The Ravens are coming off one other dangerous loss. They’re now the 5th crew in NFL historical past to have had a lead of a couple of rating of their first 11 video games. The earlier 4 groups have been all 11-0 by 11 video games. The Ravens? 7-4. That is only a horrible stat and it speaks to so many issues with this crew.
Earlier than I get into every thing, I’ll say that the Jags are a greater crew than individuals assume. Their strains are each fairly stable and so they have been in a number of video games all 12 months. DVOA has been excessive on them for many of this 12 months, actually liking them greater than their document. The Ravens are also a crew that has been coping with chilly climate after which traveled to heat climate and so they had the additional delay to take care of yesterday. How a lot that affected them is unknown, however I doubt it helped.
On high of that, the Ravens not too long ago had a stretch of taking part in only one sport in a three-week timeframe after which simply had the vacation week, which muddies the follow waters as properly. Add that to a couple key guys being out and Lamar Jackson lacking some follow time attributable to sickness (final week) and damage (this week), and it’s not shocking that the crew regarded flat within the first half.
Now, with that being mentioned, the issues are far bigger than that. Final offseason, I wrote a multi half article on the philosophy of the group and the way I felt it was holding the crew again. I talked concerning the poor passing sport, the reliance on the operating sport, and the way they’re extra targeted on stopping the run and never sufficient on getting after the passer. It’s simply an total archaic option to construct a crew in right this moment’s sport.
I’ve been harping on how Greg Roman must go and I’ll reiterate, as I did then, that this isn’t only a Roman drawback, however he’s positively not an answer both. We’re seeing the identical points again and again, 12 months after 12 months. The passing sport stinks, the performs take without end to get in, there isn’t any rhythm or tempo, poor play calling, poor route ideas and psychological errors (together with penalties). We see little or no growth of younger vast receivers. Lamar Jackson continues to wrestle with accuracy and making all of the throws persistently.
And what actually makes issues worse in all of that is that the Ravens have an elite offensive line. Ben Powers and Kevin Zeitler have been the very best cross defending set of guards within the league. Ronnie Stanley, who didn’t play yesterday, is the very best cross blocking left deal with within the sport. Even Morgan Moses and Patrick Mekari have largely been above common in cross safety this 12 months, and but the Ravens are one of many worst passing groups within the league, based on many metrics together with PFF, win charges, and so on…
When you might have an elite cross blocking line, an excellent operating sport and a game-changer at tight finish, you need to be an excellent passing offense, even when your weapons are subpar on the surface. Have a look at among the groups forward of the Ravens in passing (there are solely seven groups behind them in passing yards per sport): the Packers, for all their issues at WR and line, are approach forward. Groups like Jacksonville, Detroit, DENVER(!) and the Colts are properly forward of the Ravens in passing yards per sport. These aren’t groups with nice ability place teams (Denver’s needs to be however that’s a complete set of issues over there) and but they discover extra success than the Ravens do. Now, I do know a few of that has to do with these groups having to throw rather a lot attributable to sport script, however nonetheless, it is a constant concern with the Ravens and it has been since Roman has been right here and actually, for any crew for which he has been the coordinator.
Nothing comes straightforward for this offense. It’s seemingly like they’re all the time pulling enamel. All of us get so excited and amazed when the crew runs one thing good. Do you assume that occurs in Kansas Metropolis? Or New England? Or Philly? Or when Sean Payton was the coach in New Orleans? No, in fact not. That’s simply regular to these followers. Ravens followers act like they only found plutonium when the crew runs a well-executed display screen cross.
What was as soon as a dominant purple zone offense has was one of many poorest within the league. When you might have such a risk at quarterback, you need to be scoring six at will. Lamar mentioned that, in follow, the purple zone performs work properly. Nicely, both the protection is simply letting them rating in follow or he isn’t being completely sincere with us, as a result of the sport execution down there stinks on ice.
Lamar’s accuracy is an actual drawback. In 5 of his final seven video games, his completion share is below 60%. He missed two less difficult touchdowns within the Jacksonville sport. Now, don’t get me flawed, guys have dropped some balls however they’ve additionally bailed him out at instances too. These items tends to even out over time and sooner or later, you’re what your stats say you’re.
The deep ball has been a problem all 12 months. Lamar doesn’t get sufficient loft below the ball. He doesn’t permit his receivers to run below it. They need to attempt to catch as much as it and the pace simply isn’t there. The lengthy ball to Desean Jackson yesterday was a factor of magnificence. That wasn’t a lofted lengthy cross, however that was additionally a 60+ yard throw. That doesn’t should be lofted in the identical method a 40-50 yard cross must, just like the one he overthrew on the primary drive to Demarcus Robinson. It was only a completely different sort of throw there.
Nonetheless, it’s not simply the deep passes. Lamar is lacking (each by way of accuracy and never simply taking them) shorter passes. He isn’t throwing the ball to guys the place they’ll get a number of YAC. The crew isn’t operating many crosses and slants. It’s only a drawback in every single place.
