Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less

012321-Eisenberg

Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

The Ravens' defense would miss each of its pending free agents, but Matthew Judon tops the list. He led the team in quarterback hits in 2020 but is way more than just a pass rusher. It wouldn't be easy to replace someone who plays that hard and makes things happen.

 Their ability to retain Judon could depend on how his market evolves – a gray area for all free agents in 2021 with the salary cap liable to decrease for the first time due to the pandemic. The uncertainty makes things less predictable but could improve the Ravens' chances with Judon.

In a related concern, while the Ravens' offensive needs are apparent heading into the offseason, i.e., another lineman, another receiving target, they could get pushed down the priority list by the possible need for a serious reset on the defensive edge, where only Jaylon Ferguson is under contract for 2021.

Having said all that, the one hands-down, must-do item on their fix-it list is eliminating any and all issues with the snap from center to Lamar Jackson. However they clean that up, it must be done. You can't operate out of the pistol with that issue and expect to win.

I'm guessing Mark Ingram II will have his choice of landing spots, and not just because of his leadership and professionalism. Although he ceded much of his workload to more productive backs in 2020, he still averaged 4.2 yards per carry. He'd still put up numbers with a heavier workload.

I get that the Ravens might have trouble luring a big-name free agent wide receiver, who'd likely get more action elsewhere. But there are other ways for them to add the skillset they're looking for, namely, with a trade. It's too early to throw out names, but there'll be options.

I wouldn't dismiss the offense's performance in Buffalo as a total disaster just because it produced three points. It was just 23 yards shy of its 2020 yards-per-game average. Going 0-for-3 in the red zone (after scoring touchdowns on 63 percent of its visits during the season) was the disaster.

The Ravens should feel good about where they stand at backup quarterback going forward with both Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley having shown real potential when thrust into challenging situations in 2020. I'm sure they'll battle it out for No. 2, but the team probably will keep and need both.

I'm sure the Ravens would gladly take the same level of contribution from their 2021 rookies that they received from their 2020 class. Patrick Queen and J.K. Dobbins are emerging cornerstones. Justin Madubuike and Tyre Phillips are future starters. Devin Duvernay and others are viable pieces. So much to like.

Joe Flacco just turned 36 and is 2-10 as a starter (for the Broncos and Jets) since being replaced here in 2018. He has morphed into an ideal backup who can come in and move the chains. But I can't help wondering how much longer he wants to keep going.

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