Skip to main content
Presented by

Late for Work 6/14: Stephen A. Smith Not Convinced Ravens Are Top Threat to Chiefs

From left: Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
From left: Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

Stephen A. Smith Not Convinced Ravens Are Top Threat to Chiefs

The Ravens offense is getting a lot of hype this offseason thanks in large part to the additions of Odell Beckham Jr., first-round pick Zay Flowers, and Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken.

The revamped offense has prompted pundits such as ESPN's Ryan Clark to anoint the Ravens as the biggest threat to the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, but not everyone is on the purple bandwagon.

Stephen A. Smith told Clark on ESPN’s “First Take” that he is not convinced. At least, not yet.

"What you're really saying is that you're finally relieved and incredibly ecstatic that additional weapons have arrived for Lamar Jackson," Smith said. "What I'm saying to you is we have no evidence that those weapons are going to thrive in that system."

Smith contended that the biggest threat to knock off the Chiefs is the Cincinnati Bengals, who beat them in the AFC Championship Game two years ago and lost by just three points to them in last year's AFC Championship Game.

"What you're envisioning about the Baltimore Ravens we've already seen from the Cincinnati Bengals, and they are knocking on the door," Smith said. "So for me, I have to see it. I'm not saying Baltimore can't do it. I'm saying I'm waiting to see them do it. I've already seen what Cincinnati can do."

Dan Orlovsky: DeAndre Hopkins Should Sign With Ravens or Eagles if He Wants to Play With Elite Quarterback

Free-agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will visit the New England Patriots today and tomorrow, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The five-time Pro Bowler visited the Tennessee Titans earlier this week. As for the Ravens, they are monitoring Hopkins' free agency, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson.

ESPN's Dan Orlovsky said on "The Pat McAfee Show" that if Hopkins wants to play with an elite-level quarterback, he should sign with the Ravens or Philadelphia Eagles.

"I think the decision has to come down to playing with an elite quarterback and having a real chance to play Super Bowl championship football," Orlovsky said. "He's made a ton of money; he's been at the top of 'I'm the best receiver in the NFL.' I'm sure he wants to continue to get paid well and play for a long time, but for a guy who's kind of done it all over the last eight or nine years in the NFL at wide receiver, go play for a quarterback that's a star."

With Chuck Clark Reportedly Suffering Serious Knee Injury, Safety Adrian Amos Signs With Jets After Reportedly Meeting With Ravens

Safety Adrian Amos signed with the New York Jets yesterday, one day after the Baltimore native reportedly visited with the Ravens for the second time this offseason.

In related news, safety Chuck Clark, who the Ravens traded to the Jets in March, has reportedly suffered a serious knee injury. Amos, who has started 122 games with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, presumably would replace Clark as a starter.

"The Jets weren't in on Amos until recently — he visited with the Ravens on Monday — and the prospect of starting for New York right away likely appealed to him," The Athletic's Zack Rosenblatt wrote. "In Baltimore, he would've been the third safety — which is why Clark wanted to be traded away from the Ravens in the first place."

Amos would've been a quality depth addition for the Ravens, who have a solid safety group in Kyle Hamilton, Marcus Williams, Geno Stone, and Brandon Stephens.

Pro Football Focus Grades Ravens' Offseason

Pro Football Focus’ Josh Liskiewitz filed his report on the Ravens offseason to this point. He gave them an overall grade of B. Here are some excerpts:

Best move of the offseason: Signing Lamar Jackson

"Bringing Jackson back was critical, as the franchise would have been sent into full reset mode without him. Health will be key for him going forward, as he has missed the better part of 14 games in the past two seasons."

Remaining team needs: Interior defender

"The Ravens don't have a lot of holes on paper but could use improved play on the defensive interior. Justin Madubuike has never quite lived up to his 2020 pre-draft hype, as he has yet to post a pass-rush win rate over 8.0% and his highest run-defense grade to date is just 65.1. Broderick Washington is also slated to start, and his career-best run-defense grade is just 64.7, while his best pass-rush win rate comes in at just 5.8%."

Early position battle to watch: LB Patrick Queen vs. LB Trenton Simpson

"Roquan Smith has the starting MIKE position locked down, but things could get interesting at WILL, considering Baltimore selected Trenton Simpson in the third round. Simpson is a supreme athlete who forced four incompletions in coverage last year at Clemson. While Patrick Queen enjoyed a breakout season of sorts in 2022, earning a 69.7 overall grade, this was in large part due to him tallying 22 total pressures (with six sacks and six QB hits). Simpson will likely have his shot at getting off-ball reps."

2023 outlook

"Barring attrition due to injury, this roster has the look of a competitor. … If Kansas City, Buffalo and Cincinnati are to be considered the 'big three' in the AFC, then Baltimore is certainly one of the top contenders to break through that trio."

Justin Madubuike Named Ravens' Most Underrated Player

One man's underachiever is another man's underrated. While Liskiewitz believes Madubuike has fallen short of expectations, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar believes Madubuike is the Ravens' most underrated player.

"The Ravens took Madubuike in the third round of the 2020 draft out of Texas A&M, and while he made an impact at times as a rotational player in his first two NFL seasons, 2022 was really his breakout year," Farrar wrote. "That's when he had six sacks, four quarterback hits, 22 quarterback hurries, and 25 stops on just 684 total snaps.

"Moreover, Baltimore's defense got after the quarterback far more effectively when Madubuike was on the field — the Ravens' sack rate went from 5.8% to 8.5% when he was part of the equation, and the pressure rate jumped from 23.6% to 34.7%. Not that on-off splits are ever due to just one player, but in this case, Madubuike's ability to not only soak up double teams, but also to move through those two-man blocks to provide pressure made an obvious difference for others on those defensive lines. At 6-foot-3 and 293 pounds, No. 92 is a big bag of lunch for any blocker (or blockers) to deal with."

Head Coach John Harbaugh said yesterday that he thinks Madubuike, who is entering the final year on his rookie contract, is going to make a significant impact this season.

"I expect [Justin Madubuike] to take off – I say take off, but kind of continue on the same track – take the next step as a player," Harbaugh said. "I think he's going to have a great year."

Quick Hits

●      The Ravens were No. 4 in PFF’s offensive line rankings

Related Content