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Mailbag: What Changes Will Ravens Make After the Bye?

WR Devin Duvernay
WR Devin Duvernay

Mink: The Ravens' coaches do a lot of real work over the bye. When the players go home, the coaches stay for the rest of the week before getting the weekend off. Coaches break down their own tape looking for flaws and tendencies that opponents could pick up on, and often use it as an opportunity to make some changes.

No change will be as drastic as the one the Ravens coaches pulled off in 2018 when altering the entire offense to suit Lamar Jackson instead of Joe Flacco. But every year, the Ravens offense (since that's what you're asking about) does switch some things up at the bye. Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said that last year, he really switched the entire run game strategy because the Ravens just weren't getting enough out of their aging fill-in running backs.

This year, the bye gave the Ravens a chance to really dig into what their offense will look like without Rashod Bateman for the rest of the year. Baltimore has churned out three straight wins behind a punishing rushing attack and I don't expect that to change. But we all know the Ravens will need an assortment of counter punches, and the passing attack hasn't been as efficient as they would like. I don't know what those changes will be, or whether it will be what you mentioned (I'm always a fan of getting Devin Duvernay the ball), but I'm sure Roman has restocked the vault.

Downing: The name that everyone wants to know about is Odell Beckham Jr. He's still working his way back from a torn ACL that he suffered in the Super Bowl in February, and he's reportedly getting close to signing with an NFL team. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Beckham wants to sign with a team by the end of the month, but the Ravens are not among the clear finalists. Schefter reported that current list of final teams for Beckham include the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. Some of those teams have openly discussed the possibility of adding Beckham to their roster, with Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones clearly expressing his interest.

Based on the reports, it does not seem like the Ravens are in the running to add Beckham. If they stand pat with their current receiving corps, they need multiple players to elevate their play. Duvernay has been excellent this year, but his assignment is now even bigger as the team's top wideout. Demarcus Robinson and James Proche II will both have more on their shoulders, and the Ravens need them to make critical catches. Veteran DeSean Jackson is kind of the wild card of the group, as he's currently on the practice squad and tweaked his hamstring in his Ravens debut against New Orleans. The Ravens like what they have seen from him, and he has a speed element that's different from the rest of the group. If Jackson can stay healthy, the Ravens will likely rely on him to be a critical weapon down the stretch.

Mink: If Justin Houston was flying under the radar, he definitely isn't anymore after the 2 ½ sack, one interception performance on Monday Night Football in New Orleans. A player tied with the fourth-most sacks in the league (8.5) has the league's attention. Internally, I think the Ravens also understand his importance.

Not only is Houston racking up the sacks this year, but his leadership is also a big part of this team and defense. Houston's teammates see him sacrificing everything for another year at football after debating retirement last offseason. That kind of devotion rubs off on other players, especially younger ones. Beyond his on-field production, Houston's leadership has been a boon for the Ravens the past two years. I expect we'll only continue to see the fruits of that as players such as Odafe Oweh and rookie David Ojabo make their presence felt more down the stretch.

Downing: The energy in the locker room is great. I think this group respects each other and the bond seems to be growing. Winning always helps that, and the Ravens are riding a three-game winning streak right now. This team in confident and believes they can make a deep postseason run. Having that confidence helps bring the group together, and you can feel that over the course of the last month. Quarterback Lamar Jackson isn't always the most vocal leader, but he has the respect of every player in that locker room, which is critical for the star player on a team.

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