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Ravens News 1/27: Volatile Position and more

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

3 questions the Ravens’ organization must answer this offseason - Blair Young

How to address the wide receiver position?

This season, the Ravens went into the year with limited experience at the wide receiver position, and it hurt them dramatically. They finished third to last in total passing yards with Demarcus Robinson leading all receivers with only 458 yards. In comparison, in 2021, Marquise Brown led Ravens receivers with over 1,000 yards on 91 catches. They traded Brown away after he expressed frustrations with the Ravens’ offense but never replaced him with a player of his caliber, and it showed.

“We traded ‘Hollywood’ (Marquise Brown) last year, so we definitely took on some water this year at that position. We’ll continue to look at that via free agency and the Draft. Our role is really to just find the best guys that fit our situation. We hear the fans, we hear you guys with the questions, certainly. Our goal is to build the very best team we can build,” DeCosta said.

They must get Jackson a legit No. 1 receiver if they hope for him to develop as a passer. The rest of the league seems to get this message. The Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins went out and traded for A.J. Brown and Tyreke Hill, respectively, last offseason, and their quarterbacks had career-best seasons. Jalen Hurts led the Eagles to a share of the best record in the NFL and is a finalist for the NFL Most Valuable Player Award. Tua Tagovailoa led the league in passer rating (105.5) and led his team to the playoffs as well.

NFL Free Agency 2023: Saquon Barkley and Geno Smith top the buyer beware list - Sam Monson

Players coming off a disappointing year


What happens when a ballhawk cornerback stops generating turnovers? He ends up with a season that looks a lot like the 2022 campaign Marcus Peters just had.

Many of the veteran’s underlying stats were exactly the same as the rest of his career — he has allowed a remarkably consistent five touchdowns in each of the last three seasons — but this year he came down with just one interception. That lack of turnovers spiked the passer rating into his coverage up to 116.3 from 88.1 a year ago.

Do teams put this down to just inevitable variance at a volatile position, or did this year expose Peters’ limitations as a corner?

Reviewing Ravens’ rookie class after 2022 season - Luke Jones

P Jordan Stout

Draft position: Fourth round, 130th overall

Special teams snaps: 132 over 17 games

Synopsis: Selecting a punter in the fourth round leads to high expectations, and the Penn State product finished an underwhelming 27th in net punting average while the undrafted Ryan Stonehouse and fellow fourth-round pick Jake Camarda outperformed him as rookies. That’s not to suggest Stout won’t still develop into a very good punter, of course, but he’ll need to be better to justify using a fourth-round pick on him.

TE Isaiah Likely

Draft position: Fourth round, 139th overall

Offensive snaps: 414 over 16 games

Synopsis: The best of Baltimore’s rookies beyond the first-round picks, Likely finished fourth on the team in receptions (36) and receiving yards (373) and tied for second in touchdown catches (three). His best games came in the absence of Andrews, so it will be up to the new offensive coordinator to try to unlock the upside of having both tight ends on the field together. The 6-foot-4, 241-pound Coastal Carolina product showed promising growth as a blocker after a rough start, but his ability to break tackles and gain yards after the catch is what makes Likely a candidate for a breakout season in 2023.

QB Salary Cap Charges and the Playoffs - Jason Fitzgerald

While that is certainly a positive for the low cap number when we get to the non-playoff chart it also becomes pretty clear that while there is a high reward on those lower cost players there is certainly a risk factor as that is also our biggest group for missing the playoffs.

I think this gets us deep into the concept of risk and reward. The groups that have the highest success rate clearly are the most expensive players with over 50% of the teams spending between 11 and 17% making the playoffs.

While 17% is no magical number I think this is something to keep in mind for cap planning that when you do have one of these veterans under contract you should aim to keep the structure within a certain range. There may be no need to max out the restructures and instead should try to keep the numbers manageable year after year.

When we get into our cheaper players our success rates drop to about 40%. These are mainly going to be draft picks with a few exceptions for journeymen players like Jameis Winston, Mitchell Trubisky, and Marcus Mariota. The worst range is that 7 to 11% range which is mainly going to comprise those players who got a starting job off a small sample of games like Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater, and Case Keenum or were trade ins like Carson Wentz. This is no mans land in the NFL and generally speaking a waste of a team’s time if its not a pure cap manipulation for the front end of a veteran player’s contract.

Another 1 Bites the Dust: Bills Continue DVOA Drought - Bryan Knowles

2019: 59.3% DVOA Lost

Best Possible Teams: Ravens, Patriots, Saints, 49ers: 133.7% DVOA

Actual Four: Titans, Chiefs, Packers, 49ers: 74.3% DVOA

The Titans squeaked into the playoffs, but were better than their season-long 7.6% DVOA. After benching Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill, the 10th-ranked Titans went on a Cinderella run, beating Tom Brady in his last start for the Patriots and then taking down MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in an outcome that still feels like Baltimore has never quite recovered from to this day, considering the ongoing drama over Jackson’s contract status.

2012: 53.0% DVOA Lost

Best Possible Teams: Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos, Patriots: 138.3% DVOA

Actual Four: Falcons, 49ers, Ravens, Patriots: 85.3% DVOA

The Seahawks and Broncos would meet in the Super Bowl the next season, but 2012 saw them get handed their walking papers early.

That was dramatic enough, but the day before, the Broncos had gone home after the Mile High Miracle.

Joe Flacco’s 70-yard game-tying bomb would have been enough to make the game memorable, but we also saw three return touchdowns, five lead changes, and double overtime.