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Ravens News 8/3: Red-zone efficiency and more

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Linebacker Ray Lewis of the Balitmore Ravens holds Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images

Ranking the best red-zone offenses and defenses in 2019: Ravens dominate on offense, Broncos lead the way on defense - Ben Linsey

Least surprising: Baltimore Ravens

EPA per play outside red zone: 0.13 (1st)

The most efficient offense overall in the NFL was also the most efficient red-zone offense in the league. While you might be inclined to point to the run game as the big reason why, the Ravens’ rushing attack was actually rather pedestrian inside the red zone, ranking just 17th in EPA per run play inside the 20-yard line. In comparison, they were the only team to generate a positive EPA per run play outside the red zone in 2019 (0.07).

Rather, their success in the red zone came from the best red-zone passing attack in the NFL. The Ravens averaged 0.53 EPA per pass play inside the 20-yard line, over two-tenths of a point higher than any other offense. Whether it was dropping dimes to Mark Andrews down the seam or making magic happen as a scrambler

Lamar Jackson did enough to rank third among all quarterbacks in red-zone PFF grade. Shrinking the field doesn’t make it any easier to stop the unique threat that he poses.

Matt Skura Starting Training Camp on Active PUP List - Ryan Mink

It seems Skura won’t be out for long, even though he’s not ready for full action at the start of camp. The Ravens traditionally take a cautious approach to players returning from injuries to ease them back in.

“I’m optimistic about Matt, I really am. That’s a big plus for us,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said last week. “We’ll be careful and we’ll see how he looks and feels. I know he’s worked really, really hard to be ready.”

50 Words or Less - John Eisenberg

I don’t know why Gus Edwards waited until this week to sign his exclusive-rights tender, as he had few options. But I do know he’ll compete with J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill for the primary backup running back role behind starter Mark Ingram. Edge to productive incumbent Gus going in.

Even though Edwards led the Ravens in rushing as an undrafted rookie in 2018 and gained 711 yards as a backup last season, the front office keeps bringing in new backs (Ingram and Hill in 2019, Dobbins in 2020). Edwards has responded well to a lot of challenges so far.

Rookie Tyre Phillips’ job description may well change because veteran tackle Andre Smith opted out of the 2020 season. Phillips is competing to start at guard but is also probably the most natural candidate to replace an injured tackle. My guess is the team adds a veteran tackle for insurance.

Every NFL franchise’s best team of the Super Bowl era: One of Cowboys’ ‘90s teams cracks all-time list - Bryan DeArdo

Baltimore Ravens: 2000*

16-4 overall record

Won franchise’s first Super Bowl title

Allowed 10.3 points per game, the fewest in NFL history during a 16-game season

The Ravens’ 2012 championship team may have been a more balanced unit, but the utter dominance of Baltimore’s 2000 defense gives them the nod as the franchise’s greatest team. That season, Baltimore’s defense, led by Ray Lewis and Hall of Fame safety Rod Woodson, recorded four shutouts during the regular season before allowing a total of 23 points in four postseason games. In Super Bowl XXXV, the Ravens’ defense shut out the Giants’ offense while holding New York to just 152 total yards.

Baltimore’s 2000 squad also featured the league’s best returner in Jermaine Lewis, whose 84-yard kickoff return for a score in Super Bowl XXXV ended any hope of a Giants comeback. The Ravens’ offense featured a punishing running game, led by Jamal Lewis and Priest Holmes. Baltimore’s offense also included Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, whose 96-yard score spearheaded the Ravens’ 16-3 win over Oakland in the AFC Championship Game.