Twelve Ravens thoughts following Super Bowl LV

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With Super Bowl LV bringing an unprecedented 2020 NFL season to its conclusion, I’ve offered a dozen Ravens thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. It’s ironic that Tom Brady helped remind us that dynasty talk is almost always premature. Kansas City remains the team to beat in the AFC for Baltimore and others, but it’s incredibly difficult to accomplish what New England did for so long. The Chiefs had no answers on Sunday night.

2. At least one prominent sportsbook sees the Ravens tied for fourth with Buffalo and the Los Angeles Rams for the best odds to win next year’s Super Bowl behind Kansas City, Green Bay, and Tampa Bay. That sounds about right for a team needing to improve its passing game.

3. How the Orlando Brown Jr. situation plays out will be fascinating for a team whose margin for error shrinks further after 2021. Even if there’s a suitor offering a first-round pick, that potential — but non-guaranteed — long-term value doesn’t erase the unsettling proposition of opening another hole on the offensive line.

4. I do wonder if Brown’s play at left tackle would have made the Ravens reconsider long-term plans if Stanley had suffered the ankle injury before signing his $98.75 million extension in late October. Baltimore should still be more than happy with Stanley as long as he returns to pre-injury form. 


5. Watching former LSU inside linebacker Devin White shine for the victorious Buccaneers in the postseason was a reminder of the need to have patience with Patrick Queen. Many of the same questions and criticisms for White after his rookie year apply to Queen, who has similar physical traits.

6. The rise of Ryan Jensen from a late-round Division II prospect starting only nine games over his first four years to the NFL’s highest-paid center in 2018 and now a Super Bowl champion is quite a story. The current Ravens offense could use his play — and his nasty streak.

7. Baltimore native Shaquil Barrett has been another great story going from an undrafted rotational player in Denver to a standout pass rusher with 27 1/2 sacks and the most pressures in the league over two seasons with Tampa Bay. The 28-year-old is in line for a major payday.

8. With Sunday’s report that the 2021 salary cap is expected to be around $180 million, the Ravens will have roughly $30 million less than they would have projected at this time a year ago. All teams are in the same boat, of course, but how each proceeds will be interesting.

9. Patrick Mahomes looking so mortal against Tampa Bay’s excellent front reinforces how important offensive line play remains while skill positions receive all of the attention. There’s much uncertainty up front for the Baltimore offense right now with only so many resources to go around.

10. To be clear, that’s not to say loud calls for a significant upgrade at wide receiver are wrong. According to Pro Football Focus, Ravens wide receivers graded among the NFL’s five lowest-graded groups and had only 38 explosive receptions of 15-plus yards, 11 fewer than any other team’s wide receivers.

11. You had to smile at the news of the Ravens hiring Jason Brooks as an assistant defensive line coach. The 43-year-old previously worked for Baltimore from 2009-13 and is the son of the late Clarence Brooks, the beloved defensive line coach who worked for the Ravens for over a decade.

12. Credit John Harbaugh for hiring four assistant coaches all having recent experience coaching at the collegiate level. Considering how many college concepts have made their way to NFL offenses in recent years, pass game specialist Keith Williams and wide receivers coach Tee Martin should bring fresh and interesting perspectives. 

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