Ravens Franchise Five: Revealing the most important coach and players in team history - Jason La Canfora
Coach: John Harbaugh
Brian Billick did an amazing job of assembling coaching talent. His assistants, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, continually got poached by other organizations to lead their teams. The pipeline was beyond impressive. Billick did a masterful job with his messaging and with the media and was incredibly organized and a CEO type head coach. He led the franchise to its first Lombardi Trophy … But he was hired to construct a progressive offense as a QB guru type and the Ravens failed to develop any QBs or WRs of note throughout his tenure and won the way the Lombardi Packers did – power run game and impenetrable defense. John Harbaugh has changed the identity of his team several times already, including to cater to a 22-year old MVP QB. He also has a Lombardi, went to the playoffs his first five years, rapidly rebuilt the culture after Billick was fired and has the team primed to compete for Super Bowls for years to come. He is one of the best coaches on the planet. Period.
Quarterback: Lamar Jackson
Joe Flacco had one of the all-time greatest playoff runs in history, which was punctuated by earning the Super Bowl MVP when the Ravens captured their second title in 2012. He spent a decade in Baltimore and was a part of perennial playoff teams. But if you asked many in these parts to list the 10 best Ravens in franchise history, many if not most would not have Flacco among them. Flacco was never even on the periphery of an MVP discussion and never could come close to what Jackson did in 2019. Jackson had one of the most historically significant seasons in NFL history with a limited cast around him. He is a threat unlike anything we have seen before and has done nothing but win since taking over for Flacco midway through the 2018 season, saving the franchise by leading the 4-5 team to the playoffs. He is just scratching the surface and in a Twitter poll we did at my show, over 66 percent of respondents said they would put Jackson over Flacco on this Franchise Five. The people have spoken.
Where Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson ranks in 3 advanced metrics — and what it says about his game - Aaron Kasinitz
So after a couple dozen paragraphs that mostly praise the face of the Ravens, we’ll point out here that he did not crack the Top 10 of this list, which used expected completion percentage on passes longer than 20 yards as a deciding metric. Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes led the ranking. Jackson was nowhere to be found.
Last season, Jackson averaged 7.8 yards per pass attempt and 8.8 intended air yards per throw, which ranked ninth in the NFL. So he wasn’t afraid to throw the deep and he had occasional success with it. But he wasn’t as consistently accurate as other top quarterbacks when it came to launching those long passes.
Harbaugh alluded to that during a call with season-ticket holders last month.
After Jackson and the Ravens shattered rushing records in 2019, and the young quarterback showed creativity and poise to make plays with his arm all season, the Tennessee Titans devised a game plan to stop him in the divisional round of the playoffs. They packed the middle of the field with defenders and forced Jackson to throw deep passes to the sideline against one-on-one coverage. His performance fluctuated and the offense sputtered early in the game.
Ingram will have plenty of competition for touches in the Ravens’ backfield and could end up being surpassed by J.K. Dobbins at some point in the season, but he’s probably done enough to at least start the year atop the depth chart. His north-south running style played well in his first season in Baltimore, as he headlined the backfield of the league’s best rushing attack. Ingram averaged over 3 yards after contact per carry in 2019 and forced a missed tackle on nearly one-fifth of his carries. He wasn’t asked to do much as a receiver, but he did force an additional five missed tackles on 26 receptions. Nearly 31 years old, Ingram is probably on the downswing, but he should remain a reliable option for Greg Roman’s offense next season.