There isn’t one factor guilty offensively. It only a myriad of points, a lot of which have been a problem since 2019 and a few of them date again to the Joe Flacco years. Once more, it’s how the group desires to construct the crew. They simply can’t get out of the 2000s.
Defensively, issues appeared to be turning round, particularly since Roquan Smith acquired right here, and so they largely performed properly yesterday however they choked on the flawed instances. The cross rush has been higher however the lack of Kyle Fuller within the first sport has actually damage this crew. They don’t have #3 nook and Marcus Peters has been very inconsistent since he got here again from his knee damage. Kyle Hamilton has been wonderful in protection this 12 months and him being out damage them, to not point out Marcus Williams being out.
That mentioned, the crew is just too depending on Marlon Humphrey. He missed six snaps yesterday. The drive on which he missed these six snaps resulted in a landing to make the rating 19-17. He missed 15 snaps vs Miami earlier this 12 months. They scored 4 TDs after doing nothing the remainder of the sport. On the deadline, when everybody was excited for Smith, I mentioned I appreciated the addition and whereas I felt ILB was a necessity, the necessity at nook was higher. That is why (not that Smith hasn’t been wonderful because the commerce).
The opposite factor that we should be discuss is how the Ravens are struggling to develop entrance seven guys. Certain, they’ve rotational participant in Broderick Washington (and contemplating the place they drafted him, that’s very good) however total, outdoors of Bowser, who’ve they developed properly on the entrance seven?
Patrick Queen is taking part in higher, however let’s face it: a part of the explanation they gave up two picks for Smith is as a result of Queen has largely not been adequate. Odafe Oweh, who began the 12 months creating loads of pressures, nonetheless doesn’t have a sack and has largely been MIA within the final a number of video games, even seeing his snap depend drop. Travis Jones has flashed however not rather more than that. Even Justin Madubuike hasn’t been as constant as you want to, though he’s actually taking part in his finest soccer.
General although, the protection is being held collectively by Geno Stone, Kyle Hamilton, Marlon Humphrey, Roquan Smith and the previous guys up entrance…guys who they Ravens didn’t draft.
My level in saying that is the crew isn’t growing expertise on protection in addition to they used to, particularly up entrance. It was once that they let a man go after which simply crammed in somebody to switch them. They saved the cap house and acquired the comp choose. Now, they let these guys go however aren’t changing them as properly by way of drafting and growing (though the additions of Calais Campbell and Justin Houston have been wonderful).
There may be an organization-wide failure occurring proper now. Previous to Lamar getting right here, I used to be on the “hearth John Harbaugh” bandwagon. It wasn’t as a result of I assumed he was a nasty coach (I feel he’s a wonderful coach to be sincere) however I felt a brand new voice was wanted. The crew had been in a playoff rut and issues weren’t going properly. Then the tip of 2018 and 2019 occurred and it acquired followers excited once more, however the crew points are again and they’re a number of the identical points we’ve got seen for years now.
Harbaugh repeatedly exhibits he struggles to rent offensive coaches, and most of the identical points we see now, we’ve got seen below Harbaugh his complete time in Baltimore. In some unspecified time in the future, it’s him (and the way he desires the crew to look.)
I’m not calling for his head however I do assume he must let go of Roman, yesterday. There will not be many adjustments by doing this however I do assume some issues would enhance. Even when it’s simply tempo-type stuff, that would make a distinction.
I do assume if the crew is one and accomplished within the playoffs, Harbaugh must be instructed both he’s gone, or he wants to alter how he runs this crew, and modify what he desires out of a soccer crew in right this moment’s NFL. I don’t personally care if he stays or if he goes, however what I do care about is how they construct the crew and what the philosophy goes to be. If Harbaugh doesn’t wish to “get with the instances”, it’s time for him to go.
The Ravens enter Week 12 as the favourite to win the division and to host not less than one playoff sport. Their schedule is comparatively straightforward down the stretch and Cincinnati has a really troublesome schedule. However even when they win 11-12 video games and the AFC North, I don’t see how anybody can assume they’re higher than the 5th finest crew within the convention, nor how anybody would have faith that they’d beat Miami or the Bengals (the 2 groups which can be most definitely to be their first spherical opponent).
We’ll see what occurs as this crew goes down the stretch and guys get wholesome, however the backside line is, you’re what your document says you’re. The Ravens’ document says they’re crew that’s able to beating and taking part in with anybody, but it surely additionally says they’ll’t be trusted and in the end, that lack of belief needs to be an actual concern throughout the total Fort.
The query is, what are they ready to do about it?
Are they going to simply hold doing the identical issues over and over and believing they get completely different outcomes (i.e., madness) or will they really make the adjustments wanted to actually contend in right this moment’s NFL?