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Ravens News 12/17: Failing Offense and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

This Ravens Offense Is Failing Lamar Jackson. What Does Baltimore Need to Fix It? - Steven Ruiz

Roman still has no answers for these overly aggressive defenses. One solution could be a fully fleshed-out passing game. But as we covered earlier, that would require Roman to strip down his expansive run game, which would be like asking Nic Cage to stop overacting. It’s literally the only thing he’s good for at this point.

Another solution that was thrown around late last year would be to hire a pass game coordinator. The only problem is … the Ravens already had one! It was David Culley, who left to coach the Texans this past offseason. Keith Williams was brought in to replace him, but little has changed. We’re still seeing the same issues that have plagued this passing game for three years now: poor spacing, timing, and a lack of coverage-based adjustments built into play designs. As Football Outsiders’ Derrik Klassen recently observed, Baltimore’s wideouts just seem to amble in the direction of zone defenders with no option to adjust their routes to find open space.

Baltimore has been praised for its belief in Lamar and the lengths it’s gone to in order to build a support system around him. But if they really believed in him as a quarterback, they would have put him in a passing game fit for the NFL from Day 1. Sure, this current setup has led to some good results, but that has more to do with Lamar’s brilliance than Roman’s scheme—and those results have turned bad of late. That might be the sign John Harbaugh needs to finally overhaul the offense. And if that’s the case, this step back in 2021 could allow the Ravens—and Lamar—to take some massive steps forward in the near future.

WR Rashod Bateman is ready to shine. The Ravens need him to. - Mike Preston

“As an offense, we know we’ve got to put up points,” said Bateman, who has 32 catches for 404 yards in eight games this season. “Every offense, that’s your job — is to put up points. We’ve just got to come out here on this field, execute it, take it over on Sundays and do it. So, hopefully we can do that and come out on top Sunday.”

Marquise Brown has performed well at times, and his speed in the slot always makes him a vertical threat. But in games where defensive backs have delivered crunching tackles, the 5-foot-9 and 180-pound Brown can disappear.

That hasn’t happened to Bateman. He is thick enough to use his body as a shield between a defender and the ball, fast enough to run around or through a lot of cornerbacks and physical enough to fight off defenders while going for a jump ball.

A lot of teams have been blitzing the Ravens lately, which is the ideal time for those go-routes or straight “fly” patterns.

“The way I look at it is you’re either selfish or you’re not selfish,” said Bateman. “At the end of the day, it’s not about me, it’s not about my success, it’s not about what I’m doing and my stat line. It’s about what am I doing to help this team win? At the end of the day, that’s what matters.”

Chris Westry Moves Into Critical Role for Ravens at Cornerback - Todd Karpovich

Chris Westry has gone from signing a Reserve/Future contract with the Ravens to starting at cornerback.

He will have to play a critical role in Week 15 when Baltimore hosts the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“For me, personally, it means the world. It just goes to show all the hard work and dedication you put forth towards the game,” Westry said. “[For it] to come to fruition, it just means a lot, and it’s a testament to Coach ‘Harbs’ [head coach John Harbaugh], Coach Chris [pass game coordinator/secondary coach Chris Hewitt], Coach ‘Wink’ [defensive coordinator Don Martindale]. [It’s] just the ‘Raven’ way – how to mold and develop a player.”

Westry got off to a rough start against the Browns last week and was flagged for pass interference and illegal contact. However, he finished the game strongly and did not make any more mistakes.

“That’s just the life of a DB [defensive back] – the next-play mentality. You’ve got to just keep going,” Westry said. “The game, it’s a long game, so you can’t just sit there and mope on one play; you’ve got the rest of the game to play.”

Week 15 NFL game picks: Chargers edge Chiefs on Thursday Night Football; Packers nip Ravens - Gregg Rosenthal

Green Bay Packers 29, Baltimore Ravens 28

Rolling with the Packers every week has been a recent boon to my ATS record above. The market has finally caught up to the team’s complete excellence, just as the floor dropped out of the Ravens. As recently as a month ago, Baltimore would have been favored by at least a field goal in this game. I like the Ravens to cover and possibly win this home game if Lamar Jackson plays. I have seen too many faulty Baltimore teams play their best just when all hope looks lost, often late in the season. The matchups on the outside are problematic for this Ravens secondary, but if Lamar plays, I think Joe and Troy are going to have a fun one.

NFL picks against the spread - Sheil Kapadia

Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens (+5.5)

It’s unclear as of this writing whether Lamar Jackson (ankle) will play in this game. If not, the Ravens will roll with Tyler Huntley.

Aaron Rodgers has played his best football of the season over the past three weeks. Rodgers and Davante Adams against this banged-up Ravens secondary could be a nightmare for Baltimore. But one area where the Ravens should have an edge is special teams. Baltimore has the best special teams unit in the NFL, while the Packers are 32nd.

If Jackson gets ruled out and the line changes significantly, we’ll update the pick. For now, I’m rolling with John Harbaugh’s team as home underdogs in an ugly game.

The pick: Ravens (+5.5)