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Baltimore Beatdown - All Posts A Baltimore Ravens Community

  • Ravens News 7/18: TC preview, roster rankings and more
    by Vasilis Lericos on July 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports Mark Andrews has a chance to be a key contributor for the Ravens’ offense in 2019 and beyond - Zoltan Buday It is well-documented how much the Baltimore Ravens relied on tight ends in the second half of the 2018 season after they replaced quarterback Joe Flacco with rookie Lamar Jackson. In fact, Baltimore used three or more tight ends at the third-highest rate in the NFL in that period. While tight ends Nick Boyle, Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews all had solid seasons — they all finished in the top-35 among tight ends in overall grade — many tend to lump them together instead of looking at what they can offer individually. As a matter of fact, Andrews — a third-round pick in 2018 — has flashed enough skill to get the Baltimore fans’ hopes up, and he has a chance to be a key contributor for the Ravens’ offense for years to come. RANKING THE NFL ROSTERS: #16 - #9 - Brad Kelly 16. BALTIMORE RAVENS The strength of Baltimore’s team is obvious, as their secondary is one of the best in the league. With Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr, the Ravens have one of the best cornerback trios around the NFL. Somehow, Baltimore might have even stronger safety play with Earl Thomas and Tony Jefferson. In today’s passing league, with how vital the secondary is, this talent and depth is a massive boost to their roster. Not to be outdone, their defensive line has potentially dominant run defender Michael Pierce. Their pass rush took a hit with the free agent losses of Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs, but Matthew Judon has 15 sacks over the past two seasons and Tim Williams has flashed when he’s been on the field. Offensively, the Ravens roster is heavily titled towards the running game. With Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards in the backfield running behind offensive lineman like left tackle Ronnie Stanley, right guard Marshal Yanda and promising second-year right tackle Orlando Brown, they’ll be able to pound the rock next season. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is a dynamic weapon in the run game, and easily has the talent to progress as a passer in his second season. Their wide receiver core improved through the NFL Draft with the addition of first-round pick speedster Marquise Brown. Training Camp Position Breakdown: Inside Linebackers - Clifton Brown Best Battle The competition between Young and Board will be interesting. The Ravens hope it will push both players to new heights. Mosley was an extraordinarily consistent player, but Young and Board are part of the transition to a potentially faster defense. Under the Radar At least one undrafted free agent has made the Ravens’ 53-man roster for 15 straight seasons, and it has often been an inside linebacker. Keep an eye on Otaro Alaka, an undrafted rookie from Texas A&M, who made some impressive plays during OTAs. AFC North training camp preview: Time of transition at hand? - Tom Blair Baltimore Ravens Most important position battle: pass rusher. Baltimore ranked first in yards allowed, second in points allowed and fifth against the pass last season despite finishing 11th in sacks (43). And no individual player reached double-digits in sacks in 2018. Newcomer/player returning from injury to watch: Marquise Brown, wide receiver. The Ravens haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since Mike Wallace in 2016. They will likely continue to lean heavily on the ground game with running threat Lamar Jackson under center, but the speedy Brown has the potential to form an electrifying connection with his athletic quarterback. Even if he’s not given as many touches in Baltimore as other premier receivers around the NFL, the Oklahoma product -- who racked up 18.3 yards per catch and 17 total touchdowns in two seasons with the Sooners -- could make his mark as Charm City’s first legitimate star receiver since Steve Smith. […]

