To their credit, the Ravens have won plenty of games in this league, going 30-7 in the regular season with Jackson as the starting quarterback the past three seasons, all of which included postseason berths.
Led by the singularly-talented Jackson, the Ravens have become the most potent rushing attack in the league. Two years ago, the Ravens set the single-season NFL rushing record with 3,296 yards, and they led the league again this past year with 3,071 — the third-highest total ever.
“They keep you guessing,” Baldinger said. “There’s a lot of misdirection, there’s a lot of disguise. You really don’t know who has the ball. I mean, it’s three-card Monte back there some days.”
You don’t accomplish that without solid offensive line play.
Yet for all that success, here’s a fact the Ravens can’t run from: They have suffered three straight early postseason exits in which they were decisively beaten up front.
Once free agency began, DeCosta quickly signed Zeitler, a nine-year veteran who figures to start at right guard.
“If you’re Kevin Zeitler, it’s a dream job” coming to Baltimore, Baldinger said. “You get to run-block and really play to your strengths. … I thought the move for Zeitler was awesome.”
“You get a lot of double-teams, you get a lot of smash-mouth football,” Baldinger continued. “It’s a fun offense to play in if you’re an offensive lineman.”
NFL Top 100 for 2021: Pro Football Network’s NFL player rankings - Dalton Miller
53) Ronnie Stanley, OT, Baltimore Ravens
Ronnie Stanley meets a similar fate to Prescott, dropping spots in the rankings from 2020 due to a season-ending ankle injury. Stanley didn’t give up a sack while healthy in 2020 on 176 pass-blocking reps. He also didn’t allow any in 2019 on 470 such reps. That seems like the ideal result for a franchise left tackle.
Stanley is just another technically proficient left tackle hailing from Notre Dame. He, like most Fighting Irish linemen, isn’t the most physically imposing blocker. Instead, Stanley possesses an elite strike in pass protection and does well to mix up his pass sets so defenders cannot set him up.
The 12 Teams That Could Win Super Bowl LVI - Conor Orr
10. Baltimore Ravens
Last year’s finish: 11–5, wild card, lost to Bills in divisional round
Why they can win it all in 2021: Having a gifted playmaker like Lamar Jackson ensures you’ll be in the mix regardless of how circumstances fall around him. Last season was a disappointment, largely a reflection of some financial decisions the Ravens probably wish they could have back, as well as some critical roster happenings out of their control. The additions of two capable wide receivers into the scheme should be enough to bolster an offense that found itself susceptible to pressure (Baltimore was the 16th-most pressured team in football last year), given the team’s tendency to run the ball. Jackson needs to change his heat map in order to be truly effective beyond what the scheme is providing, and bringing in both Sammy Watkins and Rashod Bateman will be a critical step in that direction. The Ravens are undoubtedly trying to stretch the field more this year, which brings us to a fascinating evaluation period for Jackson, who has already shown us so much.
Pigskin Principia - Sean Clement
There is a great debate in the football world over which manner of analysis best captures performance and allows teams to exploit key edges in their pursuit of victory. At the heart of the issue are strong disagreements between those analyzing football traditionally via tape and those using modern analytical methods.
As Lamar Jackson took the league by storm in 2019, the rules and preconceptions about reliance on quarterback rushing were turned on their head. As more spread offense concepts work their way from college to the NFL, and mobile quarterbacks such as Jackson and Josh Allen find success, the rules shift under our feet a bit. It’s not that data couldn’t tell us quarterback rushing wasn’t valuable before (going all the way back to Fran Tarkenton), but extrapolation from one style or archetype to another is dangerous, and anyone comparing Jackson’s skill set to Cam Newton’s would rightly be strongly questioned if not flatly ignored. Paradigm shifts within the game are often the result of coaching vision in the face of opposition, yet that same coaching vision can lead a team to languish behind antiquated ideas and disproven theories. Additionally, there is no global optimum to solve for. One cannot simply draft a Patrick Mahomes every year. The trends are mutable, the extrapolation is perilous, and conventional football wisdom can produce explanations which fail simple scrutiny.
Non-QB NFL Spending - Jason Fitzgerald
Of the cheaper QB rooms the Ravens stand out. Now if we look just at the next two years their QB room is not that cheap since Lamar Jackson has a big cap number in 2022 and is in line for a massive extension on top of that. This is probably the right call for the long term but I think its fair to wonder why they are not approaching things like Buffalo.
The young QB window is basically 3 years max with the first year coming in the second year of their career. Why not bet strong on a young player now rather than waiting until you see it for real in year 2? Teams should be proactive in taking advantage of these windows not reactive and missing out. I’d hate to be the team that has a QB take off in year 2, lose in the WC round, and debate about how different it would be if we added two more players. Meanwhile in the back of your mind the next year is saving up for an extension and you miss the window entirely.