Late for Work 10/7: Ravens are 'Going to be Aggressive' at the Trade Deadline

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GM Eric DeCosta

How Aggressive Will the Ravens be at the Deadline?

The Ravens surprised the NFL world last season when they traded for Marcus Peters, and there's a growing expectation that General Manager Eric DeCosta could be aggressive again before the trade deadline.

"I think that's likely," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec said on Glenn Clark Radio. "That's sort of DeCosta's personality. He's aggressive. He's always looking out there, and he's very creative. … When there's somebody available, Eric at least puts in the call to see if [the Ravens] can at least throw their hat in the ring.

"You could see teams wanting to dump salary because they know what's ahead in terms of the cap decrease. I think teams may be more aggressive in looking to move on from some guys that may not be available. … I think the Ravens are going to be aggressive."

Zrebiec said the most glaring need for the Ravens remains the pass rush, and a name that's being mentioned as a potential trade candidate is Houston Texans All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt.

"What [the Texans] have to do, and this is really uncomfortable for them, is to trade Watt," Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd said. "... He's wildly popular in Houston and he will be forever, but if you don't have draft picks and you don't have draft picks going forward, you can get both moving one player.

"He's perfect for Seattle. He's perfect for Baltimore. … Most teams in this league in the salary cap era get to the trading deadline, and there's one thing they know they need, they just can't afford it. If you can afford a $15 million defensive lineman, Watt is going to be available."

Watt could be the missing piece for the pass rush in Baltimore, but Zrebiec questioned the fit financially and questioned how willing the Texans would be to move on from their star defender.

"You wonder if they get desperate, but [Watt] is the Texans," Zrebiec said. "He is Houston. He's the most popular guy there. So that would be a really tough pill to swallow.

"If you're the Ravens, that's getting older and that's getting more expensive again."

After trading for Calais Campbell and signing Derek Wolfe this offseason, Watt would be another defensive addition over 30 years old. Not to mention, he's owed $15.5 million this season and $17.5 million in 2021.

After signing Marlon Humphrey to a five-year extension, the Ravens have around $13.5 million in cap space to work with, according to Russell Street Report's Brian McFarland.

That's enough to make a move, but there's nothing to definitively suggest that Watt is the Ravens' top target. After all, no one expected Peters to be available before the deadline.

Power Rankings: One*-*Loss Ravens Still Ahead of a Pack of Undefeated Teams

While a team's record typically tells you where they'll fall in the power rankings, there's not always a direct correlation.

In the case of the one-loss Ravens, pundits still have confidence in them ahead of some undefeated teams.

"Six days after a humbling loss to the Chiefs in prime time … Baltimore looked nothing like the discombobulated unit that was lit up by Patrick Mahomes, jumping out to a 14-0 lead in a game in which Washington never seriously threatened," NFL.com's Dan Hanzus wrote. "Marlon Humphrey celebrated his rich new contract with a forced fumble in the first quarter that set up the game's first score. The Ravens lead the NFL in points off turnovers this season with 38. They get another favorable matchup this week against the [Cincinnati] Bengals."

Hanzus ranked the Ravens third, ahead of the undefeated Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, and Tennessee Titans.

Not every pundit agrees with Hanzus, but his take has validity. The Ravens' lone loss came to the best team in football. And other than that, they've handled their business through the first four weeks of the season.

While the Steelers and Titans didn't play last week, some of the undefeated teams looked shaky. Both the Seahawks and Bills squeaked out wins against lesser opponents in Week 4.

"The Ravens have beaten the teams they are supposed to, topping 30 points in all three wins against teams with a combined record of 4-8," Bleacher Report wrote. "And with two more games … on tap before the bye, it's not hard to imagine the Ravens will be 5-1 when they host the currently undefeated Steelers in Week 8."

ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) gives the Ravens a 96.1 percent chance to make the playoffs, and their schedule is favorable the rest of the season.

"It's tempting to say this is too low for Baltimore," ESPN's Jamison Hensley wrote. "The Ravens have the second-easiest remaining schedule, according to FPI. Baltimore is favored by more than a touchdown in eight of its final 12 regular-season games. … It's tough to discount the Ravens, especially with Lamar Jackson. He is 22-1 (.956) as an NFL starter in the regular season against teams not named the Kansas City Chiefs."

