Multiple Teams Looking At Wink Martindale As Head Coach Candidate
The Ravens have a history of their defensive coordinators going on to become head coaches. Will Wink Martindale join Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan, Rex Ryan and Chuck Pagano on the list?
Martindale, in his third season as defensive coordinator, is being discussed as a candidate for several heading coaching jobs, according to ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
Last January, Martindale interviewed for the head coaching job of the New York Giants, who play the Ravens this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. The job instead went to New England Patriots Special Teams Coordinator Joe Judge.
Under Martindale, who is known for his intricate blitz schemes, the Ravens had the No. 1 scoring defense last year. This season, despite a plethora of injuries, the Ravens have the No. 4 scoring defense and are second in the league in forced fumbles (12).
"He's done another nice job with this defense," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote. "He has strong leadership skills, a charismatic personality and players from both sides of the ball love him. What's held him back is that he doesn't fit the mold of the young, offensive-minded head coach that every team is seemingly looking for."
'Hollywood' Brown Coming on Strong Down the Stretch
This was supposed to be a breakout season for second-year wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, who showed flashes of his first-round talent as a rookie while playing with a screw in his foot as he recovered from Lisfranc surgery.
Instead, it's mostly been a challenging campaign for Brown, who expressed his frustration on social media after catching one pass for three yards on two targets in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.
However, Brown has come on strong in recent weeks, and his play has helped rejuvenate the Ravens' passing game as the team makes a playoff push.
Since failing to catch any of his three targets in a Week 11 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Brown has 17 receptions for 272 yards (16.0 yards per catch) and three touchdowns in his past four games.
"Slowly but surely, though, Brown is starting to assert himself as the big-play threat the Ravens expected him to be this season," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote.
In the Ravens' 40-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Brown equaled his season-high with six catches (on seven targets) and his 98 receiving yards were the most he's had in a game since Week 1. That performance came after not practicing all week due to being on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
"[Brown] hurt the Jaguars in a variety of ways," Zrebiec wrote. "He caught a 44-yard bomb down the sideline on one of Lamar Jackson's best throws of the day. He caught a short pass in the middle and turned it into a 28-yard gain. He caught a short pass in the flats and picked up 11 yards. He also got the ball on a jet sweep and lost a yard, but the play still showed a commitment by the Ravens to get him the ball in different ways."
Brown's performance in the Ravens' thrilling, 47-42 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 14 was emblematic of his up-and-down season. After dropping three passes, Brown caught a game-tying, 44-yard touchdown pass from Jackson on fourth-and-5 with under two minutes remaining.
Brown isn't likely to have the 1,000-yard season that many predicted for him, but he does lead the Ravens in receptions (49), receiving yards (703) and yards per catch (14.3) and is second in touchdown catches (five).
"A bigger second-year jump, fewer mistakes and more big plays were expected, but Brown could wind up posting representative numbers in a run-first offense with a strong final two games," Zrebiec wrote.
With Second Pro Bowl Selection, Orlando Brown. Jr. Continues to Be a 'Great Story'
Of the seven Ravens named to the Pro Bowl, the selection of offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is perhaps the most gratifying.
Brown, who had played right tackle since his rookie season in 2018, moved to left tackle after a season-ending injury to All-Pro Ronnie Stanley in Week 8 and has done an outstanding job.
"When Ronnie Stanley went down with a season-ending ankle injury, Baltimore turned to Orlando Brown Jr. to take over the left tackle spot and anchor it. 'Zeus Jr.' ran away with the opportunity and has proven he can start on either side of the line," Ebony Bird’s Richard Bradshaw wrote. "Brown Jr. has been far and away the Ravens best offensive lineman and rightfully gets his second career Pro Bowl."
Ravens Wire’s Matthew Stevens wrote: "He's been consistent both as a run blocker and pass blocker. If he deserved to make the Pro Bowl last year, he's definitely earned it this year."
Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr said Brown continues to be "a great story."
"Brown, you'll remember, was crushed for his less-than-ideal combine performance in 2018, slipped to the third round and now has made two straight Pro Bowls in 2019 and 2020," Orr wrote. "[Former Ravens General Manager] Ozzie Newsome, it seems, has never left this front five without a long-term anchor, and even though you could make an argument for Ronnie Stanley to be in this game too had he not been injured, Brown is a nice nod to the idea that you don't have to be defined by a meaningless televised agility competition."
Ravens Named One of the Five Teams Most Likely to Win Super Bowl
If the season ended today (thankfully it doesn't), the Ravens would not be among the seven-team AFC playoff field. Yet they are the fifth-most likely team to win the Super Bowl in the opinion of NFL.com’s Adam Schein.
The Ravens rank behind the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints. Despite the Ravens sitting in third place in the AFC North, the two teams ahead of them — the Steelers and Browns — did not make Schein's top nine list.
"Baltimore is back," Schein wrote. "Baltimore has been back since the 34-17 win over Dallas in Week 13, a result that was always more about the Ravens' resurgence than the Cowboys' issues."
Schein cited Jackson returning to his MVP form, a dominant running game, improving passing game and defense that's "loaded with talent" as reasons why the Ravens are legitimate Super Bowl contenders if they make it to postseason play.
"While Jackson certainly has something to prove come playoff time, he just won the game of the year thus far — Baltimore's thrilling 47-42 road victory at Cleveland — with a Superman performance straight out of a Hollywood script," Schein wrote.