Back in January I wrote a piece about what the Ravens needed to do to fix their offense going into the 2018 season. With free agency and the draft clearly in the rear view, let’s see how they did.
Change The Evaluation Room?
The team announced in February that Eric Decosta would take over as GM in 2019. He’s spent much of his air time deflecting any questions of change, undoubtedly out of respect for his mentor Ozzie Newsome. One of the more fascinating factors moving forward will be how Decosta differs from Newsome.
The Ravens clearly knew how bad things had gotten. In an absolute depth chart demolition, they added 5 receivers through free agency and the draft. They also took two tight ends in the first 3 rounds of the draft.
Chris Moore-they did well to keep his 2019 ceiling as a WR3, likely WR4. Moore can be a useful vertical receiver and give the quality depth and supplementary snaps but anything higher would have been a stretch.
Kenneth Dixon-The team did not add any running backs in the draft or free agency to this point, giving Dixon an opportunity to reclaim his 2016 promise.
Prioritize Separation and YAC?
The trio of John Brown, Willie Snead and Jordan Lasley offer a little more open field wiggle than we’re used to. The rookie tight end duo of Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews stand to be a pretty significant after the catch upgrade over last year’s group. Mornhinweg/Roman’s play action concepts should have a little more pop in 2018.
Don’t Look For a Savior?
At the outset of free agency, the Ravens registered interest in higher profile free agents such as Jimmy Graham, Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson and Trey Burton. Maybe if they were successful in signing one of those guys things might have turned out differently but the team seemed really determined to take multiple bites at the apple this offseason. After adding John Brown and Michael Crabtree to the fold they offered Dez Bryant a contract and brought Cameron Meredith, Willie Snead and Eric Decker in for visits. They eventually waited the Saints out and signed Willie Snead to a 2-year deal after Dez Bryant declined the team’s 3-year offer. The team’s aggressive and opportunistic approach was one I was hoping to see and should be applauded.
Orlando Brown, Jr. wasn’t the level of athlete I pined for in the original piece. In fact, after his combine I don’t think he’s the level of athlete anybody’s looking for necessarily but I’m in the camp that thinks Brown can excel. He’s massive, plays angry, has underrated feet and did I mention he was massive? His insane size and length is not easily maneuvered around. It may not always be pretty but he’s a player that gets the job done.
This offseason wasn’t navigated without error. The Ryan Grant contract offer was weird. I would have liked to have seen them make more upside plays at pass catcher in the draft. At the same time, the drafting of Lamar Jackson gives the offense a centerpiece that counter balances the lack of game changing upside in the skill positions.
The Ravens without question improved their offense. For the first time in a while there seems to be a tangible foundation in place to build on.
Did they “fix” it?
Time will tell but it’s certainly a big step in the right direction.