Table inside Article
Source Ranking Last Week’s Ranking Comments
ESPN No. 4 No. 2 “It's tough to discount the Ravens, especially with Lamar Jackson. He is 22-1 (.956) as an NFL starter in the regular season against teams not named the Kansas City Chiefs.”
NFL.com No. 3 No. 3 “The Ravens lead the NFL in points off turnovers this season with 38. They get another favorable matchup this week against the Bengals.”
Bleacher Report No. 7 No. 4 “The Ravens have beaten the teams they are supposed to, topping 30 points in all three wins against teams with a combined record of 4-8. And with two more games against tomato cans on tap before the bye, it's not hard to imagine the Ravens will be 5-1 when they host the currently undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.”
USA Today No. 4 No. 4 N/A
Sports Illustrated No. 4 No. 4 “The Ravens got right against their neighbors to the south on Sunday. And while it wasn’t the most impressive win, a lot of people chipped in.”
CBS Sports No. 6 No. 6 “The Ravens got right against their neighbors to the south on Sunday. And while it wasn’t the most impressive win, a lot of people chipped in.”

Greg Roman Named as Head Coach Target for Texans

The Texans' decision to fire Head Coach Bill O'Brien Monday quickly sparked conversation about his potential replacement.

One of the names mentioned was Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman.

Sports Illustrated's Anthony Wood listed Roman as one of five potential fits in Houston.

"Roman has experience with the Texans, having worked under Dom Capers between 2002-2005," Wood wrote. "He first served as their tight ends coach for the franchise's first two seasons followed by two as their quarterback coach. An offensive-minded coach with experience working with linemen, something Houston could do with at this point, Roman is another who will surely be a head coach come 2021."

The intrigue of the job is centered around Deshaun Watson. Given Roman's track record working with mobile quarterbacks, it makes his name even more appealing.

"Watson isn't the same type of runner as Jackson and [Colin] Kaepernick," NBC Sports' Mike Deprisco wrote. "He can certainly tuck the ball and get down the field, but he's more of a scrambler than someone you'd want to design runs for success.

"Based on Roman's track record, he's shown an ability to adapt to the skillset his quarterback has rather than try and fit every passer into the same scheme. With Watson, there'd be a lot to work with."

Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins Ranked Among NFL's Best Running Back Tandems

When it comes to running the football, there aren't many teams that do it better than the Ravens.

That's why it wasn't a surprise when ESPN's Mike Clay ranked Ingram and Dobbins as his No. 3 running back tandem in the NFL, only behind the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings.

"There are just 20 running backs with at least 20 touches this season to score multiple touchdowns and average at least 4.7 yards per touch (Ingram's average)," Clay wrote. "Ingram and Dobbins are among them.

"Since blooming into a feature back in 2014, Ingram's 4.8 yards per carry ranks first, and his 2.1 yards per carry after contact trails only Derrick Henry among 26 backs with more than 700 carries during the span. He doesn't get the recognition of many others, but Ingram has been one of the league's best backs of the past decade."

The Ravens ran their way into the record books last season and added more firepower with Dobbins. But the backfield is really more of a trio than a tandem when you add in Gus Edwards, who sits third in the NFL in yards per carry (6.2) so far this season.

While the Ravens aren't on a record-setting pace again, the run game has still been very effective through the first four weeks. The Ravens are averaging 160.8 yards per game and have four legitimate rushing threats defenses have to account for.

"It's obviously too early to anoint Dobbins, but we also can't argue with his pedigree (2020 second-round pick) and early-career production (144 yards and two touchdowns on 21 touches)," Clay wrote. "And, if you don't feel like Dobbins should qualify, Edwards' 5.4 yards per carry leads the NFL (minimum 200 carries) since he entered the NFL in 2018.

"... And the future is bright in this backfield with Dobbins in the fold. (And that's all before we even mention Jackson, who broke Michael Vick's single-season rushing record at the position last season and leads Baltimore in rushing yards and carries through four games in 2020.)"

Quick Hits

  • Is a Brandon Carr reunion possible?
  • Former Raven Jacoby Jones was hired as the wide receivers coach at Calvert Hall High School in Baltimore.

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