You hear it all the time – the NFL is a passing league. Along with that you are regularly reminded of things such as:
• The rules have been changed to enable more scoring.
• The league wants more scoring.
• Fantasy football drives ratings and they want more scoring.
• The NFL now resembles Arena Football.
But did you know that since the Ravens entered the league in 1996, the average points scored by team per game has increased by just 1.9 points – less than a field goal. In 1996 teams averaged 21.4 points per game. In 2018 teams averaged 23.3 points. The all-time high average is 23.4 which happened in 2013.
Rules HAVE changed for the benefit of offenses BUT, defenses have adjusted. To temper scoring, front offices have placed premiums on speed rushers; defenders who can disrupt the pocket; linebackers who can cover; and safeties who can run.
So, with all of the attention given to defending the pass, might it not be a good idea for offenses to shift their focus towards attacking faster but lighter defenses with the run? Pound the ball down the throats of opponents? Take away their will while keeping the ball out of the hands of opposing offenses?
Make sense, right?
Maybe the Ravens run first offense isn’t such a bad idea.
So, the next time you question the intelligence of the Ravens run first offense in a pass happy league, maybe, just maybe the Ravens are one step ahead.
A Weddlesbeard Reunion?
When the Ravens courted Eric Weddle prior to the 2016 season, they had competition for the then 3-time Pro Bowler. The competition? None other than the Pittsburgh Steelers. From what I’ve been told, the money offers were similar. The Assistant GM’s were not.
Eric DeCosta was heavily involved in recruiting Weddle and when Weddle’s tenure in Baltimore ended upon his release, there were no hard feelings. The two Eric’s grew close during the now 6-time Pro Bowler’s tenure in Charm City and Weddle believes that they will remain close, even suggesting that he could be working for DeCosta down the road. DeCosta shares the sentiment.
Recently, Weddle sat down with Sports Illustrated’s, Andy Benoit for a film study session and at one-point Benoit questioned the safety on a play during the 2018 season when Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey both showed man coverage only to effectively release their receivers and drop into zones. Benoit asked Weddle to share the secret of the play’s success.
Weddle refused, saying, “I can’t give away all my secrets.”
To which Benoit replied, “But you don’t play for them anymore.”
To which Weddle responded, “Those are my guys though. I could never turn my back on my guys over there.”
THAT’S a standup dude.
Now I’m sure that Weddle will use his intel to help the Rams try and defeat his old mates when the Ravens visit the LA Coliseum on Monday night, November 25, assuming he recognizes the new Baltimore offense.
But the respect was obvious. It was written in Weddle’s eyes. It’s respect that was earned by a great organization that takes care of their own. Respect earned by the welcoming culture that Messrs. Bisciotti, Newsome, DeCosta and Harbaugh have fostered.
And consequently, it would surprise no one, if the California native once again, hauls his family east to rejoin his guys.
This year’s NFL Draft was an overwhelming success in Nashville. The energy was unprecedented up and down the streets of Broadway. Music City represented well.
Next year the draft moves from The Gulch of Nashville to the Glitter Gulch of Las Vegas and while it’s a different kind of vibe, no one delivers a party like Sin City. And how does the NFL plan to top that in 2021? With a trip to Cleveland – the mistake by the lake.
Nothing like a trip to the shores of Lake Erie in April where the average high temperatures are 57 degrees and snow accumulates regularly in April to the tune of 3.3 inches. Really?
Now Cleveland is the same city which busted up its stadium and threw pieces of it on the field during the Browns final game in 1995. This is the same city that hurled beer bottles on to the field during a game, peppering players and game officials. This is the same city that is home to fans that tackled a young Jets fan because the Browns lost and the youngster wore his Jets colors.
This city gets the NFL Draft?
Now I’m a native Baltimorean and while I’d love for the draft to be in B’more, the realist in me knows that not only is Baltimore far down the pecking order of potential host cities, our city, DOES NOT deserve it. We all know it’s a mess and if we’re honest with ourselves and each other, if Cleveland was as bad as Baltimore, OUR city with a myriad of deep-rooted problems, we’d be slaying the NFL for its choice.
That said, I’m proud to call Baltimore home. Despite its problems, it really does live up to the moniker of Charm City, with awesome neighborhoods, ethnics customs and incredible people. And maybe it’s those things that will help get the city back on track – back to the good ole days – back to The Land of Pleasant Living.