The Ravens new offense is equipped with a new playbook. It has a new approach, directed by Greg Roman, a new offensive coordinator. Implementing a new scheme takes time, and that in part, is the purpose of training camp.
On the flip side, the Ravens defense is far ahead of the offense. Typically, that’s the case at this time of year regardless of change. But the inequities are exacerbated by a new-look offense competing against an established approach to defense. These are the growing pains for Lamar Jackson & Co.
But the potential of the offense is invigorating.
Of course, it all starts with Lamar.
When the fastest player on the field is the quarterback, it puts pressure on opposing defenses. They have to stay home a bit longer. They have to read a bit more. They have to spread out to contain the speed. All of these things open up opportunities for the other offensive players.
Last season, undrafted rookie Gus Edwards averaged 5.4 yards per carry when Lamar was the starter. During his senior season at Rutgers, Edwards averaged 4.3 yards. Gus The Bus is a north and south runner with good body lean. He’s benefitted from defenses spread thin by Lamar’s presence. Imagine how former Heisman winner Mark Ingram will benefit. He’s averaged 4.9 YPC in New Orleans over the last 3 seasons.
As a change-of-pace back, the Ravens have Justice Hill who has shown a tremendous burst during camp. He’s shifty, with good vision and attacks as a runner. The added speed in the backfield places more pressure on an already pressured defense.
At tight end, the Ravens have a burgeoning star in the form of Mark Andrews. He’s a big target who moves well and really has a feel for the passing game. He’s a challenge for linebackers who are assigned to cover him and a total mismatch for safeties, and given the presence of Lamar, he’ll get plenty of chances in single-coverage.
On the outside the Ravens have Miles Boykin who has been described to me as a young AJ Green. Now admittedly those are big shoes to fill, but Boykin does have very good speed for a man who is 6’4” tall. He has a tremendous catch radius and has shown plus hands throughout camp. He’s a student of the game and seems to have a knack for getting open.
Opposite Boykin, it’s likely to be rookie sidekick Marquise Brown. Brown is a burner who accelerates quickly and is proficient with the route tree. His home run hitting ability will draw attention, probably with some over-the-top support from opposing safeties. But that alone is a win because that’s one less defender to stop the Ravens rushing attack or to help choke the efforts of Jackson, Andrews or Boykin.
Greg Roman has to be licking his chops.
It’s early but the potential is there for a very exciting Ravens offense.
Yes, Ravens fans, you read that right.