Best of Wink Martindale's Comments to Season Ticket Holders
Last night, Ravens PSL holders got a chance to participate in a teleconference with Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale.
Here's a look at the best of what was said:
Martindale has high praise for young pass rushers.
After losing Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency, there's a lot of anticipation around the Ravens' young pass rushers. Martindale didn't waste any time getting fans excited.
Martindale went on to point out how Oweh defends the run on first and second down, echoing comments made by General Manager Eric DeCosta.
"He was the fifth defensive end taken, but don't be surprised if this is someone that's placed in the category of first-round steals and a potential NFL defensive rookie of the year candidate at the close of the 2021-2022 NFL season," Ebony Bird’s Geoffrey Knox wrote. "That is not an exaggeration. This young man is special."
Martindale is also expecting big things from Jaylon Ferguson, who is headed into his third season.
Tavon Youngis expected to be ready for training camp.
The Ravens should see a key part of the secondary return this season as Tavon Young recovers from a season-ending knee injury suffered in 2020.
Martindale said Young hasn't been cleared to go full speed, but should be ready by training camp.
Young has been one of the top slot corners since coming into the league in 2016, but has played in just two games over the last two seasons.
Sack numbers are overrated and 'superficial.'
The Ravens lost most of their sack production from last season, but Martindale didn't express concerns over the numbers.
"It's one of those things that, if you were asking me, if you're the owner of a team and I'm your head coach and it comes down to what do you want, I want as many cover corners as you can have," Martindale said, via The Baltimore Sun.
"Because the game is the passing game now. And I think sacks — we're talking philosophical now; this is my opinion on it — I think sacks are one of the most superficial rankings there is. Because you look at guys that have a bunch of sacks, OK? There's a lot of things that go into that."
The Ravens are one of the league's top spenders in the secondary, showing that the organization also believes that's the best way to build a defense.
Wink has confidence in new defensive coaches.
One of the most overlooked storylines this offseason are the widespread changes on the coaching staff at the assistant level.
Martindale will have new faces coaching alongside him with Inside Linebackers Coach Rob Ryan, Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Anthony Weaver and others, and Martindale talked about the benefit he believes that will bring the Ravens' defenders.
"The inside linebackers will play better than what they have in the last two years because Rob Ryan is] that good of a coach and he’s going to make that big of a difference,” [Martindale said.
Will the Ravens add another pass rusher?
Many believe one of the few pieces the Ravens are missing is a veteran pass rusher.
While there's a chance that could still happen, Martindale deferred the answer to the Ravens' decision-makers
Rashod Bateman Is a 'Value Pick' for Offensive Rookie of the Year
Could the team that attempted the fewest passes last season produce an Offensive Rookie of the Year at wide receiver?
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso ranked the top rookie candidates to win the award this year and Rashod Bateman landed sixth on the list.
While the odds (+5000) may deem it as a long shot, Trapasso said Bateman could be a "value pick" in the running.
"It was a challenge to find a blatant flaw to his game. And he was productive for back-to-back seasons at a young age at Minnesota," Trapasso wrote. "He was 19 at the start of the 2019 campaign when he caught 60 passes for over 1,200 yards with 11 touchdowns on a team with another NFL receiver on it.
"And Baltimore needs to increase its pass game – the usage and efficiency of it. Bateman has the abilities to be integral in both things happening in 2020. And if Lamar Jackson takes a step forward as a passer, it'll be easy to point to the team's first-round pick as a main reason why."
The Ravens have been a dominant run-heavy team under Jackson, but the passing game isn't non-existent like some might lead you on to believe. Just two seasons ago, Jackson led the NFL in passing touchdowns.
The Ravens have also made a concerted effort to address that part of the offense. Along with Bateman and fourth-round pick Tylan Wallace, Baltimore also signed Sammy Watkins.
"History says awards like Offensive Rookie of the Year are typically more about individual statistics than helping contenders take the next step in the standings (or playoffs)," Fox Sports’ Rob Rang wrote. "As such, a smooth route-runner with sticky hands like Bateman, is more likely to become Jackson's favorite on money downs than to leap ahead of Marquise Brown as the Ravens' featured receiver – which is likely what it would require for Bateman to win the award. "
No Ravens rookie has ever won the offensive award, and Bateman will have a strong field to compete against. This year's class is especially loaded on the offensive side of the ball with Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars), Justin Fields (Bears), Zach Wilson (Jets), Kyle Pitts (Falcons), Ja'Marr Chase (Bengals), Jaylen Waddle (Dolphins) and Devonta Smith (Eagles).
Bateman came in ranked one spot ahead of Smith but just behind Waddle in Trapasso's rankings. Fields took the top spot.
No Love for J.K. Dobbins in PFF's Running Back Rankings?
Speaking of strong rookie seasons, J.K. Dobbins' emergence in the Ravens' backfield last season was a huge part of the running game's success.
That's why it came as a surprise when he was far down Pro Football Focus’ running back rankings at No. 26.
"It is tough to separate the performance of the running back from the boost he gets playing within a Ravens offense that has Jackson distorting their opportunities, but J.K. Dobbins was extremely impressive in limited carries in his first year," PFF's Sam Monson wrote. "Twenty-two of his 153 carries went for at least 10 yards."
Dobbins didn't see consistent carries until midway through the season, but quickly became an instant-impact running back. He finished with 805 yards and nine touchdowns, finding the end zone in five straight games to end the season.
It's surprising that the team that averaged over 190 rushing yards per game didn't have a running back ranked higher than 26th.
Obviously, Jackson is a big part of the ground game success, but Dobbins plays a key factor as well. And no Gus Edwards?
How Former Ravens OC Says Offense Can Become 'Unstoppable'
Marty Mornhinweg knows a thing or two about working with Jackson. He was Jackson's offensive coordinator during his rookie season in 2018.
Mornhinweg recently joined Glenn Clark Radio and talked about how the Ravens offense, particularly the passing game, can improve.
"It's just a little bit of philosophical adjustment, that's all," Mornhinweg said. "And you've got to practice it in the offseason, going into the season, preseason and in league games throughout the year so you're fully equipped to overcome that 10- or 12- or 14-point deficit late in the game like they will be in two or three games, I would suspect, and they'll get into one down the stretch and into the playoffs like has happened in the past couple of years.
"I learned this when I was young from Steve Young — if you haven't practiced it in league games, then what are the odds that you can do it down the stretch and into the playoffs? I think it's very simple, though. I don't think it's a big move. I know this. It's just a touch of an adjustment philosophically — just a touch. It doesn't take much to get that passing game rolling."