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Ravens News 5/28: Pass-first Potential and more

NFL: Baltimore Ravens OTA Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

After offseason improvements, could the Ravens really turn into a pass-first offense? - Jonas Shaffer

According to Sports Info Solutions data, if you were to move the Ravens’ 49 scrambles over to their passing column, remove their 13 kneel-downs from their running column and imagine all 32 sacks as pass attempts, the margin narrows considerably.

Add the 23 pass attempts and scrambles nullified by penalties, compared to the nine designed runs taken off the books, and unofficially, 510 Ravens plays had started off as passes — and just 502 as runs.

“There are times when people, from a numerical standpoint, are just going to dare you to throw it and just commit more to defend the run than you can possibly hope to have sustained success against,” Roman said. “That’s where we really want to take a big step this year, and I think that’s really going to be key to us taking a big step offensively.”

Publicly, the Ravens’ quarterback and their general manager have been somewhat at odds in their visions for the offense, though never acrimoniously so. Jackson is maybe the NFL’s greatest running quarterback ever, but he’s long hoped for a more Tom Brady-esque run-pass ratio. Before the 2019 season, Jackson said he was hoping for “probably 30 passes a game”; he finished with 26.7, then dropped to 25.1 last year.

Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown on Ravens offensive balance: ‘We’re going to get it right’ - Grant Gordon

With the Ravens having selected Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman in the first round and signed Sammy Watkins in free agency, Brown is confident Baltimore will get things right as it relates to the Lamar Jackson-led offense becoming a dual threat.

“I let the outside be the outside when they talk,” Brown said via the team website’s John Eisenberg. “We’re the Ravens. If it’s the scheme, if it’s the players, that’s on us. We’re going to get it right. That’s why we’re out here now, to get it right.”

“We’ve been gelling good so far,” Brown said. “We’re just going to try to complement each other the best we can, go out here and win a Super Bowl.”

“Our expectation is to score a lot of points,” Brown said. “However we do that, with the least amount of passing attempts or with the most. We want to score as many points as we possibly can.

Lamar Jackson addresses future plus OTA observations: Ravens’ much-maligned WR shines, DL getting thin - Jeff Zrebiec

The other offensive standout was tight end Eli Wolf. He again showed good hands and the ability to make contested catches. As I said during the rookie minicamp, he’s looking more and more like a tight end rather than a wide receiver playing tight end. I also got my first glimpse of trade acquisition Josh Oliver and he looked the part athletically. It will be interesting to see if he can stay healthy and improve throughout the summer.

By the end of practice, the only three interior defensive linemen the Ravens had left were second-year players Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washingtonand Aaron Crawford. With Kelly potentially headed for injury waivers, the Ravens have another roster spot to add a defensive lineman and they’ll likely need to. They won’t want to give Campbell, Wolfe and Williams a ton of reps in training camp and snaps in the preseason anyway, so they’ll need more bodies up front. Washington and Crawford, though, looked like they worked hard on their bodies this offseason. It wouldn’t surprise me if Crawford pushes Ellis for a roster spot this summer.

3 Best Justin Houston Free Agent Landing Spots - Benjamin Solak

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Speaking of competing AFC teams, if Houston instead really wants to stick it to his old team and sign with its top contender in the conference, there’s a spot for him in Baltimore.

The Ravens love using a rotation of rushers on Don Martindale. Last season, Matt Judon, Pernell McPhee, and Tyus Bowser all took between 52 to 42% of the snaps; they were in line for a similar rotation between Judon, McPhee, Jaylon Ferguson, and Tim Williams in 2019 before McPhee and Williams both went down with injuries early in the season.

Houston has benefitted from a rotation in Indianapolis, which has helped him stay healthy in his advanced football age. He doesn’t offer the coverage drop versatility the Ravens prefer from their EDGEs, but he’s a better pass rusher than anyone currently on the roster. Even if the Ravens keep him as a third-down rush expert, he can win the one-on-one reps created by the Ravens’ aggressive and duplicitous fronts. If Houston is ring-hunting and Kansas City is off the table, Baltimore is the ideal landing spot.

NFL Head Coach Rankings (2021) - Mike Tagliere

5. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens)I give Harbaugh a ton of credit for what he’s done in the NFL. His career record of 129 wins and 79 losses while having Joe Flacco as his starting quarterback for 10-plus years is impressive. Now that he has a much more competent and versatile quarterback under center in Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have gone 25-7 the last two years in a tough division. Back a few years ago, there were whispers about the Ravens letting him go. That would’ve been comical.

Ranking 2021 NFL divisions from first to last: NFC West loaded with playoff contenders, AFC South not so much - Jason La Canfora

2. AFC North

I am a Browns believer. Love the upgrades to the defense and the offense can beat you in a multitude of ways. If OBJ comes back and is a game-breaker, great. If not, they can still win the division. Myles Garrett will be Defensive MVP. For all the talk about how tough Baltimore’s schedule is, I still see the Ravens winning around 11 games and I think they make some gains in the passing attack. The Steelers are in decline but Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season and they could still mess around and win 8 or 9 games. The Bengals were far more competitive with Joe Burrow under center — and if they can keep him upright they will be pretty interesting to watch. I still seem them picking in the top 10 of the draft, but have the ability to knock off a quality team or two along the way. They have two teams who could make a legit Super Bowl case. That carries the day for the AFC North.