What Conclusions Can Be Drawn About Ravens From Loss to Colts?
Perhaps Head Coach John Harbaugh said it best when he noted that we don't crown the champion in Week 3. That said, what conclusions can we draw about the Ravens after their stunning overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts at home?
Not much, according to Press Box’s Glenn Clark.
"At the moment, as enraging as this result was, it probably doesn't tell us that much about the 2023 Ravens. It was just a hellish way to spend a Sunday," Clark wrote.
Clark said we should have a better idea of what kind of team the 2023 Ravens are over the next three weeks, when they face AFC North rivals Cleveland and Pittsburgh on the road before heading to London to play Tennessee.
"This portion of the schedule reads as a significant gut check," he wrote.
Clark believes the Ravens' future is brighter than what this past Sunday's frustrating defeat in gloomy weather conditions might suggest.
"Speaking of guts, mine says that it's more likely that this proves to be a bit of a silly anomaly than a damning statement of record about the team," Clark wrote. "Injuries and weather conditions aren't excuses. But they are at least part of the explanation. Having an entire list of inactives made up of starters in Week 3 is practically unprecedented. With the majority of the team's injured players expected to return to the field in the coming weeks, there is still reason for optimism."
The Ringer’s Steven Ruiz still views the Ravens as a team capable of making a Super Bowl run.
"If the Ravens can get healthy and make it back to the playoffs, the team we see then won't resemble the one we saw on Sunday," Ruiz wrote. "And even this lesser version of Baltimore would have beaten the Colts if not for a blatant missed facemask call that would have allowed the Ravens to kneel out the clock … or a missed pass interference call on fourth down in overtime with the Ravens on the edge of field goal range.
"Even with the benefit of the whistle, Indianapolis still needed its kicker, Matt Gay, to make four field goals of at least 53 yards to win the game — in a rainstorm. A loss to a young Colts team at home looks like a terrible result for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, but the game told us very little about what the Ravens could be this season."
Pundit Says Running Back Is Ravens' Biggest Need Heading Into 2024
Even though we're still in the first month of the 2023 season, Pro Football Focus Brad Spielberger is already looking ahead to 2024. He identified one need for every team and looked at how they could address it through the draft and free agency.
For the Ravens, Spielberger said running back is a position the team will need to upgrade going forward.
"With another season-ending injury to running back J.K. Dobbins and with Gus Edwards playing in the final year of his contract, Baltimore needs to add a rushing threat alongside Lamar Jackson to fully weaponize zone read and RPOs," Spielberger wrote. "The Ravens have a lot of players up for new contracts across the roster and need to use premium draft capital on premium positions, but hitting on a later-round back could provide a nice benefit to this offense."
Here are the running backs Spielberger said the Ravens could target:
Prospect: Ohio State's Miyan Williams
"Williams is the name you've probably heard less about in this Ohio State backfield, with TreVeyon Henderson likely to come off the board earlier. However, Williams maintains a low pad level, runs hard through contact and has a 76.1 rushing grade on gap runs this season, which presents a fit in Baltimore's power- and counter-heavy rushing attack."
Free agent: D'Onta Foreman, Chicago Bears
"Foreman enjoyed a career resurgence in Carolina last year, where the Panthers utilized similar concepts in the run game and let him get downhill between the tackles. Foreman signed a one-year flier with Chicago and has been made a healthy scratch the past two weeks, so maybe the Ravens should trade for him now instead of waiting until the offseason."
Jeff Zrebiec: Isaiah Likely Needs to Be More Involved in Offense
Tight end Isaiah Likely showed flashes last year as a rookie and was expected to take a big step forward this season. Thus far, however, Likely hasn't been much of a factor.
Likely has been targeted just four times this season and has three catches (one in each game) for 32 yards.
The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec said Likely's lack of targets is puzzling.
"In all three games, he made the catch early in the first quarter and then never really was involved, at least from a pass-catching standpoint, the rest of the way," Zrebiec wrote. "As egregious as the overtime drop was, and if he makes that catch, the Ravens would have probably woken up Monday with a 3-0 record, it came on just his second target. Three games and four total targets. That needs to change."