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Ravens News 9/8: Blitz Bounce-Back and more

Washington Commanders v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Ravens film study: What could QB Lamar Jackson and the 2022 offense look like? We asked the experts. - Jonas Shaffer

Blitz bounce-back

Jackson’s struggles against heavy-pressure looks, according to the analysts, aren’t worrisome over the long term. But Klassen said the Ravens would need to be better prepared for curveballs like the Miami Dolphins’ hair-on-fire approach in their Week 10 upset last season.

Jackson faced 24 defensive back blitzes in that 22-10 loss, according to ESPN — the most any quarterback has faced since 2015 — and he struggled to adjust. Against one of the NFL’s lowest-rated defenses, the Ravens made just two red-zone trips. Klassen said Roman needed better answers in pass protection.

“They just wouldn’t go to any other answer but throwing those quick wide receiver screens,” he said. “And that’s just not a really good way to handle that. It’s a nice way if that’s one of your four or five options to handle it. If that’s the only thing you’re doing, it really sucks. So I’m kind of hoping they just find more protection answers against stuff like that. Because I do think, if Lamar has a fair chance against stuff like Cover 0 and man coverage, just athletically, he’s unbelievable. And I still think he commands the pocket really well and I do think he’s a smart passer. So to me, it’s just a blip, and you hope that Greg Roman learned a lesson.”

J.K. Dobbins Is ‘Ascending Quickly’ in His Recovery - Clifton Brown

Dobbins was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, but Head Coach John Harbaugh has been pleased with how the third-year running back has progressed since returning to practice Aug. 8.

“I do like what I’ve seen so far, he’s really ascending quickly, especially in the last week, week-and-a-half,” Harbaugh said. “My plan is to decide by the end of the week which backs are going to be up. Really with J.K., just kind of measure where he’s at in terms of how he’s moving. Same with the other guys.”

One of the most intriguing matchups of Sunday’s game will be Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman vs. Jets rookie cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Bateman is Baltimore’s No. 1 receiver after the offseason trade of Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Gardner was the fourth-overall pick who never gave up a touchdown during his college career at Cincinnati.

“We’ve been studying him all around,” Bateman said. “Good athlete, confident player. Just looking forward to the matchup.”

“Definitely exciting, it’s going to be lit, it’s going to be loud, it’s going to be fun,” Bateman said.

“There’s only three preseason games. We had 30-something practices, we got a lot in, we feel good about it,” Bateman said.

3 Things to Know | Week 1 Jets vs. Ravens - Ethan Greenberg

Carl Lawson, Jets DL vs. Lamar Jackson

Sunday will be the first time DE Carl Lawson will take a regular-season snap for the Jets after signing in March 2021. He ruptured his Achilles tendon that July. Lawson, who played with the Bengals for the first four seasons of his NFL career, will play former division foes in his first four games in green and white. Against Baltimore, he has 1 sack and 6 QB hits in 7 games, in his 5 games against Lamar Jackson.

Jackson is a threat to make a big play whenever he touches the ball. He’s the only NFL player with 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a single season (2019). The 2019 NFL MVP, however, is coming off a down season dealing with injuries that caused him to miss the final four games. He threw for 2,882 yards, 16 TDs and a career-high 13 interceptions in 12 games. The Green & White last played Jackson and the Ravens in 2019, more than two years before Saleh was hired.

“Dynamic, fast, violent as a runner,” Saleh said. “He’s got a really good arm, can throw the football, he’s got good targets to throw to. He’s special. … “He’s one of the most dynamic football players in the league and he’s an absolute bear to prepare for, so this is the ultimate challenge and it’s in Week 1. Thankfully we’ve had all offseason to kind of prepare. We’ll see how it works out.”

NFL predictions 2022: Projecting teams with best odds to make playoffs, win Super Bowl 57 - Edward Sutelan

AFC North

Ravens (11-6)

Bengals (10-7)

Browns (8-9)

Steelers (6-11)

Another team goes worst to first. It will be a bit of a different story for the Ravens than it was for the Bengals, as it was largely due to injuries for Baltimore in 2021 that held them back to finishing 8-9 and tying with the Browns for last in the AFC North. But with J.K. Dobbins back and Lamar Jackson entering the year healthy, the rushing attack will be back in force, and some signings and draft picks helped improve an already impressive defense. The big question heading into the season is exactly to who, outside of Mark Andrews, Jackson will throw the ball. Marquise Brown is a big loss, and there is no guarantee Rashod Bateman is going to be ready to step into that No. 1 receiver role. But, health permitting, this team should be improved in 2022 overall, and now benefits from a last-place schedule.

Our AFC Projections Are Bullish On The Bills - Josh Hermsmeyer

There’s very little separating the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens in our Elo rankings, despite the Bengals making it to the Super Bowl and the Ravens finishing last in the North for the first time since 2007. Each team has a 57 percent probability to make the playoffs, and both have about a 1-in-24 shot to win the Super Bowl. The parity projected by the model can be partially explained by a strong and well-balanced AFC North in 2021, and partially by a string of injuries that dismantled the Ravens last season. Baltimore finished with 20 players on injured reserve, not including QB Lamar Jackson (who missed the final four games of the season but was never placed on IR).