  • 5 ways the Ravens can help Lamar Jackson avoid the sophomore slump
    by Sage Morander on July 17, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images How can the rest of the team step up to help Jackson adjust in year two? In his first full year as the starter, Jackson confronts the added pressure of being the face of the franchise and still has plenty of room to grow to prove that his unique skillset translates in the NFL. For Jackson (and ultimately the Ravens) to succeed, he will need support from all areas to fend off the sophomore slump and lead Baltimore to back-to-back AFC North titles. Below are five ways the rest of the team can propel him forward: #1 Coaches: Open up the playbook It was apparent in Baltimore’s loss to the Chargers in the Wild Card that the Ravens staff did not have confidence in Lamar’s throwing abilities. A dismal 11.4 QBR in that game would make anyone weary of an aerial attack. However, if Baltimore is going to develop an offensive rhythm and keep Jackson healthy, he simply cannot come close to his average of 17 rush attempts in his seven regular season starts. In his first season as offensive coordinator, Greg Roman will need to prove he trusts Jackson to complete more than quick, short yardage passes. #2 Receivers: Build a rapport early Another offseason, another new look receiving corps. Rookie first rounder Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will be tasked with making an immediate impact, despite still recovering from foot surgery in January. As the only familiar faces, Willie Snead IV and Chris Moore must be sure hands for Jackson. Receivers must adjust to playing for a run heavy attack in a pass happy league. If the Ravens struggle offensively in the first few games of the season, it will be critical for wideouts to not point fingers at Jackson for their lack of production. #3 Tight ends: Extend drives with physicality Tight ends were always a favorite target of Flacco’s and should become a source of comfort for Jackson as well. In the 2018 draft, Baltimore doubled down on the tight end position, and now is the time for a pay off. Looking to play in his first full NFL season, Hayden Hurst has the opportunity to prove he was worthy of being selected at 25th overall. Mark Andrews flashed great potential in his rookie season, averaging 16.2 yards on 34/50 catches. #4 Defense: Create turnovers In 2017, the Ravens led the league with 22 interceptions in the regular season. Last year, Baltimore dropped all the way to 18th in the league, with just 12. Despite the large amount of talent departing this offseason, the defense will have to win the turnover battle to generate easy wins for a maturing offense. #5 Special teams: Shorten the field Finding a reliable return man has been elusive in recent years. In 2018, Chris Moore handled the majority of returns, ranking 15th in the NFL at 22.3 yards per kickoff return. With Moore likely to take on a larger role as a receiver, Baltimore may be looking for other people to fill his shoes. If Jackson can start drives with favorable field position, he will have a better chance to see success. […]

