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Ravens News 3/31: Up-Tempo Offense and more

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NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Texas Christian at Georgia Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Teams Still Don’t Understand Lamar Jackson’s Value - Steven Ruiz

Many still question his passing ability even though he ranks fourth in expected points added per play since 2018 among the 22 quarterbacks with at least 2,000 dropbacks in that span. The three ahead of him are Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady.

Given Jackson’s usage in the run game, it’s fair to wonder about his longevity. Since 2019, he’s racked up 580 rush attempts, according to TruMedia. No other quarterback has more than 458 carries over that time. He runs a lot and gets tackled more than most QBs. But it should be acknowledged that both injuries were suffered on run-of-the-mill passing plays.

He’s a transformative player, capable of elevating any offense you drop him into: a top-10 offense starter kit all on his own.

As bleak as things may appear for Jackson at the moment, I have to imagine at least one team outside Baltimore will eventually make a play for him.

Five reasons why Lamar Jackson doesn’t have his big contract and five counterarguments for each - Garrett Podell

The NFL’s worry about guaranteed contracts

North America’s most popular and wealthiest professional sports league doesn’t hand out fully guaranteed contracts with regularity. This practice allows for teams to cut players whenever they want with minimal salary cap penalties. The Cousins and Watson examples above occurred only because their respective teams were desperate for competent quarterback play.

“As an owner I do not believe in fully guaranteed contracts,” Irsay said Tuesday, per The Athletic. “I think that a percentage is one thing, but from what I’ve seen from the NBA and baseball, I don’t see it as a positive competitively. For me, for the good of the game, boy, I don’t believe guaranteed contracts would be good for our game at all. At all. I don’t think (they) make our game greater, I think it makes it worse.”

Counterargument: Jackson isn’t advocating for guaranteed contracts for all, just for the best, young quarterbacks in the league like himself.

Ten things we learned about the Ravens and NFL at annual owners meetings - Brian Wacker

What the new offense will look like

Last season, the Ravens had seven delay-of-game penalties, the third-highest total in the NFL. New offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who replaces Greg Roman, said when he was hired in February that Baltimore will play at a faster pace this season. Harbaugh reiterated that this week.

“It’s 100% likely that it will be different,” Harbaugh said of the offense. “I think we’re going to be exciting, we’re going to be fun. We’re going to still run the ball, but we’re going to throw the ball. We’re going to be up-tempo probably even more than we’ve been. Maybe a little more no-huddle. We’re going to be living in a lot of different worlds with our offense, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Of course, how different will likely depend on who’s playing quarterback, but Harbaugh and Monken are clearly determined to up the pace.

Addressing a poor NFLPA grade

While the Ravens ranked 17th out of the 32 teams in the league in terms of working conditions in an NFL Players Association survey that was released earlier this month, the organization notably got an F-minus in strength and conditioning, with just 38% of player respondents feeling they got an individualized plan for strength training and many complaining the training room was understaffed.

The Ravens addressed that before the survey was even released, parting ways with head strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders in late February and promoting former assistant strength and conditioning coach Scott Elliott into the role. The Ravens also got a C for the training room and a pair of C-pluses for the weight room and treatment of families.

“Sometimes that transparency can open your eyes,” Brown said. “I give John [Harbaugh] a ton of credit. I’ve seen him engage with our veterans and our rookies, to have that feedback to make sure our program is not resting on our status quo.”

2023 NFL Draft: Biggest pro and con for PFF’s top wide receiver prospects - Michael Renner


Big Board Rank: 75th

Pro: Body Control

Rashee Rice can contort into whatever position he needs to get into to haul in off-target passes or avoid defenders after the catch. He’s very flexible for a well-built receiver.

Con: Consistency

Rice’s attention to detail varied widely from snap to snap. I don’t know if it was conditioning or what, but Rice didn’t break the same intensity to every rep.


Big Board Rank: 76th

Pro: Explosiveness

The receiver with a 40-inch vertical and 11-foot-3 broad jump may have some gas in the tank. Hyatt didn’t average 18.9 yards per reception and score 15 touchdowns last year on accident.

Con: Route-Running Experience

Hyatt has been exclusively a free-release vertical threat from the slot in his career. He saw only 71 snaps versus press in his college career, and 28 of those came outside.


Big Board Rank: 80th

Pro: Catch Radius

With 33 1/4-inch arms, Perry is well versed in plucking balls out of mid-air. He also adjusts well to vertical balls down the field.

Con: Sloppiness

Perry is a free-wheeling route runner who doesn’t always hit his landmarks. It’s why often his most impressive reps are on simple routes like gos or slants.


Big Board Rank: 86th

Pro: Physicality

There’s no bigger bully in the draft class at receiver than Tillman. He wants to play a handsy game and will toss smaller cornerbacks off him.

Con: Dynamism

He’s just going to be a possession guy with limited yards after the catch. He broke only 13 tackles on 109 career receptions and averaged 4.1 yards after the catch.

2023 NFL mock draft 2.0: Packers select WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba; Falcons pick QB - Cynthia Frelund

22. Baltimore Ravens

Quentin Johnston

TCU · WR · Junior

Johnston edged out the available corners by a slim margin. Whoever’s lining up under center for Baltimore (I’m assuming it’ll still be Lamar Jackson) will appreciate Johnston’s size (6-3, 208) and 8.9 yards after the catch per reception (tied 10th, per PFF).