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Ravens News 6/1: Making defenses pay and more

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Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

John Harbaugh Talks About Next Step for Lamar Jackson and More - Clifton Brown

Head Coach John Harbaugh wants the Ravens to capitalize on more deep passes next season, particularly when opponents crowd the line of scrimmage.

The Ravens still plan to run the football better than anyone else in the NFL. But when their receivers are in single coverage and Lamar Jackson takes shots downfield, the Ravens need to hit on big plays more often.

“Those corners are going to be one-on-one and those safeties are going to be one-on-one against receivers, especially on downfield throws, and we got to make them pay for it,” Harbaugh said during a Thursday conference call with PSL owners. “I really do believe that’s the next step for this offense from an execution standpoint. I really do believe Lamar is going to take the next step and our receivers are going to take the next step.”

“We should have more guys open and we should have bigger plays and we should create more opportunities in the passing game because of that run game,” Harbaugh said.

Could Bradley Bozeman return to center for Baltimore Ravens? - Mark Inabinett

Whatever happens, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, Bozeman will remain in the starting lineup.

“We can move guys around,” Harbaugh said on Thursday. “We have Boze, who can play center. There’s just a lot of ways we can do it. We’re going to find out about the first two or three weeks of training camp what looks the best and then let them fight it out. Let them compete.

“We’ll have our best five guys. I do know the two tackles, Bozeman’s going to start.”

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta was the first to mention publicly that Bozeman could wind up at center in 2020 when discussing Skura’s status earlier this month.

“We’re fortunate that we’ve got three guys who can snap and compete at that spot,” DeCosta said. “We feel like we’ve got good depth there, and I think we’re in a good spot in terms of the guards and the centers and the combination of guys that could play both spots.”

Bozeman served as Alabama’s starting center in 2016 and 2017, with the Tide winning the CFP national championship in the latter season.

Baker Mayfield will bounce back; plus, five most improved units - Bucky Brooks

TOP 5 MOST IMPROVED UNITS: Ravens restock

2. Baltimore Ravens defensive line: After receiving a beatdown at the hands of the rugged Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, the Ravens upgraded their defensive line with the additions of Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe and third-round pick Justin Madubuike. The additional beef along the line will help the Ravens slow down punishing rushing attacks while adding more pop to the pass rush. Campbell, in particular, gives the unit an interior pass-rushing presence that should enable Matt Judon to get more one-on-one opportunities to hunt the quarterback on obvious passing downs.

Ranking the Ravens’ five likeliest rookies to make an impact in 2020 - Andrew Gillis

2. Devin Duvernay

Duvernay will join a Ravens receiving corps in need of a second wide receiver to prove himself. With Mark Andrews at tight end and Marquise Brown as the team’s two clear top options in the receiving game, there is still an opening for a third option to emerge from the group. The speedster from Texas could be it.

With 4.39 40-yard dash speed, Duvernay will immediately be one of the fastest players not only on the offense, but on the team. He posted 106 catches last season for 1,386 yards at Texas, but his toughness was what stood out to the Ravens.

If he’s able to prove his worth early on, he could find himself as the team’s third option in the receiving game.

4. J.K. Dobbins

Dobbins has perhaps the highest ceiling on this list, and the floor is higher than perhaps anyone but Queen for his rookie year. The problem is, the ceiling involves some exceptions.

He’ll join a crowded backfield with Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, not to mention that his new quarterback is the league’s best running quarterback as well.

Dobbins might end up having the greatest long-term impact on this list, but the odds of him taking on a major role in the offense — while he’s essentially guaranteed at least some kind of role in 2020 — would require him stepping up as the clear No. 1 running back, or a host of injuries.