2020 NFL season in review: What went wrong, what’s next for eliminated playoff teams - Jamison Hensley
Baltimore Ravens (12-6, 2nd in AFC North
How the season finished:
A week after capturing his first postseason victory, Jackson delivered one of his most frustrating performances, failing to produce a touchdown for the first time in 39 straight games (which was the longest streak in the NFL). The last time Baltimore advanced to the AFC Championship Game was 2012, when Joe Flacco delivered the Mile High Miracle.
The Ravens then took a significant step this postseason, from quarterback Lamar Jackson winning his first career playoff game to Baltimore exacting revenge on the Tennessee Titans from last year’s playoff loss. Now, the question that will linger over Jackson and the Ravens is this: Can a perennial Super Bowl contender finally get to the Super Bowl?
Biggest offseason question: Will the Ravens decide to acquire a No. 1 wide receiver for Jackson? A proven playmaker on the outside is the missing piece for an offense that ranked No. 1 in rushing but No. 31 in passing. Last offseason, the Arizona Cardinals traded for DeAndre Hopkins to give QB Kyler Murray an elite receiver, and the Buffalo Bills acquired Stefon Diggs for Josh Allen. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Ravens get just as aggressive in bringing in a top target for Jackson, or if they will put their faith in Marquise Brown, who finished the season strong and totaled 109 yards receiving in the wild-card win in Tennessee.
Ravens GM Eric DeCosta: Improving passing game is ‘not all about getting the No. 1 receiver’ - Kevin Patra
The Baltimore Ravens aren’t spending the offseason worried about upgrading their wide receivers corps as much as those outside the building are fretting over the state of the passing game in the Charm City.
Echoing John Harbaugh’s comments last week, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta noted his club is a run-first squad, and there are other ways to buffer the passing attack rather than stockpiling receivers.
“It’s not all about getting the No. 1 receiver that everybody likes to talk about,” DeCosta said. “We would certainly look at that. We would try to upgrade at every single position on this football team this offseason if we can, based on the parameters of what we have to work with draft pick-wise, money-wise and all the other challenges associated with building a football team.”
DeCosta dismissed the perceived notion that top-shelf receivers wouldn’t want to join Baltimore because the opportunities would be fewer in a run-first offense.
“I’ve never had a player yet say to me, I don’t want to come play for the Baltimore Ravens because you don’t throw the ball,” he said. “It hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it will...I’ve never heard, well, you don’t throw the ball, I’m not going there. There’s always an exception, but I haven’t heard it yet.”
“We want to have the best offensive line we can,” DeCosta said. “Orlando had a great year this year. Losing Ronnie Stanley was definitely a tough deal for the offensive line to handle. I think Orlando did a great job and I think the offensive line in general really battled versus some adversity this year.
“We are a tight end-centric offense. Mark Andrews, in my opinion, is one of the better tight ends in the entire NFL. He’s a Pro Bowl tight end in my opinion. So we would be foolish to not want to try and keep him. Those discussions will start up at some point. Hopefully we can make progress and get some deals done.”
2020 Regular season PFF grade: 29.8, 89th out of 90 qualifying linebackers
Looking at where most of his downgrades on the season came, they fall into two categories for the most part. The first consisted of plays where he got caught out of position, either finding himself blocked out of his gap in the run game or losing a receiver in zone coverage.
The other area is missed tackles. Queen’s 22 missed tackles this season were tied for the most in the NFL with Houston’s Zach Cunningham. The caveat there is that athletic linebackers such as Queen are always going to put themselves in a position to make more tackles — and attempt more difficult tackles — than lesser athletes. That said, 22 is still too many.
With Queen, you’re banking on his play catching up to his athletic ability, a similar situation to what we’ve seen early in Devin White’s career. There is reason to expect things to start to trend in that direction in 2021 after a rough first year.
2021 NFL Mock Draft: New York Jets get QB Zach Wilson at No. 2, Cincinnati Bengals land WR Ja’Marr Chase - Steve Palazzolo
27. BALTIMORE RAVENS: WR RONDALE MOORE, PURDUE
Look for the Ravens to add more weapons to their passing attack, and Moore is just what they need to put defensive coordinators in a bind. Moore has the speed and after-the-catch skills to win on the outside or in the slot, and his presence on the field combined with QB Lamar Jackson and Baltimore’s rushing attack will add even more uncertainty for opposing defenses. Moore forced 37 missed tackles after the catch in 2018, most by a Power 5 receiver since 2014.