  • Madden 20 Player Ratings: Analyzing the Ravens defensive position groups
    by Frank J. Platko on July 17, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports EA officially released their launch player ratings for every team. How does Baltimore’s defense stack up? The league’s No. 1 ranked defense from 2019-20 has a different look this season, both in real life and in video game version. Here are the Ravens’ top-five rated defensive players and players whose ratings should be higher, followed by a position-by-position look at how their defense stacks up in Madden 20. Earl Thomas (95) Michael Pierce (92) Brandon Williams (86) Marlon Humphrey (85) Jimmy Smith, Tony Jefferson (84) Biggest Lowballs: Marlon Humphrey, Matthew Judon, Patrick Onwuasor, Kenny Young The highest rated Raven in @EAMaddenNFL: none other than @Earl_Thomas❗️#Madden20 pic.twitter.com/GzNwfpniBI— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) July 15, 2019 Defensive Line Michael Pierce: 92 Brandon Williams: 86 Willie Henry: 75 Chris Wormely: 71 Daylon Mack: 67 Zach Sieler: 64 Baltimore’s stout defensive tackle duo represent two of the team’s highest-rated players once again. Recency bias would tell you Michael Pierce’s overall is too high, but don’t forget just how good he’s been the past two seasons. Pierce’s 92 rating represents a bump from last year’s edition of Madden and Brandon Williams remains in the mid-to-upper 80’s range. Two names to watch are Willie Henry and Chris Wormely, as they’re both projected to player bigger roles on the Ravens defense this season. The two Michigan products are solid bets to see an overall boost as the 2019-20 campaign goes on, as is rookie Daylon Mack. Outside Linebacker Matthew Judon: 81 Pernell McPhee: 79 Tim Williams: 74 Shane Ray: 73 Tyus Bowser: 72 Jaylon Ferguson: 70 From a Madden standpoint, losing Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith, both of which possess 83 overall ratings this year, hurts. However, Baltimore is in better shape than the ratings above suggest. In my estimation, Matthew Judon is rated too low. He should somewhere in the mid 80’s but has a great chance of getting there as the season progresses. Recent free agent signing Pernell McPhee is the team’s second highest-rated OLB at 79, which is a bit surprising given his lack of success over the past couple seasons. Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser are rated appropriately given their performance through two NFL seasons, and former first-round pick Shane Ray would likely be rated higher had injuries not limited him last year. Jaylon Ferguson, aka the “Sack Daddy”, comes in at a 70 overall which, while relatively low, is fair for a rookie lacking great athleticism. With that being said, Ferguson’s overall should climb to the mid-to-upper 70’s by season’s end. Middle Linebacker Patrick Onwuasor: 74 Kenny Young: 71 Chris Board: 59 Madden’s ratings would suggest the Ravens have one of the worst starting MLB groups in the league, which obviously isn’t the case. Patrick Onwuasor is rated entirely too low in my opinion, especially after a breakout second-half of the 2019-20 season and impressive playoff performance. “Peanut” is a better all-around player than his rating suggests and figures to climb the player ratings significantly this season. Same goes for second-year linebacker Kenny Young, who should probably be around a 74-76 overall as opposed to a 71. Former UDFA Chris Board, a special teams ace last year, is set to play a significant role on defense this season, so look for his overall to increase as well. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey: 85 Jimmy Smith: 84 Brandon Carr: 81 Tavon Young: 77 Maurice Canady: 71 Anthony Averett, Justin Bethel, Iman Lewis-Marshall, Cyrus Jones: 67 Baltimore’s cornerback corps is the deepest position on their roster, maybe the deepest position group in the entire NFL and, you guessed it - the team’s best position group in Madden 20. Even so, EA lowballed some of their corners a bit with their ratings. Jimmy Smith (84) and Brandon Carr (81) are rated pretty fairly, but Marlon Humphrey should definitely be higher. Humphrey is tied for the 19th-best cornerback rating in the game despite a borderline top-10 campaign last year, and he should definitely be rated higher than some of his teammates, such as Brandon Williams. Tavon Young, a 77, is also rated a bit low considering he’s one of the league’s top slot corners. Like the remaining five names listed above, however, Young still has room for growth and could therefore see his rating improve in 2019-20. Free Safety Earl Thomas: 95 DeShon Elliott, Chuck Clark: 65 Baltimore’s highest-rated player in Madden 20 is newcomer Earl Thomas, whose 95 overall is also tops among all safeties in the game. Thomas’ zone coverage (98) and awareness (96) rating speak to his on-field abilities in real life and will make him a fun player to use in game. Behind him on the depth chart are youngsters DeShon Elliott (65) and Chuck Clark (65), both of whom are set to make their mark on special teams next year. Elliott, however, might carve out a legit role on defense given his standout play thus far in the offseason. Elliott has high upside and it’d be surprising if he’s not rated in at least the 70’s by season’s end. Strong Safety Tony Jefferson: 84 Anthony Levine Sr: 76 Tony Jefferson is the ninth highest-rated strong safety in Madden 20, and his 84 overall rating is pretty fair all things considered. Nobody will mistake Jefferson for a dynamo in pass coverage, but his hit power (85) and play recognition (93) ratings are solid. Anthony Levine Sr. is actually four overall points lower than he was in Madden 19, which is a bit surprising given how he finished the 2019-20 season. 76 may be a tad bit low but it’s hard to be too picky considering Levine is a rotational player as opposed to a full-time starter. Users can deploy Levine at linebacker, too, which the Ravens intend on doing a lot this season. […]

