Would you believe Jackson, not Burrow, was the most pressured quarterback in the AFC North last season?
Jackson finished with a 37.1 percent pressure rate on dropbacks in 2021, which was the 11th-highest among the 42 qualified passers. He also absorbed 38 sacks in only 12 games. And last season’s pressure rate nearly mirrored two of his other three seasons: 37.3 percent in 2018, 37.2 percent in 2020.
The Ravens should feel strong at guard with Kevin Zeitler (1.6 percent rate) and Ben Cleveland (1.8 percent) finishing sixth- and ninth-best, respectively, among offensive linemen in pressure rate in 2021. But Cleveland didn’t become a regular starter until late in the season; Tyre Phillips started five games in 2021 and struggled with a 5.9 percent rate.
Meanwhile, Stanley played just one game last season and replacement Alejandro Villanueva struggled big-time moving from right tackle to left tackle, finishing with a 6.6 percent pressure rate. The Ravens signed former Jets tackle Morgan Moses to replace the retired Villanueva, but Moses’ 7.3 percent pressure rate last season was the 23rd-highest rate among all qualified linemen.
Ranking NFL second-year breakout candidates for 2022: 15 players who could become stars, from quarterbacks to pass-rushers - Michael Renner
Bateman’s breakout is more a necessity than a prediction at this point. If not him, then who?
While tight end Mark Andrews will be the focal point of Baltimore’s passing game, the Hollywood Brown-less receiving corps of Devin Duvernay, James Proche II, Tylan Wallace, Jaylon Moore and Binjimen Victor isn’t instilling fear in anyone.
That means it’s on Bateman to serve as the No. 2 option in a Ravens offense that was passing far more than it ever did in the past under quarterback Lamar Jackson. In fact, Jackson set a career-high with 470 passing dropbacks last season despite missing nearly six full games.
Bateman was put behind the eight ball in 2021 by a groin injury that required surgery in the preseason and caused him to miss the first five weeks. He got up to speed quickly as Baltimore’s No. 2 receiver and averaged a respectable 1.58 yards per route when Jackson was under center.
Things went south, though, when injuries kept Jackson off the field, as Bateman averaged only 1.03 yards per route with Tyler Huntley and Josh Johnson throwing him passes. With Brown’s 139 targets up for grabs, expect the bulk of those to go Bateman’s way.
2022 AFC North training camp preview: Storylines for the Bengals, Browns, Ravens and Steelers - Nick Shook
The Ravens have never been afraid to let talent leave between campaigns, but plenty departed the field because of injury last season. That has set up Baltimore for a massive welcoming party — starting with training camp — where the Ravens expect to improve just from receiving reinforcements. The question now is how Baltimore adjusts offensively after saying goodbye to their second-leading pass catcher, Marquise Brown. Are the Ravens in line for another slight shift in identity, or is the entire team’s fortune more dependent upon staying healthy?
Most of Baltimore’s starting defense is back in 2022 — actually more than most, considering how many of the usual starters didn’t end up playing much due to injury. Joining them are top-tier free-agent Marcus Williams and veteran corner Kyle Fuller (and that’s before we talk about the additions they made in the draft). Baltimore learned the importance of depth last season, and even with the new additions, availability is going to matter more than anything. Oh, and new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s imprint on the unit will also be highly important.
Training Camp Competition: Cornerback - Clifton Brown
The competition to earn snaps as the third corner behind Humphrey and Peters will be fierce. Fuller, Williams, Armour-Davis, Stephens, and Seymour are all in the mix. The Ravens were ravaged by injuries at cornerback last season and finished last in the NFL in pass defense. The coaches will be looking for corners to stand out during practices and preseason games. With Baltimore’s young wide receivers also vying for playing time, the one-on-one battles between corners and receivers during camp will be intense.
Ravens Could Be Counting on David Ojabo Sooner Than Later - Todd Karpovich
The Ravens are not going to rush rookie outside linebacker David Ojabo back from an Achilles injury.
However, they might need him sooner than later.
The Ravens need their young players to boost the pass rush this season and Ojab can be an impact player when he’s healthy.
Mike Macdonald was hired as the new defensive coordinator from Michigan where he helped develop Ojabo. Macdonald also hired former Wolverines defensive assistant Ryan Osborn to work with the young playmakers in Baltimore.
Last season, Ojabo appeared in all 14 games with six starts at outside linebacker in 2021, finishing with 35 tackles, including 12 for loss, 11 sacks, and three pass breakups. He also had eight quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery, and a program-record five forced fumbles.
Ojabo was a second-team All-American selection by the Associated Press.
“Man, again, it’s all scripted,” Ojabo said about being drafted by the Ravens. “It’s all part of the plan. I can’t wait to work with him, Coach ‘Mac,’ and even Coach Osborn [defensive assistant Ryan Osborn]. He’s the one that really trained me up this last season. So, I really can’t wait to get going.”