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Can the Ravens Keep “Joker” Around?

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Hot take #1: Rashod Bateman is going to be the best WR the Ravens have ever drafted.

Sure, the list isn’t long in terms of successful WR’s the Ravens organization has drafted but Rashod Bateman stands to be the best of all. I know he had the terrible drop the other day but that was more of a result of him trying to make a play before he had the ball. I am not excusing that, but that’s a far different type of drop than what we used to see out of Breshad Perriman, for example. Bateman just looked so natural and comfortable out there. He ended up playing 45 snaps, which is way more than they intended but it was because he looked like he belonged out there.

We will see how much missing most of training camp and the first five games of the year affects him but the upside is huge for this kid.

Hot take #2:  The upcoming DeShon Elliott decision is going to be very tough to make.

The Ravens will have a good amount of cap space this offseason but it will get quickly eaten up by extensions for existing players.  DeShon Elliott is one of those potential guys. He is a very integral part of the defense but there are legit questions on if he is a good complement to Chuck Clark and if he is enough of a playmaker at safety. I have always liked him but between the fit, the money owed and his injury history, it may be tough to justify keeping him around. 

That being said, he is a major piece to this defense and if he starts to play consistently like he did on Sunday, you may not have a choice but to keep him.

Hot take #3:  Devonta Freeman needs the ball more.

It seems like the Ravens will not be playing Ty’Son Williams anytime soon, unless an injury occurs. Latavius Murray is able to bang for the tough yards and Le’Veon Bell does a good job in pass protection and perhaps he will get some more carries and, maybe more importantly, some catches out of the backfield, but it appears that Devonta Freeman has the most burst of the three. 

I am not sure how much he really has left but for right now, try to use those legs as much as you can. He still has some big play upside and he showed good vision against the Chargers.

Hot take #4:  Mark Andrews is showing that he belongs in the conversation as the best TE in the game.

One of the biggest things that has come out of the last few weeks is that Mark Andrews is playing at a very high level. Not that he hasn’t always been good, but he has had the tendency to disappear in big games. That hasn’t happened the last few weeks. PFF has him as the No. 1 TE in football right now, with a grade of 91.8. He has always been Lamar Jackson‘s biggest weapon but with Marquise Brown stepping up his game and now with Bateman out there, teams won’t be able to key on Andrews as much.  In the last few years, the TE top tier has been Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Darren Waller

Andrews is quickly joining them and you could argue that he is best all-around TE out of the group because of his blocking. 

Hot take #5: John Harbaugh is the Coach of the Year thus far.

There are always a lot of good candidates for this, or any, award and picking one guy is tough but right now, it has to be John Harbaugh. The Ravens have 16 guys on IR (and it sounds like Stanley could become No. 17). They have navigated a tougher than expected early season schedule to a 5-1 record that is the best in the AFC. If they are able to beat Cincinnati (a game that figures to be tough but one the Ravens should win) this weekend, they will be two full games ahead in the division with a bye week and three straight out of division games, in all of which they figure to be favored. The respect the players seem to have for Harbaugh really shows. 

He gets these guys to play hard for him and the additions he made to the coaching staff this offseason have proven to be home runs so far. 

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