  • Ravens News 7/17: Locker room leaders, HC rankings and more
    by Vasilis Lericos on July 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports 2019 NFL head coach power rankings: Who follows Bill Belichick? - Elliot Harrison 7) John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens The pundits have been keeping a steady pour of haterade on John Harbaugh over the last couple of seasons. Never mind that Harbaugh, like Andy Reid, made an extremely difficult decision at quarterback last year, switching from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson in a move that pushed the Ravens to the postseason for the seventh time in his 11 seasons in Baltimore. The Ravens have done plenty of damage once reaching the playoffs during the Harbaugh era, as well, going 10-6 with a Super Bowl win and two AFC Championship Game losses. Whether he can sustain such success will be dependent on the performance of Jackson, as well as how NFL defenses adjust to the dynamic quarterback the second time through the batting order, so to speak. Defensive coordinators adjust. So do players. PFF ranks all 32 run defenses ahead of the 2019 NFL season - Michael Renner 10. BALTIMORE RAVENS There are few more impactful run-defending duos in the NFL than defensive tackles Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce. Williams has long since established himself as one of the league’s best nose tackles, but Pierce may have surpassed him at this point. The fourth-year defensive tackle has seen his run-defense grade improve from 81.4 as a rookie, to 87.9 in 2017, to 92.0 last season. Top 100 players in the NFL: Aaron Donald, Patrick Mahomes fight for top spot in 2019 rankings - Jared Dubin T-46. Earl Thomas, S, Ravens The last image we saw of Thomas on the field was him flipping off his own sideline after the Seahawks refused to pony up for a contract extension and he then broke his leg in the fourth game of the year. Before that, he was hands down the best safety in the NFL, just like he always is. The only thing preventing him from finishing higher on this list is his age (30) and suddenly-concerning injury track record. 48. Marshal Yanda, G, Ravens If Yanda is no longer the single best offensive lineman in all of football, it’s not because he’s slipped all that much. Set to turn 35 years old later this year, Yanda is obviously not quite at the peak of his powers anymore; but he has as good an argument as anybody not named Zack Martin for the title of the game’s best guard. These Ravens Will Be the Locker Room Leaders - John Eisenberg There’s Marshal Yanda, the rugged veteran guard. Coming off his seventh Pro Bowl season, he is a career Raven who sets an ideal example with his work ethic and toughness. The organization also has been impressed by the leadership capabilities of running back Mark Ingram II, who seems quite comfortable in an out-front role. All-Pro safety Earl Thomas has commanded the highest respect from the moment he set foot in the Under Armour Performance Center. And he’ll have help on his side of the ball from Patrick “Peanut” Onwuasor, who has been challenged by the coaches to shoulder a larger leadership load; and also veterans such as Brandon Williams, Tony Jefferson and Brandon Carr. Biggest Questions for Rookies Heading Into Camp - Clifton Brown Will an undrafted rookie make the Ravens’ roster for the 16*th* straight year? Several undrafted rookies have a chance to stick, such as defensive tackle Gerald Willis and wide receivers Sean Modster and Antoine Wesley. The wide receiver battle will be interesting to watch, because the Ravens will likely keep no more than six receivers and Snead, Brown, Boykin and Chris Moore are not going anywhere. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room for an undrafted rookie, but Modster and Wesley made plenty of plays during minicamp. They will need to continue that during training camp to have a realistic chance to stay. […]

  • Matt Judon among the best pass rushers of the 2016 NFL Draft
    by Kyle P Barber on July 16, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images No. 146 is a standout from the 2016 class Back in 2016, the Ravens need for a top-tier edge rusher was steadily growing. After a dominant performance by Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil in 2014 in which the tandem combined for 29.0 sacks, the following year was not a repeat. Terrell Suggs played only a single game as he suffered a torn Achilles and Dumervil produced only six sacks after his 17.0 sack season the year prior. The entire 2015 season eventually collapsed, as Joe Flacco suffered a torn ACL and there became a rotation of quarterbacks, including Ryan Mallett, Matt Schaub and Jimmy Clausen. At seasons’ end, the franchise finished 5-11, earning them the sixth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. This was a small positive as the need for pass-rusher, as I previously stated, was growing. Both Dumervil and Suggs were aging and they needed to groom a player now, rather than later. At the top of the list was none other than Ohio State superstar, Joey Bosa. Baltimore was inching towards him as a top selection, as both the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams had their sites set on a pair of quarterbacks at first and second overall, leaving the Ravens to secure one of Ezekiel Elliott, Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil or Bosa. We all remember how it played out. Baltimore never gets a chance to pick the star edge prospect, as the then-San Diego Chargers take him with the third overall pick. This is a story with a good ending, though. A story where the Ravens had their cake and ate it, too. While the team was searching for pass rushers, Baltimore was also desperate for a left tackle to protect Flacco after the season-ending injury, which led them to picking LT Ronnie Stanley at sixth overall. Then, 140 picks later, they swipe up a Division-II standout from Grand Valley State: DE Matt Judon. Fast-forward three years later and Judon is among the best in his position, and the numbers are impressive. Third in sacks, trailing only Yannick Ngakoue and Joey Bosa Second in tackles for loss, trailing only Bosa Second in combined tackles, trailing only Bosa Third in QB Hits, trailing Ngakoue and Bosa Many fear if Judon can take the next leap in his dominant play as Suggs headed off to Arizona this offseason. My advice: I recommend not betting against No. 99. […]

 

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