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Trade Deadline Nears

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More Ravens Moves on The Way?

RavensFlock seems a bit divided over the acquisition of Roquan Smith. Some love it. Some are indifferent, basing their indifference on a highly bloated sense of PFF usefulness and their corresponding underwhelming grades on Smith. And then there are others who think that Eric DeCosta gave up too much in the trade for a player who might amount to nothing more than a 9-game rental. This group preferred a trade for a wide receiver, particularly after John Harbaugh announced that Rashod Bateman’s injury was worse than the team initially anticipated. Bateman is expected to miss a few weeks and given today’s trade deadline AND the Ravens standard practice of being tight-lipped about injuries, Harbaugh’s revelation about Bateman was a bit of a head-scratcher.

But I digress…

The Smith trade leaves the Ravens with about $3M in cap space to work with. Perhaps by the trade deadline EDC will come up with a way in which to use that money to further strengthen the team. But it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if the next roster addition, assuming there is one, is something other than a receiver.

Of the receivers who might be available and affordable, the Jets Denzel Mims could work. He would hit the Ravens books for a little more than $600K in 2022 and the cap hit in 2023 is a modest $1.35M. But would he be that much better this year than the receivers the Ravens already have? Mims has only been on the field for 68 snaps with 3 receptions for 80 yards as a member of Gang Green this season and he would be learning an entirely new system without the benefit of practice time with Lamar Jackson. Maybe in 2022, Messrs. Proche, Jackson and Robinson are better options. Now if EDC can pull off some more trade deadline sleight of hand with the Carolina Panthers and bring D.J. Moore home to Maryland, that might be a different story. But that’s just wishful thinking.

The bet here is that if the Ravens pull off another trade, it will be a corner. There’s a reason the Ravens invested in Kyle Fuller. The Ravens have forever preached the credo, “you can’t have enough good corners”. With Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters grinding through minor nicks so far in 2022, a Fuller replacement could be in order. Peters, a Washington Huskies alum, could be joined by another Husky – Sidney Jones.

The Weakest Link

Greg Roman is oftentimes a focal point for fan angst. Not since Cam Cameron have we heard such an outpouring for a man’s job as that of Roman’s. And while he’s certainly culpable when the offense struggles, Roman isn’t the only repeat offender. So the sputtering offense (at times) isn’t all on him.

That said, I’ve never viewed Roman as the kind of coordinator who preys on the weaknesses of opponents. You don’t see the Ravens targeting a replacement corner who might be young, inexperienced or a much-traveled player, forced to fill in for an injured starter. Perhaps last week against the Bucs was an exception.

Tampa had some injuries in the secondary and the Ravens tried to exploit the replacements. But Bucs head coach appeared to have anticipated Roman’s aerial attack and his defense responded with a stingy outing that featured a variety of zone looks.

Lamar was limited to 144 yards passing in the first half – yes limited, considering he threw it 30 times before the break, dropping back 32 times during the team’s 39 first half offensive snaps. This approach was taken despite the fact that the Panthers, with the great PJ Walker under center and without Christian McCaffrey, rushed for 173 yards against Tampa.

Was this rope-a-dope approach part of the Ravens offensive plan? According to John Harbaugh, ABSOLUTELY (in my best Sly Stallone voice).

“That was the plan; we had a plan going in in terms of how we were going to try to approach this game. It really laid out exactly how we had anticipated, in terms of what we called, when we called it in terms of the run-pass ratio. I thought we’d do a little bit better than three points; we all thought we’d score a little bit more than three, but their defense is tough, and we couldn’t get going with first downs and getting drives extended, but that was how we planned on doing it.”

bullshit

When Lamar Jackson was asked if the Ravens planned to emphasize the run more in the second half, his message clashed with that of his head coach.

“No, there was really nothing like that – you know we’ve been doing things so whatever we need to do, we have to do it in the second half. Obviously, we were able to get the run game going and we stuck with it.”

[Related Article: Roquan Smith Trade is a Winner]

Old Man Yelling at The Clouds

I’m a bit old school in nature when it comes to end zone celebrations. I preferred the approach of Jamal Lewis who after a score normally dropped the ball, handed it to a ref or to an offensive lineman to allow him to slam it home. However, I really don’t mind the choreographed scoring festivities. Some are quite amusing.

But this is another area in which the league reveals its hypocritical tendencies. They allow the choreography. They allow a defense to collectively run into the end zone following a turnover but then they make calls like those below – one for taunting and another for a player (D.J. Moore) removing his helmet, the hypocrisy rears its ugly head. The penalty on Moore pushed the PAT back 15 yards, one that was missed, forcing overtime during which the Panthers lost the game. The silly penalty call cost Carolina a DUB.

Buyer Beware

As you are well aware, the Cardinals gave Kyler Murray a five-year contract extension worth up to $230.5 million with about $105 million guaranteed at signing and $160 million guaranteed for injury, per ESPN.

A few notes on Murray…

• He’s 3-5 in 2022
• His career record as a starter is 25-28-1
• Since starting the 2021 season with seven straight wins, Murray is 5-10 as a starter.
• In 2 of the 3 games he missed in 2021 due to injury, the Cardinals were 2-1, both wins on the road against the tough 49ers defense (W 31-17) and in Seattle, a challenging place to play (W 23-13)

Perhaps Arizona is feeling a little buyer’s remorse. Let’s hope the Ravens fix things with Lamar to establish consistency so that they one day aren’t regretting a franchise-changing contract.

Ravens Pass Rush

Don’t look now but the Ravens defense is currently tied for 5th in sacks with 23. And things are looking better. Justin Houston has 6 sacks, tied with Von Miller, Maxx Crosby and Khalil Mack, despite missing 3 games due to a groin injury. Odafe Oweh has shown some signs of breaking through and with the return of Tyus Bowser, the second-year edge defender will have fewer responsibilities in coverage, allowing him to focus more on being a menace to opposing signal callers.

Distributing edge rush responsibilities between Houston, Oweh, Jason Pierre-Paul and rookie David Ojabo will keep players fresh and boost productivity per snap. Don’t be surprised if before long the Ravens, given the return of Bowser and Ojabo plus newly acquired Roquan Smith, catapults the Ravens into the top 3 in the sack department.

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4 Responses

  1. Whether he is intentionally deceptive or not, I don’t believe a word Harbaugh says about injuries! He has a long history of misinformation when it comes to injuries! It also appears that he may be rushing injured players back before they’re fully healed or ready to play……

    1. Yeah, I also don’t believe that bit about throwing the ball 30 times in the 1st have was ” the plan”. What crock. I can’t stand to listen to this guy.

    2. I’m not buying rope a dope either more of Harbs bs with a smile. This is the NFL not the rumble in the jungle Russel St edition.

  2. I agree with the officiating call but it is not just football, it happens in all sports. I don’t know if it can be corrected but you see it in baseball when they grade out umpires and rarely are they penalized or terminated. In the NBA, you see it all the time especially when you see preferential treatment often times going to the star players.

    It’s sad but what is the fix? Maybe bonus pay for top rated officials? A grading system and suspend or terminate poor officials(umps, refs)? It’s just a state of professional sports now and will be until there is a solution. Inconsistent officiating=frustration for fans and players alike.

Comments are closed.

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