Gerald McCoy Reportedly Set to Visit Ravens Tuesday
Gerald McCoy is free agency's hot ticket item right now, and the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle is expected to visit the Ravens on Tuesday, according to The Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud.
McCoy reportedly had a "great" visit with the Cleveland Browns on Friday, according to Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot, but left without signing a deal.
Despite Baltimore having less cap space than the Browns and other teams, Cabot wrote that McCoy is committed to visiting the Ravens because of their defensive success and McCoy's connection to defensive line coach Joe Cullen.
"Winning is vitally important to McCoy, and he believes the Browns are poised for a big season," Cabot wrote. "I think the only thing that can derail this now is if the Ravens knock his socks off on Tuesday. They had the No. 1 defense in the NFL last season, they won the AFC North, and McCoy has a comfort level with their defensive line coach Cullen, whom he played for in Tampa. The Ravens won't make it easy, but I still think the Browns have a great chance."
The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec remains skeptical about the Ravens' chances to land McCoy, but Cabot wrote that a deal could "come in under 10 million."
The Ravens will have around $11 million in cap space to work with once rookie draft picks and free agent signings are factored in, according to Russell Street Report's Brian McFarland. The price tag could fall in their favor.
Could Lamar Jackson Have a Historic 2019 Season? Pundits Ease Expectations
Lamar Jackson took the league by storm during his rookie season in Baltimore, and all eyes fall on the second-year quarterback this offseason.
The Ravens are constructing an offense tailored around a unique threat under center, and Ebony Bird's Richard Bradshaw believes Jackson could pick up right where he left off.
"In 2019, that fact will change for the better, as I believe Lamar Jackson is in store for a breakout season," Bradshaw wrote.
Bradshaw compared Jackson's rookie campaign to Michael Vick's historic 2006 season, where Vick became the only quarterback in NFL history to pass and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
While Jackson started just six regular-season games as a rookie, the projections weren't far off from Vick. As a runner, Jackson was on pace to shatter Vick's rushing total.
"Jackson's projected rushing stats absolutely crush Vick's in every aspect except YPC, where Vick has a sizeable advantage (8.4 vs. 5.4)," Bradshaw wrote. "Jackson would surpass Vick's rushing attempts by more than double his, but Jackson would smash Vick's rushing yards by almost 300 yards!
"It's hard to believe that Jackson could've easily accomplished this as just a 21-year old rookie. Considering Vick was in the prime of his career when he put together his masterful 2006 season at 26 years old, it's extremely exciting to see Jackson develop his game into becoming an even better dual-threat quarterback."
Pundits believe Jackson's improvements must come in the passing game. Even then, Bradshaw still likes what he sees.
"While Jackson has plenty of room to grow and may improve significantly … believe it or not, he might not be that far off," Bradshaw wrote.
Vick didn't become an accomplished passer until late in his career. He didn't complete more than 60 percent of his passes until the 2010 season (62.6).
Jackson's completion percentage (58.2) last season was higher than three of the first-round quarterbacks drafted before him.
With a full NFL season under his belt, Jackson has had time to work on his mechanics and footwork this offseason. Not to mention, the Ravens have surrounded him with a bevy of weapons.
But The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck countered Bradshaw's argument and said to ease expectations for now. The entire project is still a work in progress – although an exciting one.
"Let's try to remember this is Jackson's first offseason as the starter and — if not for the injury that sidelined Flacco — the upcoming season would, for all practical purposes, be his rookie year," Schmuck wrote.
Jackson is beginning to learn an entirely new system under Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman. That includes new verbiage, play calls and reads.
Schmuck says Jackson's toughest act to follow won't be Vick, but only himself.
"He might never do that well enough to channel Patrick Mahomes, but he if he throws it accurately enough to be a more well-rounded Jackson, that guy just might be capable of leading the Ravens deep into the postseason," Schmuck wrote.
Mark Ingram Named Ravens' Most Dangerous Weapon
Mark Ingram's arrival in Baltimore has flown under the radar, but the two-time Pro Bowler is poised to make an immediate impact.
On a roster with exciting young talent, it was the 29-year-old Ingram who was named the Ravens' most dangerous weapon by Bleacher Report's Maurice Moton.
"Ingram could rush for 1,000 yards and add another 300-400 receiving yards with 15-18 touches per game, as he did during the 2016-17 terms," Moton wrote. "The 29-year-old is a physical player who consistently moves the ball in traffic, averaging 4.5 yards per carry for his career, and he shows soft hands out of the backfield with a 79.7 percent catch rate.
"The Ravens won't have to tip their hand by using specific backs for certain pass or run situations. Ingram can do it all at the position and understands pass-protection schemes, which bodes well for second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson."
According to NFL reporter Don Kleiman, Ingram will put his athleticism to the test in a 40-yard dash against some of the NFL's fastest players on June 29, including former teammates Ted Ginn Jr. and Alvin Kamara.
Good Morning Football's Kay Adams chose Ingram as the "old face in a new place" she's most excited to see in the AFC North. In the same segment, Kyle Brandt picked Ravens safety Earl Thomas.
The Ravens will hope Ingram can replicate his previous form, but Adams also highlighted Ingram's impact as a veteran leader in the locker room.
"It's not even what he'll do on the field … but it's more about the guy he is and the role he'll have as a leader that's intriguing to me," Adams said. "Because you do have some young cats there. Ingram has been there, he's done that … He's one of the most unselfish players that we don't talk about in this league."
Ingram finds himself in a situation where he's the most experienced running back on the roster. He embraced a similar role alongside Kamara in New Orleans and thrived in a backfield committee.
Ingram already seems comfortable with his new teammates in Baltimore and made sure to give them a shout-out after OTAs on Thursday.
"How about my two running backs in my room? Gus [Edwards] and De'Lance [Turner] got two red zone [touchdowns] today," Ingram said. "[Running Backs] Coach [Matt] Weiss is getting us right, getting us ready to go. We've got a good room, good team, good competition going on offense and defense, so we've been getting better."
Marquise Brown Could Ease One of Jackson's Biggest Struggles
Speaking of dangerous weapons, Marquise Brown is expected to be an explosive playmaker in the Ravens' offense and one of Jackson's go-to receiving targets.
Pro Football Focus' Cam Mellor examined each wide receiver taken in the first three rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft and identified the best route and scheme fit with their new team.
For Brown, Mellor chose hitch concepts. The route relies on speed and quick bursts, some of Brown's best traits coming out of Oklahoma.
"Jumping into his route tree, [Brown's] ability off of a hitch concept stands out," Mellor wrote. "He was targeted on 17 of those, making 15 receptions for 223 yards with 12 first downs and a touchdown. His ability to draw a defender upfield and stop on a dime was apparent, and he forced an additional four missed tackles after the catch while he averaged 14.9 yards per reception even though the average depth of target on these routes was just 9.3 yards past the line of scrimmage."
Mellor noted that Jackson struggled with throws to hitch routes last year (8-of-15) and Brown's addition could vastly improve it.
"Maybe having perhaps the draft class' best hitch-route runner as a weapon means better things are coming for Jackson on hitch routes," Mellor wrote.
- Sporting News' Bill Bender ranked John Harbaugh sixth in his NFL coach rankings:
"Harbaugh appeared to be on the hot seat going into last season, but he turned to Jackson at quarterback, a move that led to an AFC North title and playoff berth," Bender wrote. "Harbaugh is one of seven NFL coaches with both 10 or more career playoff wins and a .625 winning percentage or better in the postseason. He will have to keep proving himself, though, in a tough AFC North."