Assessing the Ravens: Where are they better, worse and about the same from last year? – Jeff Zrebiec
In: Rashod Bateman (first-round pick); Deon Cain (reserve-future signing), Devin Gray (free agent), Binjimen Victor (reserve-future signing), Tylan Wallace (fourth-round pick), Sammy Watkins (free agent)
Out: Dez Bryant, Chris Moore, Willie Snead IV
Reason for confidence: The talent has been upgraded significantly. The addition of Bateman, Wallace and Watkins, coupled by another year of development for Marquise Brown and the team’s returning young receivers, gives the Ravens one of the better receiving corps that they’ve had in recent years.
Reason for concern: It’s the wide receiver position, which means there’s always some level of skepticism when it comes to the Ravens. Watkins has struggled with injuries and he needs to reverse a career decline. As good as Bateman looked in the various offseason practices, rookie receivers have historically struggled in Baltimore. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman also needs to work in tandem with Lamar Jackson and get more out of the passing game.
Outlook: General manager Eric DeCosta delivered on his vow to improve the receiving group. There are still legitimate questions, but the Ravens now at least have representative talent at the position. It will be up to Roman to utilize it and Jackson to show that he can consistently get his targets the ball outside the numbers and deep down the field.
Greg Roman Determined to Get Ravens Passing Game Rolling – Todd Karpovich
In eight years as an offensive coordinator for San Francisco (four years), Buffalo (two years) and the Ravens (two years), Roman never had a passing attack ranked higher than 23rd for yards.
Roman is determined to change that narrative this season and believes he has the infrastructure with quarterback Lamar Jackson in place to throw the ball more effectively.
“I don’t think there’s a lot that we have to do from an infrastructure standpoint,” Roman said. “There are definitely some things that we’re doing, right now to evolve, and there are definitely some things people are going to see from us that they haven’t seen before. Our staff is working really hard and diligently on that for this upcoming season.”
The Ravens need to establish more balance with the offense to perhaps make a deeper run in the playoffs. Baltimore had the league’s 32nd-ranked passing attack last season and made several offseason moves to improve that performance.
“When you really look at who you have to beat in the AFC these days, you’ve got to have talent everywhere,” Roman said. “There are some really good teams out there, and I really feel great about what we’re building here.”
PFF Quarterback Rankings: All 32 starters ahead of the 2021 NFL season – Bruce Gradkowski
Regression is likely when coming off an MVP campaign, and we saw that from Jackson. The Ravens’ offense was less effective in the run game and the offensive line struggled at times this past season.
Still, Jackson continued to prove he is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL, if not the most. If the Ravens can help him out with a more efficient and effective pass game tied into their run concepts, then I would expect Jackson to get back to MVP form. Baltimore has a tough schedule ahead compared to last year, so Jackson will have to shoulder the load to prove he can take the Ravens back to the promised land.
What does being a ‘PRO-READY’ QB mean? – Carter Donnick
Predominantly relating to physical attributes, we tend to consider most elite athletes and most rocket-armed throwers not ready for the NFL game, in large part due to their reliance on said physical gifts. Recent draft picks who checked (most of) those boxes were Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, and Justin Herbert.
From Colin Kaepernick jumping in as a replacement for Alex Smith to Cam Newton setting every rookie record possible to even Jackson leading the Baltimore Ravens to the playoffs in his rookie year, quarterbacks who can run and extend plays with their legs have had more success early in their careers than those who can’t.
So, yes, Jackson will be called a wide receiver in the pre-draft process and Rosen will be labeled a gifted thrower, but when both don’t have a clue what to do when they drop back to pass in Week 2, Jackson can make a bit of magic and Rosen can’t. It’s that simple.
“Those guys are are one-of-a-kind so you know we lost some key pieces. But I feel like, it’s the Ravens Defense, so you know how we’re gonna come,” Queen said. “We’ve got those new guys up front in the draft. So there’s a lot of stuff to look out for. And we just want to be that same defense we were, a top-five defense. All the pieces that we’ve got, all the coaching that we’ve got added to the team — it’s going to be a big season. And I can’t wait.”
Entering his second season, Queen also noted that he wants to be a more complete player in the coming year when told he’s a candidate to be a breakout star.
“There’s a lot of stuff I need to clean up from last year,” Queen said. “So being a breakout star, in position for next year, it’s kind of a humbling thing and an exciting thing as well — just to get to prove to everybody that I am a star. There’s a lot of stuff to clean up, like I said, but we’re looking forward to the season that we’re about to have.”