Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less

040221-Eisenberg

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

My original expectation for this offseason was the Ravens would add a veteran and a rookie at each of their biggest positions of need – wide receiver, offensive line and edge defender. They're on track to do just that with the Kevin Zeitler and Sammy Watkins additions having started the process.

Obviously, if that's the blueprint, they still need to add a veteran edge defender. But they shouldn't be in any hurry with interesting candidates such as Justin Houston, Melvin Ingram III and Jadeveon Clowney still available as free agents. Generally, the longer you wait, the more prices drop.

Houston makes the most sense for the Ravens after so many of their 2020 sacks and quarterback hits departed in free agency. They need someone who is durable and can make things happen (and finish) on passing downs. Houston totaled 19 sacks in 2019 and 2020 without missing a game.

It's startling to check the stats and see that L.J. Fort totaled as many solo tackles at Matthew Judon in 2020 (31) and three more combined tackles than Judon. Yes, Judon had far more sacks and quarterback hits, but Fort, who re-signed this week, is an under-the-radar major contributor.

If anything, the re-signing of linebacker Tyus Bowser illustrates that sacks aren't the only statistic that accurately measure usefulness at his position. The Ravens' decision to bring Bowser back began with the fact that he's a good pass defender and sets a solid edge against the run.

The Ravens have a history of drafting players at positions you don't expect, i.e., not positions of immediate need, partly because they're looking a few years down the line. Their J.K. Dobbins pick is the most recent example. I'm thinking it might be a cornerback this year.

They're seemingly rich in proven cornerbacks with Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, Anthony Averett and Tavon Young, but injuries have a way of thinning those ranks, and other than Humphrey, the youngest of the group is Averett, who turns 27 later this year.

I'm not a huge fan of the move to a 17-game regular season partly because I'm anal and loved the mathematical cleanliness of the 16-game season, four-team divisions, etc. But I also wasn't big on expanding the playoff field a year ago and that worked out fine, so, like, whatever.

With the addition of the Los Angeles Rams to the Ravens' schedule, Baltimore will now face six 2020 playoff qualifiers at M&T Bank Stadium during the 2021 season. Sounds tough, but their 2021 non-divisional road schedule includes just one 2020 playoff qualifier and it's the Bears, who went 8-8.

This isn't about the Ravens, but I'm into full disclosure: Heading into the final weekend of my family's annual March Madness bracket competition, I'm only ahead of a dog, whose picks were truly indiscriminate, and a toddler, whose selections were based strictly on school colors. Hey, it happens.

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