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Ravens News 12/14: Scramble Rate

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

In Ravens’ pass-first offense, Lamar Jackson hits new heights — as a scrambler

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner

For as much as Jackson’s performance in the 37-31 victory highlighted his evolution as a drop-back passer, it was perhaps just as notable for his contributions out of the structure of the offense. The duality of one of the NFL’s best-ever dual-threat quarterbacks was on display throughout.

On passes attempted between 2.5 and four seconds after the snap — what the NFL’s Next Gen Stats considers “in rhythm” throws — Jackson went 14-for-21 for 243 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Only the San Francisco 49ers’ Brock Purdy finished with more passing yards on in-rhythm throws in Week 14.

On scrambles, though, no one was more prolific or productive. Of Jackson’s 70 rushing yards Sunday, 68 came on scrambles, 22 yards more than the Week 14 runner-up (the Chicago Bears’ Justin Fields), according to TruMedia. Jackson’s eight scrambles were the second most of his career, behind only a 2021 win over the Minnesota Vikings in which he scrambled 10 times.

Entering Week 15, Jackson’s 12.5% scramble rate not only leads the NFL but would also mark a career high for a season, according to TruMedia. In 2019, during his MVP year, Jackson scrambled on 8.7% of his drop-backs. Last season, he scrambled just 6.9% of the time, a career low.

NFL Defense Rankings: Vikings Continue To Climb After Week 14 Shutout

Dalton Miller, Pro Football Network

2) Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens ran into the Rams and QB Matthew Stafford’s buzzsaw, but they were able to leave the matchup victorious because of QB Lamar Jackson and the Raven’s offense. With games remaining against the Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers, and Miami Dolphins, the Ravens will have plenty of additional opportunities to prove their defensive superiority — or tumble down the rankings if they can’t handle the pressure.

Geno Stone Embracing Success With Ravens While Remaining Humble

Bo Smolka, PressBox

Yet after the season, the Ravens declined to tender Stone as a restricted free agent, which would have cost about $2.6 million in cap space. Stone became a free agent.

Stone said he had “other situations” in free agency but called it a “no-brainer” to return to Baltimore on a one-year deal worth about $1.7 million. “I feel like I have something here built with the guys, built with the coaching staff,” he said.

Stone was again projected to be a backup behind Williams and the ascending Hamilton. But once again, an injury to Williams threw the door wide open. Stone had a career-high nine tackles and a huge goal-line interception in a Week 2 win at Cincinnati. He picked off a pass at Cleveland, and then another. And another. By early November, Stone led the league with six interceptions.

“Every time I’m tracking the ball, I think I’m playing center field,” Stone said, noting that baseball had been his favorite sport growing up. “[I’m] just going to get the ball, high-point it, wherever it is.”

Ravens secondary coach Chris Hewitt said Stone “has always been an instinctive player, a high IQ football player.”

“It’s all about the opportunity,” Hewitt added. “Every time he’s come in, he’s played well. Now, this year, the ball is finding him.”

2024 NFL Free Agent Rankings: Top 50 players set to enter free agency

Brad Spielberger, PFF

6. DI JUSTIN MADUBUIKE, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Madubuike has a strong case for being the player to earn himself the most money in 2023. With at least half a sack in 11 of 13 games this season, Madubuike has already doubled his prior season high — and he may double his total pressure output by the end of the season, as well. His effort and intensity on backside pursuit plays have always been there, and now an improved arsenal of moves with a more explosive first step has Madubuike set to cash in big time.

Contract Projection: Four years, $92 million ($23 million per year), $60.25 million total guaranteed

32. G KEVIN ZEITLER, BALTIMORE RAVENS

The Ravens adding Zeitler as a street free agent in 2021 after he was a cap casualty of the New York Giants has provided tremendous value, as he is on pace for more than 1,000 snaps played in every year with the team. The stalwart is still going strong at 33 years old, earning a pass-blocking grade above 80.0 for the second consecutive season in 2023.

Contract Projection: Two years, $15 million ($7.5 million per year), $9.5 million total guaranteed

40. EDGE JADEVEON CLOWNEY, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Clowney is having a career year with Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald dialing things up for him, deploying simulated pressures and exotic blitzes out of various fronts.

Contract Projection: One year, $9 million, $8 million guaranteed

45. LB PATRICK QUEEN, BALTIMORE RAVENS

With Baltimore’s addition of linebacker Roquan Smith — the highest-paid player at the position after last year’s extension — and several other pending free agents, Queen should get to test the market and potentially do quite well for himself.

Contract Projection: Four years, $72.5 million ($18.125 million per year), $50.25 million total guaranteed

2024 NFL draft intel: News, nuggets and what all 32 teams need

Jamison Hensley, ESPN

Baltimore Ravens

Projected first-round pick: No. 31

The Ravens’ seven-year streak of not drafting an offensive tackle or guard in the first two rounds could come to an end. Both starting offensive tackles — Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses — are showing signs of wearing down. Both starting guards — Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson — are free agents at the end of the season. Baltimore needs to protect its investment in quarterback Lamar Jackson, who received a five-year, $260 million contract a year ago.

Week 15 NFL picks: Lions get back on track; Bills edge Cowboys in shootout; Steelers lose 3rd in row

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC, fubo)

The Jaguars have lost two straight and have big injury issues to go with poor defensive play the past two weeks. The Ravens are in the top spot in the AFC. Their defense has struggled some lately as well. This could be a shootout between Lamar Jackson and Trevor Lawrence. I’ll go with the better defense and take the Ravens.

Pick: Ravens 33, Jaguars 27