Three of the Most Intriguing People on the 2022 Ravens
Coming off an injury-hampered season that saw them go from the No. 1 seed in the AFC to last place in the AFC North in a six-week span, the reloaded Ravens are one of the more compelling teams heading into this season.
With that in mind, The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker identified the 10 most intriguing people in the Ravens organization for 2022.
Not surprisingly, Lamar Jackson was at the top of the list. Here's a look at three other people named by Walker:
LT Ronnie Stanley
"You might not hear about it outside Baltimore, but there aren't many players in the league more pivotal than Stanley. The last time he played a full season, he was the best pass blocker in football, and the Ravens finished with the best record in the AFC. His ankle injury midway through the 2020 season created a domino effect from which the offense has never entirely recovered. Jackson grew less and less confident over the 2021 season as it became apparent he could not trust his tackles to provide a clean pocket. …The Ravens have bolstered their offensive line depth through free agency and the draft, but they still don't have a true stand-in if the Stanley of old does not show up in September. Jackson is the most important player on the team, but Stanley is the guy who allows him to be that player."
OC Greg Roman
"Here we are again. A loud contingent of Ravens fans wanted [John] Harbaugh to fire Roman after last season. Their gripes — unimaginative passing attack, overreliance on the power game, poorly conceived routes for the wide receivers — have become a chorus echoing behind everything the Ravens do (or don't do) on offense. [Marquise] Brown reinforced their discontent when, after his trade to Arizona, he said Roman's system 'wasn't for me.' All this bile for a coordinator whose offense ran all over the league in 2019 and still managed to finish sixth in total yardage last season. … Given the Ravens' lack of investment in wide receivers and their stockpiling of tight ends, many have wondered if Roman is aiming to recapture his formula from 2019, when the Ravens rolled up rushing yards at a historic rate and thrived on low-volume, high-efficiency passing. Regardless of his approach, Roman, and the hot seat he occupies, will be a story from Week 1 on."
OLB David Ojabo
"The conventional wisdom is that this will amount to a redshirt season for the former Michigan standout, who broke out last year under the Ravens' new defensive coordinator, Mike Macdonald. But Ojabo has said he expects to play at some point in 2022. With his long, powerful frame, he looks the part of an NFL pass rusher, even when he's merely walking around a practice field in shorts and a pullover. Given his athletic traits and his familiarity with Macdonald's system, could he make a crucial play coming off the edge in a late-season game? We cannot rule it out, and that means Ojabo's progress will be a story to watch all season. The Ravens are short of young pass rushers aside from Ojabo's old high school pal, Odafe Oweh, so they'll be awaiting the cavalry."
Is Mark Andrews' 'Madden' Rating Too Low?
Yesterday's release of the tight end rankings for "Madden" sparked a heated reaction regarding Mark Andrews' overall player rating in the popular video game.
Andrews is the third-highest-rated tight end, moving up one spot from last year's rankings, but some feel his 93 OVR (up from last year's 88 OVR) isn't high enough. Kansas City's Travis Kelce (98 OVR) and San Francisco's George Kittle (97) took the top two spots.
Andrews is coming off one of the best seasons for a tight end in history. Last season he led the position in catches (107) and receiving yards (1,361) and tied for first in touchdowns (nine).
Lamar Jackson and John Harbaugh Slip in Top 10 Quarterback/Head Coach Rankings
Jackson and Harbaugh have won a lot of games together since Jackson became the starting quarterback halfway through the 2018 season, but they dropped out of the top five in CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr’s annual top 10 quarterback/head coach duos entering this season.
Jackson/Harbaugh came in at No. 6, down from No. 5 last year. Despite the Ravens duo's drop in the rankings, Kerr had a lot of good things to say about them. However, he cited their lack of a deep playoff run as a sticking point.
"The Jackson-Harbaugh combination is one of the best in the NFL, regardless if the pair has just one playoff win together in their three-and-a-half seasons," Kerr wrote. "Jackson is one of the most valuable players in the league, but Harbaugh deserves a ton of credit for finding his franchise quarterback. …Last season was Harbaugh's first losing campaign since 2015, but don't bank on that again. With a healthy Jackson, the Ravens should be Super Bowl contenders. Jackson and Harbaugh need to take that next step."
The duos ranked ahead of Jackson and Harbaugh were: 1. Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid; 2. Los Angeles Rams' Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay; 3. Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur; 3. ; 4. Buffalo's Josh Allen and Sean McDermott; and 5. Cincinnati's Joe Burrow and Zac Taylor.
Rashod Bateman Having a Breakout Season Is a 'Necessity'
Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner is the latest pundit to predict a breakout season for wide receiver Rashod Bateman. Renner ranked the 2021 first-round pick at No. 5 in his second-year breakout candidates rankings, but he added the caveat that Bateman has no choice but to make a big leap.
"Bateman's breakout is more a necessity than a prediction at this point. If not him, then who?" Renner wrote on ESPN.com. "While tight end Mark Andrews will be the focal point of Baltimore's passing game, the Hollywood Brown-less receiving corps of Devin Duvernay, James Proche II, Tylan Wallace, Jaylon Moore and Binjimen Victor isn't instilling fear in anyone."
The Ravens have expressed confidence in their quartet of young receivers (Bateman, Duvernay, Proche and Wallace), and all four are entering the season with a chip on their shoulder, determined to prove critics wrong.
Bateman, who showed flashes during his injury-shortened rookie season, has made it clear that he's ready for a leading role in the passing game.
"I feel like Baltimore drafted me for a reason,"' Bateman said on teammate Marlon Humphrey's "Studio 44” podcast. "They drafted me to be in this position. For me, all I've been waiting on is the opportunity. I know what I'm capable of, I feel like the Ravens organization knows what I'm capable of. I'm just excited to go out and finally show it to the fans and especially to my teammates, for sure."
- Safety Marcus Williams was ranked No. 45 in PFF’s rankings of the 50 best players in the NFL. The PFF50 is being revealed throughout the week in reverse order.