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Ravens News 10/28: Bye-Week Checklist and more

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NFL: OCT 11 Colts at Ravens Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With position change, Ravens ILB Patrick Queen finds his footing — and maybe charts a new path - Jonas Shaffer

“I think the Will, I just get a little more time just to do what I do,” Queen said Tuesday. “I’ll just play fast there now, so it’s really no difference from a physical standpoint. It’s a little bit easier mentally, but it’s still at the end of the day a Ravens defense, so we’ve got to bring it every day, no matter if you’re at Mike, Will, coming from deep, coming from the front. So we’ve just got to all just do our job. I’ve got to do my job, most of all because it all starts with me.”

First-year inside linebackers Rob Ryan said Tuesday that Queen’s position change could inform the Ravens’ thinking about where he fits best long term. He said the game is “already slowing down” for Queen.

“Look, you’ve got to find spots,” he said. “That’s one thing you do. Once you get to a place, you’ve got to see the personnel you have, find their best spots, and this young guy’s going to have a big career in front of him. So I know everybody wants to see him be Ray Lewis right away, but I mean, hell, Ray Lewis wasn’t Ray Lewis when he first got here. So things take time. …

“I mean, obviously, we want him to be a great tackler and a more consistent tackler. And that’s something that he needs to improve on. But his coverage is much better. We see it progressing each week. He has a better understanding of everything we’re looking for. And again, utilizing his abilities going forward is something that we’re going to do.”

Bye-Week Checklist: 3 Things Going Well, 3 Things to Fix - Ryan Mink

Perimeter passing game

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown’s route-running has been terrific, as well as the play of rookie Rashod Bateman, Sammy Watkins (before his injury), Devin Duvernay and James Proche II. Brown ranks seventh in the NFL in receiving yards.

Jackson’s completion percentage overall is about the same as last season, but his average depth of target is the highest of any starting quarterback in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus, and is fourth among quarterbacks who have played seven games in yards gained per passing attempt.

Considering this was supposedly the key to the Ravens unlocking a deeper playoff run, the elevated passing game of Jackson and his weapons is a huge development moving forward.

Pass protection

When Jackson has had time to throw this season, he’s been lights out. It’s been the games when opponents have been able to pressure him – Raiders and Bengals – when the Ravens have lost. There are many factors that go into pressure allowed, and it’s not all just on the offensive line, but Baltimore needs to be more consistent with giving Jackson time and space to throw, especially if the Ravens continue to trend more toward passing than running as they have so far this season.

According to PFF’s pass blocking efficiency stat, the Ravens rank 24th in the league. Ronnie Stanley’s decision to undergo season-ending ankle surgery won’t make this any easier moving forward, nor will the latest ankle injury to right tackle Patrick Mekari. Perhaps tight end Nick Boyle’s return can help, but Baltimore needs to work out a solution to keep Jackson feeling comfortable and confident in the pocket.

Ravens unofficial midseason report: Grading each position group and player-by-player analysis - Jeff Zrebiec

Defensive line

Grade: C+

It’s not that this group has played poorly. It contained the run in most games and that’s the No. 1 objective. There just haven’t been enough splash plays and getting pressure on the quarterback has been problematic. Calais Campbelldoesn’t have gaudy stats, but he’s played well. The Ravens could just use a little more production and the occasional big play from somebody else. There have been too many instances when Ravens defensive linemen have been on the ground or pushed backward. The pending return of Derek Wolfe should help. The Ravens still need more from Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike.

Calais Campbell: The 35-year-old has played with plenty of juice, registering a half-sack, seven quarterback hits, four tackles for loss and blocking a key kick in the comeback win against Indianapolis. He’s being leaned on for probably too many snaps, but his form has made it tough for the Ravens to take him off the field.

Brandon Williams: In his ninth season, Williams is still a presence against the run. He just hasn’t been as stout as he’s been in the past and last week’s Bengalsgame was one of the worst games of his career.

Justin Madubuike: Madubuike makes a play or two every game that flashes his potential. The next step for the 2020 third-round pick is to play with more consistency. The Ravens believe he’s capable of more than what he’s shown.

Trades contending NFL teams should make: Odell Beckham Jr. to Packers, Myles Jack reunites with ex-teammate - Patrik Walker

Ravens (5-2)

Acquire: Marlon Mack, RB - Colts

Speaking of the Ravens, there’s only so much former league MVP Lamar Jackson can do. The team has been ravaged by injuries and Jackson still has them sitting at 5-2, a nod to just how lethal he is at the quarterback position. There needs to be more balance in Baltimore, though, which is to say there has to be someone else opposing defenses have to scheme for. Mack and the Colts are ready to part ways, and the Ravens are desperately in need of a young, talented halfback. If the Colts are willing to deal within the conference, they should answer the Ravens call, assuming the phone rings.

2022 NFL Free Agency Primer: Top players at every position - Brad Spielberger

SAFETY

Best available

Marcus Williams

Jessie Bates III

Tyrann Mathieu

Marcus Maye

Kareem Jackson

For the second year in a row, there are a lot of strong options at safety. The market did not develop much at all last offseason, but perhaps Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams’ market-setting $17.5 million per year payday forces teams to pay up now before the market expands even further.

For the second offseason in a row, New York Jets safety Marcus Maye desperately wants out of the Big Apple, per his agent, so it’s not likely he’ll receive a second franchise tag and remain off the market.

Class strength rating: 7/10