03 July, 2023
For a little period, that was strange, but I never for a moment entertained the idea that Lamar Jackson would play quarterback for a team other than the Baltimore Ravens. A leap of faith was required. like when you are patiently waiting for your child to tidy up their room in spite of their objections. And even if you doubt it will ever be finished, it does. even if it means doing it by yourself. Thankfully, I didn’t need to personally go and get his new contract with the Ravens; it already happened. What does that indicate about the upcoming year? A good query. However, it’s important to look back before moving forward.
Making the playoffs was one of last season’s highlights. Jackson played just 12 games in 2022, but Baltimore still advanced to the postseason. When the Ravens were 9-4, they appeared to be among the NFL’s top teams.
The season before, Lamar Jackson’s knee injury was one negative. In Week 13, Jackson strained his ankle against the Broncos. Lamar was supposed to come back for the playoffs, but he never did. The Bengals’ DE Sam Hubbard ran 98 yards the other way for the game-winning touchdown after Jackson’s backup Tyler Huntley attempted to dive into the end zone from what appeared to be the 5-yard line. The Ravens also suffered a heartbreaking loss in the postseason. Yes, that was somewhat disappointing.
Lamar Jackson plays quarterback. With an average annual value of $52 million under his new five-year, $260 million contract, Jackson became the highest-paid player in the league. In league history, he received the signing bonus with the highest value ($72.5 million). The good news is that he’s committed for the next five years, as I’ve already indicated. The team was somewhat affected by the contract talks for a spell. The undisputed MVP for 2019 is officially inked and prepared to go.
MVP predicted for 2023: Jackson. We have witnessed what he represents to this club and how the Ravens function differently without him. In each of the previous two seasons, he has missed five games. When Jackson sustained an ankle injury in Week 14 of 2021, the Ravens were leading the AFC North. That year, they came in last place in their division. Even though the Ravens struggled without him late in the previous season, they still made the playoffs. In regular-season games since Jackson took over as the starter in 2018, the Ravens have gone 45-16 with him and 4-8 without. With him in the lineup, Baltimore has averaged 28 points a game, which would place them second in the NFL over that time period (as opposed to 17.2 points without him). He needs to be healthy for the team.
Odell Beckham, a wide receiver, is a new name to remember. After spending the entire 2017 season as a free agent while he healed from an ACL tear, OBJ is returning to the field to compete in football games. I hope OBJ, who committed to Baltimore in April with a one-year contract, experiences the same thing. Since 2019, wide receivers for the Ravens have averaged 107.3 receiving yards per game, the fewest in the NFL by more than 25 yards per game. Odell now holds the 10th-best overall qualifying player average in NFL history with 76.7 receiving yards per game throughout the course of his NFL career. He is one of the guys who were brought in to relieve Jackson of some of the pressure.
Rising star in 2023: safety Kyle Hamilton. It was humorous. I wondered, “How do the Ravens always seem to get players like this?” when they selected him with the 14th overall pick in last year’s draft. He ought to have been chosen much sooner. Hamilton only started four games last year, but this year, his role will increase, and I anticipate him to take that step.
I want to take this opportunity to praise John Harbaugh once more since he continues to be one of the NFL’s most underappreciated head coaches. Despite Jackson being out late last year, he was still able to get the Ravens into the tournament, and — I hate to bring up this terrible memory for Ravens fans — they came so close to defeating the Bengals in the playoffs.
Greg Roman, who left the Ravens after six seasons (four of which he served as offensive coordinator), was replaced by Todd Monken, who was a big acquisition for the organization. In addition to returning to the NFL, where he previously worked as an offensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns, Monken helped Georgia win back-to-back national championships. During his time with the Bucs, Monken enjoyed tossing the football, as you might have noticed. A lot. What effect will that have on the Ravens? One of the most important queries going into this season is that. I mean, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they chose a play-caller who might be pass-heavy.
Rearranging the roster
The Ravens’ most significant roster changes for the 2023 season are summarized below, including the team’s draft selections from this year as well as significant signings and trades.
Week 2: Bengals game in Cincinnati. The Ravens’ first game of the season is at home versus the Texans, which resembles one of those early-season SEC non-conference contests before conference play begins.
Los Angeles Chargers in Week 12 (Sunday night). These groups have some postseason experience. This contest might serve as a warm-up for another playoff game. Both teams have a chance to be fairly good and, if injuries hadn’t plagued them so severely the past several years, may have been contenders for the AFC championship.
Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 18. Every year, the final week of the regular season, these two adversaries should square off. I adore these conflicts. This may be a battle for the AFC North or at the very least a spot in the playoffs. If it’s not, something will have gone badly wrong.
Will they be able to rely on another person to compliment Mark Andrews? Since 2019, Andrews has led all tight ends in receiving receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns for his team. Additionally, since the 2019 season, Andrews has the second-most receptions (302), receiving yards (3,761), and receiving touchdowns (31) among tight ends. who is in charge of such categories? It is, of course, Travis Kelce. However, Andrews now has some support in Baltimore. We already discussed our guy, OBJ, in this article. Zay Flowers, a former star at Boston College who recorded 1,285 yards on long passes from 2020 to 2022 (third among Power 5 receivers), was selected by the team with a first-round choice. Pro Football Focus reports that he also amassed 1,197 yards after the catch throughout that time. The 2021 first-round draft pick Rashod Bateman will make a full recovery. Not to mention J.K. Dobbins’ scorching finale. Since joining the league in 2020, Dude has missed 27 games, yet from Week 14 through Week 17 (the Ravens rested him in Week 18), he led the NFL in rushing yards with 397.
Fix the pass defense, please. The defense of the Ravens is renowned. That cannot ever be altered. The Ravens’ pass defense, which finished 26th in the league last year, can still be improved, despite this. The Ravens finished third in scoring defense last season, but overall, the team wasn’t terrible. The arrival of Roquan Smith, who came via a trade with the Bears at midseason, may be the deciding factor. Before he joined the organization, the Ravens allowed 266.8 passing yards per game. After he arrived, they started giving up 201.4 passing yards per game. Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo, two young edge rushers, could yet improve, which would be beneficial for this attempt.
People are overthinking one narrative: The Ravens are doomed if they behind in games. There seem to be a lot of ridiculous claims made about Lamar Jackson’s throwing ability. Has anyone ever noticed that the Ravens have never selected a Pro Bowl receiver in their whole history? They haven’t had much luck selecting receivers, but I hope that improves with Zay Flowers. Just to add, Jackson leads the NFL in pass yards per attempt (9.2) and passer rating (115.8) since at least 2000 (minimum 50 attempts) when the Ravens are trailing with two minutes or less to play in the fourth quarter. In those situations, he also has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 5:1, which is tied for second in the NFL during that time. That guy can throw it.
To be successful in 2023, the Ravens MUST:
triumph in the playoffs once more. That’s accurate. You must succeed in the postseason if you want to reset the market for quarterbacks. In his career, Lamar Jackson is just 1-3 in the postseason. Since the 2020 season, he has not participated in a postseason game. The Ravens must move on to the next phase now. Not that anybody’s job is in jeopardy or anything. But it would be a major letdown if the Ravens made it to the playoffs and dropped their opening contest, like they did in three of their previous four postseason outings.