 24 in the NFL in defensive efficiency, according to Football Outsiders. Their run defense — the one area the Ravens will feel most confident attacking — was No. 29.

Washington’s 41-16 win over Dallas (3-8) on Thanksgiving Day showed what coordinator Greg Roman could need from his quarterback. Smith, who, like McSorley, started the season third on the depth chart, was more caretaker than playmaker, finishing 19-for-26 for 149 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He leaned on a rushing attack that finished with 182 yards (5.1 per carry) and three touchdowns. Smith’s longest completion went for 26 yards; tight end Logan Thomas, a converted quarterback, had a trick play that went for 28 yards.

According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Smith averaged just 4.1 air yards per pass attempt in the win. No other quarterback in Week 12 targeted receivers closer to the line of scrimmage, and only one other quarterback has won a game with such a low downfield rate this season. Surprisingly, it was Jackson, normally one of the NFL’s more aggressive throwers; he averaged just 4.1 air yards per attempt in the Week 9 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Cowboys @ Ravens; What we know, don’t know, and will find out - Matt Holleran

We know Dallas should be able to run with success against this Baltimore defense

If you just look at their rankings among the league, Baltimore’s run defense looks fairly average. Their ninth in rush attempts allowed, 12th in rush yards allowed, but 21st in yards per attempt allowed. In three of their first five games of the 2020 season, Baltimore allowed less than 71 rush yards. Since then, the Ravens have given up 110 or more yards rushing in four of their last six games.

Pro Football Focus has the Ravens graded out as the 11th-worst rush defense in all of football, coming in with a team grade of 56.3. This is just nine points lower than the Cowboys PFF rush grade of 47.1.

In two of Baltimore’s last three games, being unable to stop the run basically cost them the game. Against New England and Tennessee, the Ravens surrendered 173 yards on the ground. The Patriots and Titans were able to run the ball so well, they both won despite neither team throwing for over 250 passing yards. When the Ravens played the Eagles back in October, a team that is on a similar level to Dallas, they gave up a season-high 194 rushing yards.

Baltimore Ravens notes: Chances of D-line stars returning, a new O-line option and more - Aaron Kasinitz

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he was “very hopeful” two starting defensive linemen would return to game action Tuesday against the Dallas Cowboys and offered more insight into the factors that will determine whether Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams see the field.

Campbell hasn’t played since straining his calf early in a win over the Colts on Nov. 8, and he tested positive for the coronavirus last week. He cleared medical testing and returned to practice on a limited basis Saturday.

Williams spent more than a week on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but he did not test positive for the coronavirus, according to Harbaugh. He was isolated because of high-risk contact with an infected person. So if Williams’ injured ankle does not prohibit him from playing, the Ravens will get their starting nose tackle back in the lineup.

Qualities of a good NFL general manager and candidates to monitor for the 2020 offseason - Brad Spielberger

As we turn to the fourth quarter of the 2020 NFL season, speculation is beginning to build about who the next head coaches and general managers will be for a growing list of teams across the league. So far, there are five general manager vacancies: Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and the Washington Football Team.

Some other potential openings include the New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos and perhaps the Philadelphia Eagles.

“There’s no blueprint for how to become a GM, no set path. Experience matters in every profession, but it matters even more when there’s no manual for the job. Often, some of the most qualified candidates are those who have seen how things operate under multiple ideologies/philosophies. If you only know one way, you may have blind spots/deficiencies.”

“You find a guy who’s been under (longtime Baltimore Ravens executive) Ozzie Newsome, who’s only been there his whole career… cool, fine with me. Hire that guy.”

This would describe another top candidate for the 2021 cycle, Baltimore Ravens Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz.

Hortiz is a member of the Baltimore Ravens’ “20/20 Club”

The man one spot above Hortiz on the above list, Eric DeCosta, is now the Ravens’ acting general manager following Ozzie Newsome’s decision to step down after the 2018 season. DeCosta has gotten off to an impressive start in his own right, and spending all of his time in one building doesn’t appear to be a problem whatsoever.

NAMES TO WATCH

JOE HORTIZ — BALTIMORE RAVENS DIRECTOR OF PLAYER PERSONNEL

Baltimore Ravens (1998-Present)

Ravens have consistently been one of the best drafting teams in the NFL