October 21, 2020

2020 NFL Preview: Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens will probably be the most interesting preview I do for the 2020 season. Where all these so called “experts” are all in on the Ravens, more specifically Lamar Jackson, I will stick to facts and history to preview the 2020 Ravens.

One thing, the most important thing, we have learned with quarterbacks that can’t throw very well and rely on their legs to bail them out is…injuries happen frequently and defenses adjust to this type of quarterback and shut them down.

The Baltimore Ravens are riding high on Lamar Jackson, but for all the wrong reasons, for that, the Ravens will see a decline in record, production and expectations.

Offense

Quarterback

The Ravens broke the all-time single-season rushing record (3,296 yards), because of their leading rusher, Lamar Jackson (176 rushes for 1,,206 yards and 7 TDs).

Lamar Jackson threw for 3,127 yards, 36 TDs and 6 INTs. Not a single receiver even over 900 yards, with a lot of those yards coming from yards-after-catch. We have seen this with Michael Vick, RGIII, Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton, once the defense has an off-season to study film and adjust, these run first because they can’t really throw quarterbacks find themselves being really useless and injured.

The Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson rushes through the Arizona Cardinals defense in a game where he also passed for 272 yards and threw two touchdowns. Photograph: Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports

Running Back

The Ravens signed free-agent Mark Ingram II in March, before the start of the 2019 season. He went on to be the Ravens #2 running back, behind Jackson, with 1,018 yards and 10 rushing TDs.

The Ravens drafted J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State) in the second-round, giving the Ravens one of the most dangerous running groups in the NFL.

Not sure where Gus Edwards will fit in this rotation, but last year he had a solid 711 yards and 2 TDs.

Receivers

Not going to spend too much focus on this area of the Ravens, without a quarterback with an arm, this group is basically useless.

Hampered with injuries, the Ravens first-round pick in 2019 had just 584 yards and 7 TDs. Why did I mention those below average stats, because that was the Ravens leading wide receiver behind the lack of an arm, Lamar Jackson.

TE Mark Andrews had a team high 64 receptions, 852 receiving yards and 10 receiving TDs.

The Ravens drafted Devin Duvernay (Texas) in the third-round, adding one more weapon to their receiving corps.

Defense

Defensive Linemen

The Ravens worked hard in the off-season to help improve their front-line.

First, they acquired DE Calais Campbell from Jacksonville (for a 2020 fifth-round pick). Campbell had 31.5 sacks, 44 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries over the 48 games for the Jaguars.

Then, they also added Derek Wolfe, free agent from the Denver Broncos. The eight-year veteran played in 108 games, tallying up 299 tackles, 33 sacks, 15 passes defended, one interception, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

Linebackers

The Ravens used their first and third-round picks to help beef up their their linebacker corps. They drafted Patrick Queen (LSU) in the first-round and then took Malik Harrison (Ohio State) in the third-round.

They slapped the franchise tag on their veteran middle man, OLB Matthew Judon. Judon led the team with 9.5 sacks and also had 33 quarterback hits, which ranked fourth in the NFL.

Secondary

The secondary became the strength of this team. Earl Thomas tallied 49 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, four passes defended, one forced fumble and one fumble return, to earn him a well deserved seventh Pro Bowl selection.

Marlon Humphrey was one of two players (Minkah Fitzpatrick) to have at least three interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

I can’t leave out Marcus Peters. Peters led the NFL with three interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Special Teams

K Justin Tucker is as accurate as they come. Tucker has an all-time NFL best, 90.8% accuracy. Tucker hit 28 of 29 (96.6%) and scored a franchise best 141 points last season. P Sam Koch holds franchise best career gross average (45.4) and career net (39.5).

Final Thoughts

The Ravens made a lot of big moves and drafted some of the best talent in the 2020 draft in hopes to improve on their 14-2, but one-and-done playoff season. Unfortunately for the Ravens, as long as Lamar Jackson is under center, the 2019 season is the best it gets.