Ravens shaky on MNF
Monday Night Football was insane, as the Ravens blew it against Jon Gruden’s Las Vegas Raiders.
Baltimore almost did not survive the preseason, losing three running backs and Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters due to injuries. Running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill are all believed to be out for the season.
We never take any joy in injuries to the other team, especially because it can be used as an excuse for losing to our team. We really don’t want to hear that the Ravens were going to win it all had they not had injuries. To their credit, the Ravens don’t talk like that either.
However, the fact of the matter is that, in this fan’s opinion, the team has been headed in the wrong direction even without all those injuries. This year’s theme of converting Lamar Jackson into more of a polished pocket passer is just misguided.
Anyway, despite the personnel losses, the Ravens found fourth-string running back Ty’Son Williams, who gained 65 yards on nine carries (7.22 yards per carry). As a team, the Ravens rang up 189 yards on the ground versus the Raiders. We don’t need to feel sorry for the Ravens, because they do not feel sorry for themselves. What we learned — yet again — is that this is a very resourceful organization that is very good at finding talent.
Even before the running back injuries, Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta has emphasized getting more speedy wide receivers to help quarterback Lamar Jackson become more of a pocket passer. As a Browns fan, I respect Jackson as a pocket passer. However, as a dual-threat quarterback, I confess that Jackson causes me to pee my pants, especially when he runs behind runaway rhinoceros-turned-fullback Patrick Ricard.
They used to have Orlando Brown, Jr. to clear out the right side of the line, but this season they have switched to older and lighter Alejandro Villanueva. Brown wanted out of Baltimore for reasons that were partly business and partly personal, but in any case, it did not help the running game. That running game gained over 3,000 yards in 2019. What was so wrong about that?
Marcus Peters may be harder to replace. The next man up is Anthony Averett who has been groomed slowly, with two All-Pros ahead of him in Peters and Marlon Humphrey. But Averett ran a 4.36 40-yard dash at the Combine, so it’s not like he’s lacking in raw ability.
The Ravens need to find out if Tavon Young and Chris Westry can play cornerback. Depth is an issue. The cliché is true that you can never have enough defensive backs.
Derek Carr is a very underrated quarterback, but in any case, he torched them for 435 yards on MNF. That tells us that they have not figured out how to compensate for the loss of Peters just yet. Derek Carr provided a formula for picking them apart.
Conversely, as long as the Ravens are fixated on converting Lamar Jackson into a pocket passer, they will impede themselves from reaching their full potential on offense.
The Ravens are still a threat, but not necessarily the dominant team that some analysts believe them to be.