clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ravens News 5/15: Rookies positioned for success and more

New, comments

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

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, Browns: Here’s one burning question for every AFC North team heading into 2020 - John Breech

Ravens: Can Lamar Jackson finally win a playoff game?

There’s no doubt that Lamar Jackson has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL over the past two years, but in this league, people only care about one thing, and that’s whether or not you can win in the playoffs, which Jackson hasn’t been able to do.

In two playoff games with Jackson, the Ravens have been mostly shutdown by their opponent. During the 2018 postseason, the Chargers unleashed a defense that saw them put seven defensive backs on the field, and the scheme seemed to befuddle the Ravens. In 2019, the Titans shut Jackson down for most of the first half, before he was able to explode in the second half after his team was already trailing 28-6.

At this point, it’s hard to say what the Ravens’ biggest issue is in the playoffs. Has it just been bad luck or is their unstoppable offense just much more stoppable during the postseason because your opponent has a lot more time to study everything you do? Whatever it is, the Ravens need to figure it out, because if they make the playoffs in 2020 and don’t win a game, the stigma of 0-3 will start to follow Jackson.

What Baltimore Ravens say Pernell McPhee provides in a hectic year - Aaron Kasinitz

“Guys like Pernell — he’s a guy that can set the standard,” DeCosta said. “He understands what it takes to be a professional on and off the field, in the weight room and such. Having guys like that is extremely valuable, not only because they can play for you right away, but because they can help the younger players acclimate more quickly.”

“Pernell last year — before the injury and after the injury — was an outstanding leader for younger players like Tyus [Bowser], like Jaylen,” DeCosta said.

Backup Quarterback Competition Should be Interesting - Clifton Brown

In 2020, the quarterback situation behind Jackson will be highly competitive. Griffin is entering his third season as a valued backup, McSorley continues to develop as a second-year quarterback, and the Ravens signed undrafted quarterback Tyler Huntley of Utah.

Huntley completed 73.1 percent of his passes last season for 3,092 yards with 19 touchdown and just four interceptions. He also ran for five touchdowns while averaging 7.4 yards per carry, presenting a dual threat as an accurate thrower who also had mobility.

However, once Griffin was healthy for the regular season, McSorley was only active in Week 17, and it remains to be seen if he can earn snaps on special teams or become a versatile jack-of-many-trades offensive weapon like Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints.

Carrying three quarterbacks will become more difficult if the Ravens carry four running backs. They drafted talented Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round to join Mark Ingram II, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill in their deep running back rotation.

Top 25 NFL rookies in the best position for success in 2020 - Dan Parr

18) J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens: Dobbins’ inclusion on the list might raise some eyebrows considering the Ravens still have Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill and Lamar Jackson to split carries between. Then again, Baltimore wants to run the ball down people’s throats. There’s going to be a significant workload for the former Buckeye, and no one should be surprised if he becomes the reigning AFC North champs’ most effective back in 2020 with Ingram entering his age-30 season. He’s the perfect grind-it-out runner for this offense.

PFF All-Decade Top 101: The best NFL players from the 2010s - Sam Monson

15. S ERIC WEDDLE

The best — and most consistent — safety over the past decade, Eric Weddle retired after last season after never earning a season grade as low as even average. At a position where consistency is incredibly hard to maintain, Weddle was phenomenal year after year in every facet of play. Weddle was a modern-day prototype safety who could do everything that was asked of him at an extremely high level, and he showed later in his career that he could do exactly the same thing in a new team with new requirements. Weddle had three seasons this decade that earned an overall PFF grade above 90.0.

20. S EARL THOMAS III

Few players have come to represent a prototype at a position quite like Earl Thomas, and he was arguably the single most important player in Seattle’s Legion of Boom defense. Thomas had the range to play the deep middle of the field like few other players, and he had the speed and reactions that allowed him to do it closer to the line of scrimmage than other players at that position, helping him to make far more plays than others. Thomas has three seasons in the last decade with overall PFF grades above 90.0 and one more at 87.3.