Time For a Little Street Ball Photo Credit: Shawn Hubbard, Baltimore Ravens

Lombardi's Way Time For a Little Street Ball

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Say Yes to No Huddle

Lamar Jackson has been the talk of the NFL following his electrifying performance on Monday Night at M&T Bank Stadium. During the second half alone (including OT), Lamar connected on 29 of 32 passes for 335 yards and 4 touchdowns. Add it up and that’s a passer rating of 149.9 after intermission.

Lamar climbed the pocket well and really stepped into his throws. The resulting darts shredded the Colts secondary regardless of whether they showed man or Cover 2/3. For those who regularly say that accuracy can’t be taught, I’m here to tell you that with hard work and refined mechanics, accuracy can improve. Lamar is a perfect case-in-point. Feel free to argue the semantics of whether or not that’s taught.

In order for the Ravens to pull off the comeback win, a lot had to go right. Plus the offense needed a sense of urgency. Lamar guided the no huddle offense on three successive drives in the second half and overtime, resulting in 27 plays that produced 221 yards (8.2 YPP) and 3 touchdowns. The style of play fit Lamar like a custom suit from HLK. And the results beg the question, why not make the no huddle an integral part of the offensive repertoire? Why not use it proactively instead of just during times of desperation?

Running no huddle inhibits the opposing defensive coordinator’s ability to counter with a full array of substitutional packages given the down-and-distance situation. It also keeps the defensive front on the field where they’ll wear down and THAT, becomes a best friend to the offensive line – a much maligned O-line that has seen injuries to Ronnie Stanley, Tyre Phillips and now Ben Cleveland.

Potential Moves

Earlier today I wrote a piece on Patrick Queen who for the moment, is one of the weak links in Wink Martindale’s defense. Suddenly Anthony Averett seems to be another and given the 500+ yards the Ravens surrendered to the then 21st-ranked Colts offense on Monday Night, #RavensFlock is seeking reinforcements for what has become and extremely leaky defense.

Finding a replacement for the slumping Queen won’t be easy and more than likely it will have to come from within. Martindale’s complex system takes some ramp up time plus the Ravens only have $2.3M in cap space with which to augment the roster. Unless they restructure Marcus Peters’ contract, a street free agent for all intents and purposes, would have to accept a veteran minimum deal.

As for Averett, he’s played well for the most part, the Colts game notwithstanding. As a counter move the Ravens could put Jimmy Smith on the boundary when DeShon Elliott returns, presumably this week. Chris Westry is set to return from a lateral meniscus injury in a few weeks, so that too represents another alternative. The guess here is that the Ravens will give Averett a vote of confidence and stick with him another week but with the Chargers’ Keenan Allen and Mike Williams on deck, AA could be on a short leash.

Quick Hits

Let’s give credit to Greg Roman, shall we? Given the hits to the offensive line, the backfield and first-round pick Rashod Bateman, it’s pretty impressive that the Ravens have the league’s No. 1 ranked offense and the 6th-ranked passing offense, up from 32 last season. Also give an assist to assistants Tee Martin and Keith Williams. The offensive brain trust has really meshed well together…Since the disaster in Detroit, Marquise Brown has bounced back – a true measure of character. During his last two outings Brown has 13 catches for 216 yards and 3 TDs (16.6 YPC).

Photo Credit: Shawn Hubbard, Baltimore Ravens

Interesting move by John Harbaugh on Monday, sending Justin Tucker out for the coin toss in overtime. My spidey senses tell me there was a little gamesmanship at play on the heels of Colts K Rodrigo Blankenship’s struggles…Andre Smith has been awful for the Ravens but his presence is an indicator of the team’s rather dire situation at tackle. In a previous piece I opined that UDFA T Adrian Ealy who is currently on the practice squad, would be a better alternative. Well, that’s no longer an option. Ealy has been suspended without pay for six games for violating the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances.

Lastly, I was born and raised in the Baltimore area. I’ve never left. I’ve also never seen our city in such shambles and I pray for its recovery. I also feel for anyone who works for the city’s Department of Tourism. How do the attract new tourists? They can’t even attract ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown crew who were noticeably absent from the pregame festivities, apparently preferring the comfort of their studio set.

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony is the founder EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com. His work has been featured on various sports websites and he hosts The Russell Street Report and Armchair Quarterback both seen and heard on Fanimal Radio. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi
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