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Late for Work: Rich Eisen Scoffs at Lamar Jackson Being Behind Brock Purdy in QB Power Rankings

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Rich Eisen Scoffs at Lamar Jackson Being Behind Brock Purdy in QB Power Rankings

NFL Network's Rich Eisen pushed back on CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin's recent quarterback power rankings, which had Lamar Jackson at No. 6 (as noted in Late for Work last week).

The five quarterbacks ranked ahead of Jackson were: the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, San Francisco 49ers' Brock Purdy, Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen, Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow, and Houston Texans' C.J. Stroud.

Eisen, who has been a vocal Purdy supporter, scoffed at him being ranked four spots ahead of Jackson.

"Purdy's my guy, but you gotta be kidding me," Eisen said on "The Rich Eisen Show." "I love him, but you can't sit here and tell me you'd take him over Lamar Jackson in a game that you've got to win right now."

Eisen noted that Jackson has the third-highest winning percentage (.753) among starting quarterbacks since 1970 (minimum of 50 starts), trailing only Mahomes and Tom Brady.

T.J. Jefferson, one of Eisen's co-hosts, pointed out that Jackson is a two-time league MVP, which seems to get minimized when pundits put together their quarterback rankings. Except for Mahomes, the quarterbacks ranked ahead of Jackson on Benjamin's list have yet to win an MVP award.

"It does seem when it comes to MVPs and Lamar it's like it doesn't matter as much," Jefferson said.

NFL Defenses Are Replicating What Mike Macdonald Created With Ravens

The Ravens created a revolutionary offense several years ago. Now they are being credited with inspiring a defensive philosophical shift.

The Athletic's Ted Nguyen said new Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Mike Macdonald's scheme as the Ravens' defensive coordinator the past two seasons had NFL offenses guessing and defenses following his lead.

"What the Ravens have done so well is they pressure in so many ways that you can't get a bead on them," former NFL center A.Q. Shipley told The Athletic. "The other thing that's great about them is you might watch them one week against Pittsburgh and it looks completely different against Cleveland, so it's tough, too, because you've got to make so many in-game adjustments."

Nguyen wrote: "One of the reasons the Ravens could present so many different looks for offenses to deal with is how Macdonald teaches his pressure packages. … Instead of learning pressures attached to fronts, Macdonald teaches his players pressure patterns so they know each other's jobs and how to execute different pressures from different fronts. This approach isn't particularly unique to Macdonald. Some coaches teach some of their pressures this way but Macdonald completely leans into it to ensure his system is as flexible and easy to learn as possible. Then he can easily mix fronts and pressures and add layers to them. The Ravens don't deploy a ton of different fronts and pressures, but they have endless ways of changing the presentation for offenses."

New Defensive Coordinator Zach Orr, who served as Baltimore's inside linebackers coach the past two seasons, said his goal is to build on Macdonald's scheme.

"That's a scheme that we helped build here for years. It's been a scheme in [the] making," Orr said at his introductory press conference in February. "We will find out in the offseason studies – in the self-scout studies of what we want to do and how we're going to build on it and what we'll change up and how we can get better."

Pundit Says Ravens Look Worse on Paper, But It'll Likely Be Different Story Once Season Starts’s Gregg Rosenthal projected the starting lineups for the AFC North teams. Here are some of his takeaways for the Ravens:

  • "The right tackle and starting guard spots are up for grabs. Former Cardinals and Texans lineman Josh Jones is an interesting reserve name to watch. He's talented. Second-round pick Roger Rosengarten could start from Day 1."
  • "Isaiah Likely is listed as a starter above because he matters more to this offense than slot receiver Nelson Agholor or rookie Devontez Walker. Expect a lot of two tight end sets."
  • "No team is more likely to find quality snaps from free agents still on the market. The Ravens could add help at edge rusher, guard and receiver."
  • "The Ravens are one of the few teams that look worse on paper after the offseason. Losing Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald also hurts. Then again, John Harbaugh, Eric DeCosta and Lamar Jackson usually have a way of making roster holes look better once it's time to suit up."

Upon Further Review, Ravens 'Only' Have Fourth-Toughest Schedule

You've probably seen that the Ravens have the second-toughest schedule in 2024 based on opponents' winning percentage last season.

Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis contends that a more accurate way to measure strength of schedule is to look at opponents' projected win totals for the coming season.

Using that formula, the Ravens "only" have the fourth-toughest schedule. Two of the three teams with more difficult schedules than the Ravens also reside in the AFC North (Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns).

Based on Sharp's model, only four of the 17 teams with the hardest schedules last season went to the playoffs. The Ravens were one of them.

The NFL schedule will be announced tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Our own Ryan Mink took a stab at predicting the Ravens’ schedule.

Yet Another Pundit Links Dalton Risner to Ravens

Add ESPN's Bill Barnwell to the list of pundits who believe the Ravens should sign free-agent guard Dalton Risner.

"Risner went into the 2023 offseason looking for a long-term deal after four seasons with the Broncos only to languish on the market into September, when he signed a one-year deal with the Vikings," Barnwell wrote. "He moved into the starting lineup the next month and stayed there at left guard for the remainder of the season, with NFL Next Gen Stats crediting him for zero sacks allowed across 11 starts.

"Here we are in the 2024 offseason, and ... Risner is still a free agent. When a solid player doesn't get a contract extension in consecutive offseasons, your mind naturally wanders to medical concerns, but he has missed just four games because of injuries over his five-year career. After entering the starting lineup in Minnesota, he missed just four snaps over the remaining 11 games. It certainly seems as if he's physically capable of holding up to steady work as a starting guard."

Barnwell said Risner could be the latest undervalued offensive lineman to find a home with the Ravens, following the likes of Morgan Moses and John Simpson, who both joined the New York Jets this offseason.

"The Ravens also love to play the compensatory pick formula game, and they can play both sides with Risner," Barnwell wrote. "By waiting until after June 1 to bring in the veteran guard, they won't cost themselves one of the four picks they're currently set to land after losing Simpson, Jadeveon Clowney and Patrick Queen in free agency. Then, if Risner finally does sign that long-term deal with another team next offseason, Baltimore would be in position to pick up a compensatory selection for its one-year dalliance with him."

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