Ravens Were Reportedly in the Mix for Jamal Adams
The trade deadline passed Tuesday without the Ravens making a move, but it turns out General Manager Eric DeCosta was reportedly eyeing a safety.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Ravens were "actively going after" New York Jets safety Jamal Adams.
The Dallas Cowboys were also among the teams reportedly interested in Adams, but the asking price was too high. The Jets reportedly wanted multiple first-round picks for the Pro Bowl safety.
"That is a huge, huge collection of picks," NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said. "That shows you Adams has real and legitimate value. It actually enhances his value in the Jets' organization because it's basically what you trade a Pro Bowler for."
After losing safeties Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliott to season-ending injuries, the reports indicate DeCosta was looking to upgrade in the secondary even after acquiring Marcus Peters.
However, pundits weren't surprised the Ravens steered away from the price tag.
"The Ravens were wise not to overspend," Ebony Bird’s Chris Schisler wrote. "No move really lined up for them. … Being a contender today, while preserving the ability to improve for the 2020 season and beyond is not a bad deal."
Ravens Wire’s Matthew Stevens also didn't count out the possibility of the Ravens still having interest in Adams this offseason.
"While Baltimore couldn't land Adams at the NFL trade deadline, there could still be some interest this offseason," Stevens wrote. "It's unlikely New York will suddenly completely drop the idea of trading Adams and one side could be swayed come next offseason."
Trading for a pass rusher was always a possibility, but it never seemed like a realistic option. Players like Von Miller, Ryan Kerrigan, and Yannick Ngakoue were reportedly never made available and would have likely cost a premium in draft picks.
"DeCosta simply was not going to part with a high draft pick, especially considering the tepid market for pass rushers and the asking price for the elite receivers," Sports Illustrated’s Todd Karpovich wrote.
Not making a deal Tuesday didn't stop ESPN’s Dan Graziano and SI’s Conor Orr from naming the Ravens trade deadline winners.
"The beneficiary of the Rams' need to clear out money in their secondary before getting Ramsey was Baltimore, which picked up Peters to help out in its own secondary," Graziano wrote. "He made a big play in his Baltimore debut and should inject a dynamic element into a defense that went through a major overhaul in the offseason."
Added Orr: "There are some really impressive organizational performances this season, from the Colts to the 49ers. I would argue that Baltimore is keeping pace and that, a few years from now, we might be studying some of their approaches to 2019 and beyond."
Pundits Believe Lamar Jackson, Ravens' Offense are Built to Beat the Patriots
The New England Patriots' defense is off to a historic start and no quarterback has been able to crack Head Coach Bill Belichick's scheme. But the Patriots haven't faced a quarterback quite like Lamar Jackson.
"He's easily the best quarterback they've played this year," The Ringer’s Bill Simmons said. "I'm nervous … The Ravens, time and time again, have really given it to the Pats."
Good Morning Football's Nate Burleson said he has "no doubt" Jackson could be the quarterback to end the Patriots' undefeated run.
"They're going to test his young mind and see if he has a high IQ just like we've seen in the beginning part of the season," Burleson said. "He's in a position where he's going to have to play his best football, not just physically but also mentally."
Jackson's legs have been a certified cheat code this season. According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, Jackson leads the NFL 262 scramble yards, 88 more than the next quarterback.
"Once he escapes the pocket, Jackson turns the NFL into a backyard game and he is the baddest guy on the block," Hensley wrote. "He fakes out the sport's best athletes so badly they collapse to the ground, creating instant and embarrassing GIFs. If you believe he's only going to run the ball when the original play breaks down, Jackson will bait defenders toward him before uncorking a 50-yard pass downfield."
NFL Network’s David Carr believes the Ravens have the edge over the Patriots in the run game. Baltimore is averaging 204 rushing yards per game this season while New England is allowing the 12th most yards per carry (4.6).
"If Jackson can execute and refrain from committing turnovers – remember, the Patriots are a takeaway machine – Baltimore will have a real opportunity to knock off Goliath," Carr wrote.
While the secondary has been the Patriots' strength, Carr noted that they are using man coverage at the highest rate in the NFL this season (62.4 percent). With the defenders' eyes focused downfield on the receivers, it could open more rushing lanes for Jackson.
"Jackson scrambles at a significantly higher rate in his career vs. man coverage (13.6 percent, highest in the NFL) than he does vs. zone coverage (8.1 percent), according to Pro Football Focus," Carr wrote. "He's had a ton of success doing so, with 14.3 yards per scramble vs. man in his career – 7.2 yards per rush more than when he scrambles against zone coverage."
Belichick is the best at taking away what you do best, and there's no doubt he'll have a plan to try to stop Jackson. Both Burleson and Carr acknowledged that it means Jackson will need to use his arm to beat the Patriots.
"This is not going to be Jackson running all over the place," Burleson said. "The legs are merely just a tool to open up the passing game. If they can take advantage of the passing game, that's where they'll do their damage."
Jackson has shown vast improvements in that department this season.
"Through eight weeks, Jackson has thrown more dimes than Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz, and Matt Ryan, so he's not afraid to let it fly, especially with the addition of rookie speedster Marquise Brown," Carr wrote.
If that's not convincing enough, dual-threat quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick have had a strong track record against Belichick and the Patriots.
Not to mention, the Ravens have won 10 straight prime-time games at home.
"Like all young quarterbacks, Jackson] can see ghosts,” [Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel wrote. "In his case, he can also just run away from them."
Three Ravens Named to Pro Football Focus' Midseason All-Pro Team
Heading into Week 9 it's no fluke the Ravens are among the AFC contenders, and three players who've contributed to that success were named to Pro Football Focus’ Midseason All-Pro Team.
Ronnie Stanley, Marcus Peters, and Justin Tucker earned honors from PFF based on their rankings, snap counts and roles this season.
Stanley has been a top-shelf tackle protecting Jackson's blindside. He's the highest-graded left tackle this season, according to PFF.
"On 259 pass-blocking snaps, the former top-10 pick has allowed only four pressures," PFF wrote. "Only three other full-time starters at either tackle spot have allowed fewer than 10."
On the other side of the ball, Peters provided an immediate impact after being traded from the Los Angeles Rams. He had a pick-six against the Seahawks and allowed just one catch for eight yards on four targets.
"Even though the Rams dealt him away for seemingly pennies, it wasn't because of Peters' on-field," PFF wrote. "He's allowed only 11 catches on 265 coverage snaps this season – the fewest receptions per coverage snap of any starting cornerback in the league."
As for Tucker, it's self-explanatory at this point.
Head Coach John Harbaugh also got some major props from PFF, as he is currently the league's top-decision maker. PFF has loved his aggressive approach.