Late for Work 11/3: Ravens Named a Trade Deadline Loser, But Were They Really?

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RB Marlon Mack

Ravens Named a Trade Deadline Loser

By standing pat at the NFL's trade deadline yesterday, the Ravens were placed in the "trade deadline loser" category by The Ringer's Nora Princiotti.

There was much speculation leading up to the deadline that the Ravens could make a deal for a running back, offensive lineman, cornerback or inside linebacker. However, after making blockbuster trades the past two years, the only transaction the team made yesterday was to activate cornerback Chris Westry to return to practice.

The player most frequently linked to the Ravens was Indianapolis running back Marlon Mack. He and the Colts had mutually agreed to seek a trade, but he ended up not being moved before the deadline.

"The Ravens were heavily linked to running back Marlon Mack ahead of the deadline, a pairing that made nothing but sense," Princiotti wrote. "Mack was buried on the depth chart in Indianapolis and had come to an agreement with Colts brass to find a trading partner. The Ravens are a run-heavy team that lost their top three backs during the preseason.

"But the Colts wound up needing depth at running back and held onto Mack. The Ravens, meanwhile, despite making real strides in their passing attack, didn't do anything to shore up their shortcomings at running back or offensive line."

The Ravens, who have 10 draft picks in 2022, are tight against the salary cap, but Mack was affordable.

"The Ravens certainly had the assets required to trade for Mack," Heavy.com wrote. "Even if Indianapolis was seeking a fourth-round pick for Mack —who himself was taken in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft — Baltimore could have asked for a sixth- or seventh-rounder to maximize the value of the deal."

Mack, 25, rushed for 1,091 yards in 2019 but fell to third on the depth chart this season behind Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. The Ravens' four running backs — veterans Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell and former practice squad player Ty'Son Williams — have combined to average 76.4 rushing yards per game.

However, not everyone believes Mack would be an upgrade over what the Ravens have now at running back.

FilmStudyBaltimore.com's Ken McKusick said on the "The Lounge" podcast that "I don't think that addresses the problem at all, honestly. … I really would dislike that trade." The Baltimore Sun's Jonas Shaffer also wasn't in favor.

As for possibly bolstering the offensive line, there's a chance injured offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James could play next month and right tackle Patrick Mekari, who was playing well before his ankle injury, will return in the coming weeks.

While the Ravens (5-2) did not add a player via trade, the AFC North leaders are expecting several key players to return from injury soon, most notably tight end Nick Boyle, Murray, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and defensive lineman Derek Wolfe.

When asked about the trade deadline a couple days ago, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he likes what the Ravens have.

"So, we have our team, [and] I really like our team," Harbaugh said. "We have everything we need on our team right now, but if we can be improved and if it's mutually beneficial to both teams, you're excited about something like that. But I'm not really counting on it."

Willie McGinest: Ravens Are a 'Sneaky, Dangerous Team'

In yesterday's Late for Work, it was noted that the Ravens were ranked as the second-best team in the AFC (behind the Buffalo Bills) by The Ringer.

NFL Network's Michael Robinson and Willie McGinest discussed the topic. While Robinson also went with the Bills as the team to beat in the conference, McGinest said the Ravens are a "[add]sneaky, dangerous team."

"I think about Lamar Jackson. I think about the offense. I think about all the different things that they do," McGinest said. "I think about special teams, because that's where their head coach started at. How good they get as the year goes on, and nobody's really talking about them. They're flying under the radar. They're a tough physical team. They find different ways to beat you. They're also hungry.

"And [Jackson] is the toughest guy in the league to defend. There's not a lot of ways to do it; most teams can't. He can beat you with his arm and his feet. And they're one of the most solid defenses in the AFC. … That's a sneaky, dangerous team that you can never count out."

Meanwhile, the "Good Morning Football" crew talked about which team will take control of the AFC North. Peter Schrager and Shaun O'Hara said everyone was ready to crown the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) after their big win over the Ravens, but their loss to the New York Jets Sunday proved that was premature.

Kyle Brandt likes the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3), who have won three in a row after a 1-3 start. Their 15-10 win at Cleveland Sunday dropped the Browns (4-4) — one of the preseason favorites to win the division — into last place.

