The Ravens and Lamar Jackson Looking to Silence Non-Believers
The Baltimore Ravens have ushered in a new era with Lamar Jackson being the unchallenged top quarterback on the roster. Super Bowl champion quarterback Joe Flacco now resides in Denver.
Flacco received criticism over his time in Baltimore for what he be was perceived to lacking, and Jackson will try to avoid a similar fate. Jackson’s critics are that he consistently cannot win games with his arm and the league second-ranked rushing attack will falter this year.
Jackson ran for 695 yeards last year on 4.7 yards per rush. The Ravens rushing attack appeared to catch defenses off guard, but the NFL is notorious for catching up, and the Ravens and Jackson may find running the ball more challenging in 2019.
The expectation is defenses will find ways to flood the box, leaving the secondary exposed in man-to-man coverage or zone with one single high safety. The Los Angeles Chargers executed this defense in the playoffs keeping the Ravens scoreless until the third quarterback. The Ravens lost the game, however, found that Jackson under the pressure of having to bring his team back with his arm could. The Ravens came back from 17 points down in the fourth quarter to only lose by 6 points.
The playoff game is not necessary for a full litmus test for Jackson as this was only one game. The game does provide hope that he will be able to be successful in attacking a defense that loads up against stopping the running game.
The new offensive coordinator Greg Roman is hoping to guide Jackson into growing to his full potential. Roman previously worked with dual-threat quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Colin Kaepernick.
The defense is also starting a new era as many of the pillars of the defense are now elsewhere. The team lost outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, safety Eric Weddle, defensive end Brent Urban. The Ravens also will be missing star middle linebacker C.J. Mosley and future Hall of Fame edge defender Terrell Suggs. Suggs had been a cog for the Ravens dense since 2003.
The Ravens signed another future Hall of Famer in safety Earl Thomas, and their defense is hoping their young talent will mature quickly. The defense is something else Jackson can not rely on to keep him and the team in every game if the passing game is faltering.
The Ravens projected win total stands at 8 1/2 games. My prediction is they will not reach this number and will finish 500 or below and out of the playoffs this year.