Monday, January 25, 2021

INTELLIGENT CONVERSATION

Twelve Ravens thoughts following Week 11 loss to Tennessee

AUDIO VAULT

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

With the Ravens falling to 6-4 after the deflating 30-24 overtime loss to Tennessee on Sunday, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. John Harbaugh’s pregame confrontation with the Titans didn’t seem to fire up his team as the Ravens went three-and-out, committed pass interference on their first defensive play, and surrendered an easy Tennessee touchdown on the first drive. Baltimore has failed to score on its opening drive in four straight games.

2. There’s no understating the impact of losing Ronnie Stanley, Nick Boyle, and Marshal Yanda from last year’s team, but this Ravens offense continues to look indecisive and plays as though it’s moving uphill. Since their big rushing day against Pittsburgh, the Ravens have averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. 

3. Lamar Jackson was late delivering end-zone passes to both Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown that could have been touchdowns and missed a few other throws that should have been completed. It’s apparent this organization put too much faith in its young wide receivers, but Jackson still needs to be better.

4. After an admirable first three quarters, the Ravens surrendered 104 yards on 12 carries in the fourth quarter and overtime. Justin Ellis failed to control the middle in his career-high 58 defensive snaps while Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington didn’t record as much as a tackle in 62 combined snaps.

5. Derek Wolfe played well again, but you worry about him wearing down as he’s averaged 52 snaps per game these last three weeks. Brandon Williams won’t play against Pittsburgh after going on the COVID-19 list while John Harbaugh is “hopeful” about Calais Campbell’s possible return. He didn’t sound very convincing.

6. Mark Andrews played a career-high 56 snaps, caught a touchdown, and registered a season-high 96 receiving yards. Not only is he Jackson’s most reliable weapon, but his blocking has really improved. Though losing Boyle remains a major blow to this offense, Andrews being on the field more is a positive.

7. Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are regularly credited as one of the NFL’s best cornerback duos, but their poor coverage and tackling in the fourth quarter and overtime were big reasons why the Ravens lost. Considering how banged up the defensive line was, that was disappointing. 

8. Dez Bryant made his presence felt with four catches for 28 yards and was open several other times despite Jackson going elsewhere with the ball. Expectations should remain tempered, but the 32-year-old looked the part, which might be a greater indictment of the other wide receivers as much as anything.

9. Despite being sidelined with COVID-19, J.K. Dobbins should remain the focal point of the running game. The rookie touching the ball 15-plus times per game guarantees nothing, but he’s the best back Baltimore has at making something from nothing. He’s also very demonstrative about wanting to stay in the game.

10. Top wide receiver Marquise Brown caught zero passes on three targets in 47 offensive snaps while rookie James Proche made one reception for 14 yards and a first down on his only offensive snap of the afternoon. Brown’s disappearance in this offense is a major problem.

11. Meanwhile, Titans receiver A.J. Brown — the man who stole the soul of the Baltimore defense late in the fourth quarter — was drafted 26 spots after Marquise Brown in 2019. In addition to being bigger and stronger, he’s shown more than enough speed to pick up significant yards after the catch.

12. Justice Hill has drawn negative attention for penalties in recent weeks, but the intensity he’s shown on special teams leaves me wanting to see him get some opportunities in the backfield. We’ll see if he takes advantage with Dobbins and Mark Ingram unfortunately being sidelined for the coming week.  

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