Kay Adams said she's going with the Ravens.

"Despite the loss to the Bengals, who's the most complete team in this division? It's the Ravens. Who do I think is going to get it done probably? It's the Ravens," Adams said.

However, Adams pointed out that the Ravens have a tough schedule in Weeks 13-18, as they play at Pittsburgh, at Cleveland, Green Bay, at Cincinnati, Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh.

Stats That Have Defined the Ravens' Season

Shaffer compiled a list of 22 stats that have defined the Ravens' season. Here's a look at several (and click through to see the whole list).

Offense

3.1: "Jackson's average time to throw — the period between when the ball is snapped and when it leaves his hand — is an NFL-high 3.1 seconds through Week 8, according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats. That mark equals his career high, set during his rookie year, but Jackson's using his time much differently nowadays. In 2018, he averaged 8.3 air yards per attempt, which ranked 16th among qualifying quarterbacks. (Air yards measure the downfield yardage of a pass at the moment the target catches or does not catch the ball.) This year, Jackson is the NFL's most aggressive downfield passer, averaging 10.8 air yards per attempt. The Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson is second, at 9.1 air yards per attempt."

15: "Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva has blown 15 blocks in pass protection this season, according to SIS, 11 more than Ravens' runner-up Ronnie Stanley. Villanueva's number of blown blocks, which are deemed to have given the defender an opportunity to negatively affect the play, has stabilized since Week 1. He had seven in 39 pass-blocking snaps at right tackle against the Las Vegas Raiders and has eight in his 227 pass-blocking snaps since. Former Ravens left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., by contrast, has 16 blown blocks in 332 pass-blocking snaps for the Kansas City Chiefs this season."

1,253: "Tight end Mark Andrews is on pace to finish the season with 1,253 receiving yards, which would shatter Todd Heap's single-season mark (855) for a Ravens tight end. Even in a 16-game season, Andrews would be on pace for 1,179 yards. Andrews is second in the NFL in receiving yards per game by a tight end (73.7), trailing only the Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce (76.1)."

Defense

2: "The Ravens rank second in defensive efficiency on third and fourth down, according to Football Outsiders, behind only the Arizona Cardinals. It's on early downs where they've most struggled. They're 30th in defensive efficiency on first down and 26th on second down, after ranking eighth and 22nd there last season, respectively."

58: "The Ravens have 58 missed tackles, according to Pro Football Reference, the most in the NFL. They're slightly behind the pace of last season's defense, which finished second in the league with 134 missed tackles in 16 games. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey (seven) and inside linebacker Patrick Queen have the most misses, while cornerback Tavon Young (23.5%) has the highest rate."

Special teams

1: "The Ravens rank first in special teams efficiency, according to Football Outsiders, and it's not close. The gap in the site's Defense-adjusted Value Over Average between the Ravens (8.3%) and the second-place Washington Football Team (4.8%) is almost as big as the gap between Washington and the ninth-place New Orleans Saints (1.4%). Coordinator Chris Horton's unit ranks first in efficiency in field goals and extra points, 11th in kickoffs, seventh in kickoff returns, 14th in punts and first in punt returns."

Odafe Oweh Makes The Athletic's Midseason All-Rookie Team

Edge rusher Odafe Oweh was named to The Athletic's Midseason All-Rookie team.

"With 23 quarterback pressures, Oweh is tied with Micah Parsons for the rookie lead (also the same number of pressures as T.J. Watt)," The Athletic's Dane Brugler wrote. "Although he comes off the bench, the Penn State product has logged starter-level snaps (43.1 defensive snaps per game) and his 3 sacks are tied for second among first-year players."

Oweh wasted no time making an impact. His forced fumble and recovery preserved a win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 and earned him Defensive Player of the Week honors. He also forced a fumble early in the Ravens' come-from-behind win over Indianapolis in Week 5 when the Colts were deep in Ravens territory and leading by seven.

"The fact that Oweh is having immediate success based on mostly athleticism is an encouraging sign for his future because he will get better as his pass rush plan develops," Brugler wrote. "You can't teach 4.37 speed by a 257 pounder, which is why the Ravens took a chance on the uber-talented athlete with zero sacks last season in college."

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