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Ravens News 6/21: Dobbins Dilemma and more

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AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Ravens OC Todd Monken makes a strong first impression

Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens have quickened the pace of getting in and out of the huddle, a major requirement of Harbaugh’s this offseason. They will probably attack more using the no-huddle, which plays to Jackson’s ability to improvise.

The Ravens appear to have more short passes in the playbook yet still can attack the entire field with clearing routes and Jackson throwing to outside the numbers.

There is usually a quick throw option for Jackson, and his footwork in dropping back has more design instead of the standard five- or seven-step dropback. And get this ... the Ravens even have screens.

“It’s hard to execute if you’re not adapting, if you’re not looking into what is cutting edge,” Monken said. “What you’re always trying to do is create a nightmare for the defense. The game is ever-changing and you have to change with it. You’re either a good leader or you’re not.

“As an offensive coordinator, you’re paid to score points. Some of the other things are just a piece of that — not that I’m against metrics or analytics; I’m not. I don’t mean it that way. I just mean it’s a lot simpler than that, and then trying to fit the pieces in the right spot.”

Ravens Contracts: Pay J.K. Dobbins Like a Superstar Running Back?

Harrison Reno, Sports Illustrated

Dobbins is a proven commodity on the field, as suggested by his 5.7 yards per carry average this past season on 92 attempts in just eight games before another injury sidelined him.

Yet, in a time when even the most productive backs are struggling to get paid their full value, Dobbins’ future is seriously questioned. The former Buckeye certainly doesn’t have the proverbial wear on his tires like Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys did at the same stage of his career. But injuries have prevented Dobbins from ever truly getting that same amount of production.

After all, the Ravens have already splashed the cash on the new contract for quarterback Lamar Jackson while giving Odell Beckham Jr. a one-year deal worth up to $15 million. Some could argue that the money spent on Dobbins should go elsewhere.

Add in the fact that the Ravens have gotten the most out of their backfield in years past with the emergence of Gus Edwards, and Baltimore could have further reason to believe they don’t need the former Buckeye.

J.K. Dobbins News: Why the Baltimore Ravens Should Think Twice Before Extending His Contract

Dallas Robinson, Pro Football Network

The Ravens Don’t Always Make the Analytical Move

Baltimore is known as one of the more forward-thinking organizations in the NFL. On its face, that should indicate that the Ravens are unlikely to commit a significant contract to a running back, especially given that suitable options are so readily available on the cheap.

But Baltimore doesn’t only make analytically friendly transactions. Using a second-round selection on a running back like Dobbins may have ruffled some feathers, but that wasn’t the only non-premium position the Ravens focused on early in the 2020 draft.

Baltimore also spent its first-round pick on off-ball linebacker Patrick Queen that year. This past season, they traded a second-round selection for another non-rush LB in Roquan Smith.

In the 2022 draft, the Ravens used their first two choices on a safety (Kyle Hamilton) and a center (Tyler Linderbaum), positions widely viewed as near the bottom of the importance spectrum.

Still, running back is probably the least crucial position in the NFL, and given Dobbins’ repeated injury, it’s difficult to imagine them signing him to a long-term deal — at least before the 2023 campaign.

If Dobbins thrives in Todd Monken’s new scheme and stays healthy for the majority of next season, a new contract might make sense. But for now, the Ravens hold all the leverage, and a Dobbins extension would come with too much risk attached.

2023 NFL linebacker unit rankings: San Francisco 49ers claim the top spot for second consecutive year

Dalton Wasserman, PFF

3. BALTIMORE RAVENS

The Ravens also have two potential stars at the position. The only difference is that we haven’t seen them together long enough. Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen became a lethal pairing after Baltimore acquired the former in a trade with Chicago last season.

From Week 9 — Smith’s first game in Baltimore — through the end of the season, Ravens linebackers were the second-highest graded group in the league, trailing only the 49ers. Smith (85.9) and Queen (75.5) ranked fourth and seventh, respectively, at the position during their 10 games together.

2023 NFL season: 10 biggest remaining roster holes

Kevin Patra, NFL.com

Rank 6

Baltimore Ravens

Edge rusher

Baltimore spent the offseason stocking up on offensive weapons for Lamar Jackson, but the defensive front has serious questions. 2021 first-round pick Odafe Oweh took a step back in Year 2 and will look to rebound this fall. 2022 second-rounder David Ojabo had most of his rookie campaign wiped out due to a pre-draft injury. The Ravens are relying heavily on the Michigan product becoming a consistent force. Two of Baltimore’s top sack producers from last season aren’t on the roster. Calais Campbell left for Atlanta, and Justin Houston remains a free agent. Could a Houston reunion be in the cards? It wouldn’t be a surprise if general manager Eric DeCosta added multiple veterans at some point to round out a group lacking in depth and playmakers.