Gordon McGuinness, PFF
IF A TRADE IS COMING, IT SHOULD BE FOR AN EDGE DEFENDER
[Brian] Burns is 25 and in the final year of his contract, so Baltimore would likely have to be willing to part with its first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and sign Burns to a top-of-market deal. That’s a lot, but the Ravens have been unable to draft a top-tier edge defender and Burns is coming off a season where he generated 68 total pressures. Through five games this year, he has registered 13 — five of which were sacks.
A first and a second might seem like a lot for the Ravens to give up, especially given that Burns is in the final year of his rookie contract, but it’s unlikely they could make a splash like this for much less.
MARLON HUMPHREY IS BACK — BUT NOT FULLY
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey returned to the Ravens’ lineup against the Steelers, having missed the first four games of the year due to injury. It’s clear that he isn’t all the way back yet, though, and he rotated out with Ronald Darby at one cornerback spot while Brandon Stephens saw every snap at the other. Humphrey finished the game with a 63.0 PFF coverage grade, the highest of all three outside cornerbacks, but burned into the brains of onlookers is the game-winning touchdown to George Pickens at Humphrey’s expense.
Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic
Who needs to pick it up?
Take your pick. Bateman needs to get it going. Not being targeted much is one thing, but you lose the benefit of the doubt when you drop what should have been a routine touchdown. It sure would help if Likely and Duvernay joined the party, too. However, probably more than any other player, the Ravens really need Stanley to start playing like one of the league’s top tackles. It’s certainly possible that Stanley won’t be able to regain elite form after his devastating ankle injury in 2020. But Stanley played much better last season upon returning. Pittsburgh’s Alex Highsmith and Houston’s Jonathan Greenard are good young edge rushers, but it was still jarring to see them have their way with Stanley.
Which defensive player has been better than expected?
If there was a breakout player at the quarter mark, it would be Stephens — without a doubt. For much of the offseason, the Ravens had him penciled in as a reserve safety. Stephens, though, was needed at corner when extensive summer injuries narrowed the Ravens’ options. He has barely left the field for Baltimore while playing like a quality starting-caliber cornerback. There are still times when Stephens reacts slowly to the ball, but he already has an interception, he’s tackled very physically and he’s kept in check a few very good receivers. Honorable mention goes to Clowney, who has been active in every game and very close to making a host of tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Brian Wacker, The Baltimore Sun
In Sunday’s collapse against the Pittsburgh Steelers, they had seven dropped passes, the third-most by a team since 2013 and the most since Week 6 of the 2021 season, according to TruMedia. Usually sure-handed tight end Mark Andrews led the way with three, rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers had two and Rashod Bateman and Nelson Agholor had one apiece.
The Ravens had just three total through their first four games, and, according to Pro Football Focus, entered Sunday as one of only two teams whose wide receivers didn’t drop any passes.
Judging by the first four weeks of the season, that’s mostly true, but the Ravens’ lack of ball security extends well beyond a week of butterfingers by their pass catchers.
The Ravens have the third-most fumbles in the NFL with 12, just one behind the Jacksonville Jaguars. Quarterback Lamar Jackson leads all players with seven fumbles, including a league-high four lost. Running backs Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill each had what proved to be pivotal fumbles against the Indianapolis Colts and Steelers, respectively.
Ryan Mink, BaltimoreRavens.com
Ravens offensive tackles Morgan Moses and Patrick Mekari are practicing Wednesday at the Tottenham practice facility, a good sign for Baltimore’s chance of getting two top tackles back on the field for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans’ primary pass rushers are outside linebacker Arden Key (2.5 sacks), defensive end Denico Autry (4.0 sacks) and defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons (2.5 sacks).
Not spotted at the start of Wednesday’s Ravens practice were outside linebackers Jadeveon Clowney and Odafe Oweh (ankle) and safety Geno Stone.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ET (NFLN, fubo)
Both of these teams are coming off bad losses, and now have to make a long trip to play this one in London. The Titans defense was bad agains the Colts, but the Ravens offense blew a bunch of scoring chances in losing to the Steelers. These games are always physical battles, which is why this will be close. The Ravens are good against the run, which is problem for Derrick Henry. The Titans win it, but it’s close.
Pick: Titans 21, Ravens 20
NFL picks, predictions against the spread Week 6: Chargers light up Cowboys, 49ers burn Browns, Bengals stop Seahawks
Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News
Ravens (-3.5, 40 o/u) at Titans (in London)
Lamar Jackson and the entire Ravens’ offense is not fitting so well in the new system with critical mistakes and an inconsistent running game, sometimes using Jackson, sometimes not. The Titans also have had Jackson’s number in the past. That said, the Titans’ defense is suddenly breaking down up front and has a bad secondary. The Ravens also can keep slowing Derrick Henry across the pond. John Harbaugh’s team rebounds well as Mike Vrabel’s team fails to overachieve for the mild upset.
Pick: Ravens win 23-17 and cover the spread.