Free Agent Wide Receiver Allen Lazard '*Fits Baltimore's Offensive Identity*'
While there will be plenty of speculation about the possibility of the Ravens drafting a first-round wide receiver, pundits also expect Baltimore to pursue solutions in free agency.
According to Heavy.com’s James Dudko, there's already one perfect for the Ravens to sign. Dudko wrote free agent to be Allen Lazard would "struggle to find a better destination than M&T Bank Stadium."
Dudko has Lazard being a great acquisition for the Ravens due to his size, with Lazard standing 6-foot-5 and 227 pounds.
"The Packers didn't always take full advantage of Lazard's physical traits, but No. 13 still proved he can make big plays," Dudko wrote. "One of his best was this 42-yard catch against the Miami Dolphins in Week 16:"
"There aren't many cornerbacks capable of beating Lazard to a jump ball or getting around him to prevent a contested catch," Dudko wrote. "Those attributes should've made Lazard the go-to target in the Packers' passing attack…"
With the Ravens wanting to develop their passing game but continue to dominate with their run game, Dudko noted Lazard's effectiveness as a blocker.
Dudko isn't alone in considering this match, with ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler also seeing this as a positive pairing.
"Elsewhere, the Ravens typically don't take big swings at wide receiver in free agency, but I talked to a few coaches in Mobile who think Baltimore should add a pass-catcher, in large part because its top two wideouts -- Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay -- are coming off injury," Fowler wrote. "The Ravens need fresh legs, and a do-it-all receiver like Allen Lazard would be a fit."
Rounding Out the Ravens Offensive Coordinator Search
The Ravens' search for a new offensive coordinator continues with candidates scheduled to speak with Head Coach John Harbaugh.
According to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec, a second round of interviews has begun, with more scheduled for the next few days.
"Harbaugh has already had second interviews in Baltimore with three candidates after the first interviews were done via video call," Zrebiec wrote. "Those three candidates are University of Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken, Minnesota Vikings pass game coordinator and tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, and former Ravens wide receivers and tight ends coach and Wisconsin offensive coordinator Bobby Engram. At least two more candidates are expected in town Monday and Tuesday: Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Justin Outten."
Though it appears the search is narrowing for the Ravens, Zrebiec wouldn't be surprised if the team hired none of the five receiving a second round of interviews in favor of a coach on either Super Bowl competitor.
"…there are a number of assistants on the Super Bowl staffs who could be of interest, including Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, senior offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy and wide receivers coach Joe Bleymaier; and Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson and pass game coordinator Kevin Patullo," Zrebiec wrote. "The Ravens are not allowed to speak to any assistants preparing for Sunday's Super Bowl until after the game."
But the chance to land "their guy" may be time sensitive, and for that, Zrebiec doesn't expect the Ravens to wait, especially with many other teams searching for a coordinator of their own.
"It's also not a guarantee that the Ravens will wait, particularly if one of their preferred candidates is coveted for another job and has a deadline to make a decision," Zrebiec wrote. "There are still eight teams, including the Ravens, who are looking to fill their offensive coordinator vacancies, so the timing isn't necessarily in Baltimore's control."
Ravens Players React to Rumor of Tackling Changes
As the NFL searches for new ways to make the game safer, a new possibility sparked response from players across the NFL. According to the NFL's CMO Allen Sills, the league plans to "have a conversation" about "hip drop" tackles.
The responses from across the player base was of resounding frustration, and Ravens defenders Marlon Humphrey and Patrick Queen weren't fans of this either.