After John Harbaugh vowed to “cast a wide net” for the new offensive coordinator, it’s not surprising that most reported external candidates have passing game backgrounds. After sputtering weeks before Lamar Jackson even got hurt in each of the last two seasons, Baltimore must improve through the air.
Each of the final four ranks in the top nine in passing DVOA and top seven in expected points added per dropback, reflecting the passing efficiency — not necessarily volume — required to make a deep playoff run in today’s game. It’s something the Ravens have lacked since their magical 2019.
The Ravens defense deserved a nod for how it played against the Bengals, but some assumptions being made are a bit much. This was still a unit that faltered with a late lead as recently as Week 17. We’ll never know what would have happened had Tyler Huntley never fumbled.
One free agent each NFL team can’t afford to lose - Brad Spielberger
This Ravens simply live and die by Lamar Jackson on offense. In seven games to end the season without Jackson under center, the Ravens never once reached 20 points, with their -0.158 expected points added per play over the stretch ranking 26th. Through Week 12, the offense ranked eighth in EPA per play, at .028.
It’s typically smart to ignore most offseason commentary from head coaches and general managers, but Baltimore’s John Harbaugh and Eric DeCosta seemed genuine with their remarks at an end-of-season press conference, emphatically stating Jackson is the future of this franchise.
Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 2022 season - Mike Preston
The Ravens have failed miserably at this position through the years in both the draft and free agency. General manager Eric DeCosta needs to address why he keeps using first-round draft picks on guys like Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Rashod Bateman, who were both injured in their final college seasons. Neither has played up to where they were drafted. The Ravens keep signing veteran free agents like Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson (48 catches for 458 yards) and DeSean Jackson (9 catches for 153 yards), but they are past their prime. The younger ones like Devin Duvernay (37 catches for 407 yards) and James Proche II (8 catches for 62 yards) either can’t get open or the Ravens don’t do enough to “scheme” them open.
The Ravens need to get faster at cornerback and find the shutdown type. Marcus Peters brings a certain degree of nastiness to this defense but creates anxious moments when matched against a speedy receiver like the Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase. Marlon Humphrey (71 tackles) is an excellent slot cornerback when he can work near the line of scrimmage but struggles in space. The Ravens like to brag that he didn’t get beat for a touchdown this season, but how many times did he get penalized for pass interference near the goal line? At safety, Marcus Williams (61 tackles) was an excellent addition, Chuck Clark was second on the team with 101 tackles and rookie Kyle Hamilton added 55 while playing different positions on the back end. Brandon Stephens came on slowly as a cornerback late in the season but he is a better fit at safety.
Five things we learned from the Ravens’ 2022 season - Childs Walker
The offensive line is again a stable building block.
We talked about the disturbing similarities between the Ravens’ offensive failings in 2021 and 2022, but this was not true in the trenches.
Jackson’s struggles in 2021 traced directly to his diminished confidence in an offensive line that could not overcome the domino effect created by left tackle Ronnie Stanley’s ankle injury.
DeCosta sought to restore stability by signing durable right tackle Morgan Moses and using one of his two first-round picks on the best center prospect in years, Tyler Linderbaum. He and Harbaugh kept their fingers crossed that Stanley, paid to be a franchise centerpiece, would play and play well after losing nearly two years.
If anything, the plan worked better than expected.
Moses played 93% of the team’s offensive snaps and graded as the 12th-best tackle in the league, per Pro Football Focus, using his mobility to pull and clear space for the Ravens’ second-ranked rushing attack. Linderbaum was an elite run blocker out of the gate, and he’ll be a regular Pro Bowl selection if he can hold up slightly better as a pass blocker against the largest, most gifted interior defenders. Stanley returned in the fifth week of the season and was on the field for every offensive snap in five of the Ravens’ last six games. More importantly, he regained his Pro Bowl form as a pass blocker and expects to take another step forward in 2023 as he puts his injury farther in the rearview. At right guard, Kevin Zeitler was against the Ravens’ most consistent lineman and again could have made the Pro Bowl (but didn’t).
How the Baltimore Ravens can rebuild their wide receiver room during the 2023 NFL offseason - Gordon McGuinness
BIG SWING: ROUND 1 WIDE RECEIVER AND TRADE FOR DEANDRE HOPKINS
Here, the Ravens do exactly what they stated in the press conference — rebuild the wide receiver room over the first two days of the NFL Draft. USC’s Jordan Addison led all PAC-12 wide receivers who saw 25 or more targets with a 2.78 yards per route run average this season. Our model puts the trade value for Hopkins at a third-rounder right now, so the Ravens give up Pick 86 to acquire him in both of the above scenarios.
ACQUIRING DEANDRE HOPKINS WITHOUT REDUCING THEIR TOTAL PICKS
One issue with the Ravens trading for anyone this season is that unlike last season — when they had so many picks that they totaled five picks in the fourth round alone — they currently have just five total this year. With that in mind, could they get clever in an effort to keep their net number of picks intact, while still massively upgrading at wide receiver? Here, they move out of the first round, dropping to No. 34 while gaining Hopkins. The Cardinals would then have two top-22 picks in the draft. At Pick 34, North Carolina’s Josh Downs was available, allowing them to come out of the draft with a completely revamped group at the position while boosting their defensive backfield in Round 3.