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Ravens News 9/13: Mid-Season Form and more

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Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Ravens have to become ‘more in sync’ in Todd Monken’s offensive system

Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic

The debut of Todd Monken’s new offense certainly lacked sizzle and didn’t yield a whole lot beyond the one area that truly mattered Sunday: the scoreboard.

The Ravens had just 265 yards of total offense and averaged just 4.6 yards per play. Just two of their 58 plays grossed over 20 yards. Of Baltimore’s four scoring drives, two of them started at Houston’s 42-yard line, one started at the Ravens’ 42 and the other from their own 29. Only two of the team’s 11 drives lasted eight plays or more.

It always felt likely the Ravens would start slow offensively, so it makes little sense to overreact to anything we saw Sunday from that perspective. Executing an entirely new offensive system takes time. The only Ravens offensive starter who played in the preseason was left guard John Simpson, so the group has had little time together on the field in game situations. Rust was going to be a factor for some, and Jackson acknowledged after the game that he certainly felt it.

Jackson played well at times Sunday and was under duress throughout. However, one area he needs to clean up is his ball security. His interception to Steven Nelson was an ill-advised throw and a bad decision at a time when the Ravens at least had three points in their back pockets. You could excuse Jackson for the third-quarter lost fumble because Hill hit his arm. But Jackson was extremely careless earlier in the quarter, allowing Tavierre Thomas to knock the ball out of his hands on a scramble. Zeitler bailed him out with the recovery. The Ravens can’t afford such mistakes, especially when they’re not clicking on all cylinders offensively.

Twelve Ravens Thoughts following Week 1 win over Houston

Luke Jones, Baltimore Positive

Eleven months after a torn ACL, Ronald Darby wasn’t as strong in man coverage, but he held up well and was an aggressive tackler, making three stops for no gain or a loss. As John Harbaugh said, “You even kind of forget that [knee] recently. He looks good to me.”

Jadeveon Clowney will lament whiffing on what could have been two sacks, but he was more disruptive than the one tackle and one quarterback hit registered on the stat sheet. The 30-year-old was motivated to play the team that drafted him first overall, and the Ravens need more of that.

Justin Madubuike set the tone for the second half with a sack on the first play of the third quarter, but three penalties — two of them face masks — overshadowed what could have been a pretty big day. Consistency remains key for him in a contract year.

Even if it came against a third-string right tackle who normally plays guard, David Ojabo’s strip-sack is the kind of play the Ravens hope will get the 2022 second-round pick going after a quiet summer. The talent is there, so a confidence boost should help.

Grading all 31 first-round picks after Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season

Dalton Wasserman, PFF


Overall Rookie Grade: 78.2 (Rank: 3/19)

Principal Opponent: Steven Nelson

Week 1 Snaps: 54

Flowers was the Ravens’ best skill player against Houston. His nine catches and 78 yards led the team, and he also ran the ball twice for nine yards. His change of direction is incredible, as evidenced by his four forced missed tackles. Flowers lined up all over the field, and his prowess in the screen game (five catches on screens) makes him a dangerous weapon at all times.

One thing we learned about each NFL team in Week 1: Jets are toast without Aaron Rodgers, Cowboys have top ‘D’

Jeff Kerr, CBS Sports

Baltimore Ravens

Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen picked up where they left off: The best off-ball linebacker duo had another dominant game in Sunday’s win over the Texans. Smith finished with 16 tackles and a sack while Queen had 11 tackles and a sack. They also allowed just 74 yards in coverage on 8 of 14 passing, with no touchdowns allowed. The Ravens offense is a work in progress, but Smith and Queen are in mid-season form.

NFL power rankings, Week 2: Banged-up Ravens face an uphill climb

C.J. Doon, The Baltimore Sun

8. Ravens (1-0)

Week 1: Win vs. Texans, 25-9

Up next: at Bengals

It was not the start the Ravens were looking for. Running back J.K. Dobbins was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, and safety Marcus Williams is expected to be out for “a while” with a pectoral injury. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) and center Tyler Linderbaum (ankle) also went down in the fourth quarter and are considered week to week. To make matters worse, the new offense looked out of sync, and quarterback Lamar Jackson (two fumbles, interception) was careless with the ball. A sparkling debut for rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers and a strong defensive performance provides some optimism, but the Ravens have their work cut out for them in the rugged AFC.

NFL Power Rankings, Week 2: 49ers hit No. 1; can Jets overcome Aaron Rodgers’ devastating injury?

Eric Edholm,

10. Baltimore Ravens

Even without Mark Andrews in Week 1, expectations for the new offense were higher than what the Ravens produced against the Texans. It wasn’t bad, mind you, but it’s clear Baltimore is still adjusting to new offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s system. What was bad: losing three offensive players to injury in the game. We already know RB J.K. Dobbins is done for the year with an Achilles tear, while OLs Ronnie Stanley (knee) and Tyler Linderbaum (ankle) are considered week to week, per head coach John Harbaugh. Even if the latter two are ultimately not long-term worries, the setbacks compounded an underwhelming opening offensive performance. The pieces are there for Baltimore to be dangerous on that side of the ball, as first-round pick Zay Flowers had a strong debut and Lamar Jackson flashed occasional magic. But the room for improvement is obvious.