NFL All-Analytics Team: Lamar Jackson, Stephon Gilmore stand out - Cynthia Frelund
The NFL’s reigning MVP was my favorite kind of analytics success story — it resulted from the blend of Jackson’s exceptional skill set with the right play-calling and a supporting cast tailored to make the most of his attributes. One example of this is that Jackson threw for 11 touchdowns compared with zero interceptions on play-action passes in 2019 (the best such TD-to-INT ratio in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats). Further, he had 24 touchdown passes (against two interceptions) vs. the blitz, 10 more such TD tosses than any other quarterback, per NGS.
Campbell’s listed with his current team above (Baltimore), but in 2019, he was one of the few bright spots on the 6-10 Jags. PFF rated Campbell as its third-best interior defender in 2019 (among those with a minimum of 300 snaps), as measured by their grading system. My win-contribution model rated him second-best. The balance in his game — he ranked third in yards-per-rush allowed in his space (3 feet on either side, all along a rusher’s path), and he entered the opposing quarterback’s 5-foot halo at the second-highest rate — created the net impact that Campbell was able to limit opposing offenses at the second-most-efficient rate.
As such, defenses need extra run defenders to remain gap sound against the Ravens, and those extra run defenders have to be pulled from the passing game. While many defenses would like to have three defenders over two potential receivers—think zone coverage or safety help in man coverage—they may be forced to go two-over-two to get that extra player in the running game, instead.
And as the defense floods the box to suffocate running lanes, the Ravens want to flood the deep areas of the field, putting athletes in one-on-one situations with tons of space to truly stretch the defense to its limit. This offensive philosophy is reflected in the weapons the Ravens have acquired over the last two drafts.
The room for improvement in deep accuracy is a bit skint, though it’s still there. Where there is room for improvement is in Jackson’s willingness to take deep shots. Jackson only attempted throws with at least 20 air yards on 15% of his passes, just a small tick over the NFL average of 13% despite the favorable coverages he faced and dangerous weapons he was offered to attack deep. In my 2018 Contextualized Quarterbacking charting, Jackson graded out as the passer with the best placement on throws 20-plus yards down the field but was again average in his target share of deep passes (17.6%).
Marquise Brown was a speed demon while at Oklahoma and the Baltimore Ravens wanted to capitalize on that ability. Brown was the No. 25 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and was productive when healthy.
Brown played in 14 games with 11 starts but was dealing with nagging injuries that prevented him from really exploding over the top. Despite an up and down campaign in 2019, Brown is ready for 2020.
Pro Football Focus believes Brown, with a year under his belt, can thrive in the same Baltimore Ravens system with Lamar Jackson throwing him the ball.
“I’m going with Marquise Brown,” PFF said regarding breakout stars in 2020. “He played a lot of last season injured but good things happened when Lamar Jackson threw him the ball. 134.4 passer rating when targeted, led all wide receivers with 15 or more targets last season. I think him coming back healthy and the Ravens didn’t really add anybody to compete with him for that number one wide receive spot. In a run heavy offense, I still think he puts up big numbers.”
Brown finished last season with 46 catches for 584 yards, seven touchdowns and an average of 12.7 yards per catch. In the playoffs, Brown went off against the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional round. He led both teams with seven catches for 126 yards.
Family Comes First for Ravens Rookie Malik Harrison - Todd Karpovich
“One of the reasons why I really stayed home is because of my dad. He owns his own flooring business in Columbus,” Harrison said. “He has a lot of contracts in Columbus, so he wasn’t able to – if I go hours away – he wasn’t able to just be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to take this weekend off and go see my son’s game.’
“So, he was able to go to work on Saturday and bring his clothes with him and change in the car. Then right after work, he was able to come to the games.”
Harrison’s parents, Donetta and Charles Harrison, will not have to travel a bit farther to watch their son play for Baltimore.
Harrison ranked third in ProFootballFocus.com’s run-stop percentage, a metric that essentially measures impact tackles. Only Andy Katzenmoyer (23 in 1996), Ryan Shazier (17 in 2012 and 22.5 in 2013) and Matt Wilhelm (19.5 in 2002) had more tackles for a loss from the linebacker position than Harrison in 2019.