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Late for Work: Pundit Says Ravens Must Win Super Bowl in 2024 

QB Lamar Jackson (left) & RB Derrick Henry (right)
QB Lamar Jackson (left) & RB Derrick Henry (right)

Ravens Must Win the Super Bowl for 2024 to Be a Success

Winning a Super Bowl is the ultimate achievement in determining success. For’s Adam Rank, it's now the only thing left for the Ravens.

"There really is no other box to check," Rank wrote. "The Ravens were so impressive in the 2023 regular season because they basically outclassed all of the good teams that were in their way. It wasn't like some of those squads that fatten up on the sub-.500 set and then try to squeak out wins against contenders. The Ravens obliterated powerhouses like the Lions and 49ers. They dropped 56 points on the Dolphins. They rolled. But once again, everything soured with a postseason defeat -- this time at home against the Chiefs. Baltimore has to win the Super Bowl, or this season can't be considered a success."

Rank's not far off in how the Ravens have accomplished just about everything else. As individuals they've earned Pro Bowls, All Pro's, MVP's and Coach of the Year awards. They've won in the regular season and made it to the AFC Championship game. All that's left is to lift the Lombardi.

Rank broke down their offseason and a few takeaways, including a comparison of adding Derrick Henry to a legendary signing in sports history.

"It reminds me of when Shaquille O'Neal joined the Lakers back in the day. The Ravens now have the running back and quarterback with the most rushing yards since 2018," Rank wrote. "Does this spawn a Shaq/Kobe era in Baltimore that leads to three titles? That's a tall order, especially considering Henry does have some mileage on him. However, with both dynamic playmakers being able to feed off each other, I think this is a pretty great tandem. And other physical backs like Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore did damage after turning 30."

Rank also praised their first-round selection of cornerback Nate Wiggins.

"I just don't understand how -- and this happens every year -- the Ravens seemingly get a steal in the draft," Rank wrote. "In my Mock Draft with a Twist, I had Baltimore taking Wiggins at No. 30 overall, and I even remember thinking it was a reach because there was no way he'd fall that far. And now, look at us. This is a great pairing, and because the Ravens have him, he'll be a Pro Bowler by Year 2."

Ultimately, Rank sees the additions making for a more effective Lamar Jackson.

"Lamar Jackson was nearly a unanimous selection for the Most Valuable Player award (a rare feat he accomplished in 2019), as he secured 49 of 50 first-place votes this past season," Rank wrote. "Lamar had a 24:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 102.7 passer rating. He was also very effective -- once again -- running the ball out of the backfield, finishing with 821 yards and five more scores while averaging a league-high 5.5 yards per attempt. Lamar is one of the best in the game, and it's not hard to imagine him being even more effective this season with Derrick Henry joining him in the backfield."

Derrick Henry Named Future Hall of Famer

Henry entered his introductory press conference in a purple suit, but according to CBS Sports’ Bryan DeArdo and the CBS Sports staff, he's already worthy of a gold jacket. The staff voted on a list of veterans and if they consider them a Hall of Fame member and Henry made the cut.

"King Henry's career stats leave something to be desired (he enters the 2024 season less than 500 rushing yards from 10,000 for his career), but some of his single-season marks probably make up for that and then some," DeArdo wrote. "Henry is a two-time rushing champion who has also led the NFL in touchdown runs on multiple occasions. He is also just one of eight players in league history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. In 2018, Henry tied Tony Dorsett's long-standing record for the longest run in NFL history, a 99-yard jaunt against the Jaguars on prime time that in hindsight appeared to jump-start his career."

Adding a potential Hall of Fame running back can only mean big things for the Ravens in 2024. Just check out Thursday’s LFW, noting he's the most impactful non-QB in the NFL.

Ravens Only Team With Two Top 20 Ranked Tight Ends

Entering the 2024 NFL season, the Ravens boast the best tight end unit in the NFL. And it's not only because Mark Andrews is one of the best in the game. According to CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin, both Andrews and Isaiah Likely are highly rated.

"Likely would [sorry] likely be a lot higher on it if he were on another team and thus had a larger role," Dubin wrote. "During the stretch run of the season without Mark Andrews, Likely posted 19 catches for 291 yards and four scores in the five games that Lamar Jackson also played. He's a high-level pass-catcher who happens to be in a part-time role."

While Likely ranked No. 19, Andrews came in at No. 3, behind Chiefs' Travis Kelce (No. 2) and San Francisco 49ers' George Kittle (No. 1).

"Andrews remains incredibly talented and incredibly underrated," Dubin wrote. "He's exceeded 50 receiving yards per game in 5 striaght seasons, averaged 11.6 yards per catch or more in each of them, found the end zone 37 times during that span, and done it all while playing in a two- or three-tight end rotation and missing several games due to injuries. (Not to mention his quarterback missing time as well.) He's an elite pass-catcher whenever he's on the field, and he's Lamar Jackson's go-to guy. Total stud."

Zay Flowers Among the Best NFL Wideouts in Open-Target Rate

In his rookie season, wide receiver Zay Flowers bloomed into a true receiving threat, totaling over 850 yards on 77 receptions and five touchdowns. More impressively, he ranked fifth among all wide receivers in open-target rate, according to PFF.

"Zay Flowers led the Ravens' receiving group in touches (96) and generated a 111.7 passer rating when targeted," PFF’s Lauren Grey wrote. "He moved the chains 48 times and tied for a team-high six touchdown catches. Flowers also led the team with 444 yards after the catch, forced 25 missed tackles and had 14 plays of 20-plus yards."

Quick Hits

PFF’s Zoltán Buday ranked safety Kyle Hamilton the fifth-best player under 25, writing, "Hamilton had a true breakout second NFL season, as his 86.4 PFF overall grade ranked sixth among safeties. He established himself as one of the most versatile players in the league, logging 14 quarterback pressures to rank fourth among safeties."

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