Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less

100320-Eisenberg

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

It's easy to lose sight of the big picture during a season, especially after a disappointing defeat. But when the Ravens sign a cornerstone player such as cornerback Marlon Humphrey to a long contract extension, they take a big step toward their goal of fielding a consistent playoff contender.

Humphrey exemplifies the fruits of the Ravens' best-player-available drafting philosophy. Wide receiver and center were regarded as the team's biggest lineup holes at the time (2017). When the Ravens selected a cornerback instead of tight end O.J. Howard, some yawned. But Humphrey was an All-Pro by his third season.

Any team, Ravens included, wants to sign its best young players to "second" contracts at the right price. But the determination is accelerated with a player as young as Humphrey, who turned 24 in July. Seldom can you extend a player who is so young he hasn't reached his peak.

It's nice to get Humphrey locked up, but the Ravens are still facing a long list of talented, young players who also need to be extended. Ronnie Stanley would be my immediate priority, as All-Pro offensive tackles are hard to find and he's in the last year of his deal.

Your eyes aren't deceiving you: Opponents are throwing more pressure at Lamar Jackson as part of their plan for slowing him down. According to Pro Football Reference, the Ravens' quarterback is being pressured on 25.3 percent of his dropbacks this season, up from 16.2 percent a year ago.

Your eyes also aren't deceiving you in that the Ravens are blitzing a lot (more than any team, according to Pro Football Reference) but not receiving corresponding payback for their efforts. Baltimore ranks No. 24 in pressure percentage, which calculates how often opposing quarterbacks are pressured on dropbacks.

Loved hearing John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin both shrug at the schedule change announced Friday. Teams just have to accept minor inequities in the competitive-balance equation this season. Various locales have various approaches to having fans at games. Adjustments to the schedule will contain pluses and minus. So it goes.

The Ravens not only led the league in rushing by a wide margin last season, they also led in rushing attempts by a wide margin (98 more than any other team over 16 games).

So far this year, Baltimore trails 10 other teams in rushing attempts per game.

I get why the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns are feeling better about possibly competing with the Ravens in the AFC North after Monday night. But Pittsburgh has beaten three teams with a combined 1-9 record, and Cleveland's two wins are against teams that are a combined 1-4-1. Much TBD.

Only two teams have lost more turnovers than Washington this season. Only one has generated more turnovers than the Ravens. It's the NFL, which can be wildly unpredictable, so who knows how Sunday's game will unfold? But that turnover disparity strongly suggests a possible storyline.

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