What’s the next step for Lamar Jackson after a unanimous NFL MVP season?
This year, there needs to be two areas of focus for Jackson: more efficient downfield passing and more involvement of the wide receivers. Last season, Jackson ranked 30th in completing 37.7% of his deep throws (passes that traveled at least 10 yards in the air) outside the numbers. He also relied less on his wide receivers (104 completions) than any other quarterback in the league, preferring to target his tight ends. Ravens coaches have talked this offseason about wanting Jackson to exploit defenses by throwing to different parts of the field.
Is it Super Bowl or bust for the Ravens this season?
If Jackson continues to dazzle the league, the Ravens are going to have to reward him with a record-setting deal at some point.
The Ravens understand the difficulties of managing the cap when the quarterback takes up a huge chunk of it. Baltimore only reached the postseason twice in the six seasons after making Joe Flacco the highest-paid player in the NFL.
It’s certainly not all or nothing this season, but the clock is certainly ticking for the Ravens.
Baltimore Ravens · Age 24
Andrews enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign with 64 catches, 852 receiving yards and 10 TDs as the leading pass-catcher on the league’s top scoring offense. He has size (6-5, 256 pounds) and stunning route-running ability, while being a better-than-average blocker — which bodes well for the Ravens’ No. 1 rushing attack. Look for Andrews to take the next step as the Ravens’ starting tight end, with Hayden Hurst now down in Atlanta.
Projected roles for Ravens 10 rookie draft selections this season - Todd Karpovich
Round 3 (106): Tyre Phillips, OL, Mississippi State
At -foot-5 and 331 pounds, Phillips has the potential to put himself in a position to get reps as a rookie. He’ll make the switch from tackle to guard and is he is expected to compete for a starting role. His versatility will also provide valuable depth.
Round 6 (201): James Proche, WR, SMU
Proche is expected push for playing time at wide receiver and on special teams as a kick returner. He will battle the veteran De’Anthony Thomas for the top job as a kick returner. Last season, Proche led the Mustangs with 17 punt returns for 164 yards. Thomas, who was signed to the Ravens’ 53-man roster in Week 10, returned 13 punts for 93 yards (7.2 avg.) and posted 10 kickoff returns for 166 yards (16.6 avg.) in eight games.
Training Camp Breakdown: Outside Linebacker - Clifton Brown
The coaches want to see more consistency and more diversity in Ferguson’s pass-rushing techniques. Baltimore doesn’t want to overwork the 31-year-old McPhee, but knows he can be a valuable starter if needed.
Under the Radar
If Bowser takes another step forward as a pass rusher, Baltimore’s defense could make the pocket extremely uncomfortable for opposing quarterbacks. The Ravens also inked some talented undrafted outside linebackers after not using pick at the position. One could make the roster if they flash in training camp.
Veterans who could be traded from all 32 NFL teams - Andrew Erickson
Edwards rushed for 5.3 yards per carry and 3.4 yards after contact per carry in 2019, which ranked second and seventh, respectively, among running backs with at least 100 carries in 2019. He has been nothing but an efficient rusher in his two years with Baltimore, earning PFF’s 13th-highest grade as a rusher (83.4) among running backs with at least 200 carries.
In his one start against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019, Edwards rushed for 130 yards on 21 carries for an average of 6.2 yards per carry and 5.6 yards per carry after contact.
Entering the 2020 season, Edwards could potentially be the odd man out in a running back room that includes starter Mark Ingram II, rookie J.K. Dobbins and second-year player Justice Hill. Edwards adds zero value in the passing game, with just nine receptions in his two-year career, so the Ravens could easily decide to move on from him in favor of getting Dobbins more involved.