Product of the Past
Lamar Jackson is without a doubt the most dynamic quarterback when it comes to a duel threat, which is becoming more common in the league each season. Of course, other players are prone to scramble more often than not such as Josh Allen, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, and many others. In just two seasons as the starter, Jackson has thrown for 7,000 yards with 68 touchdowns and just 18 interceptions. Not bad for a running back! Add over 2,000 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns over the past two seasons on the ground. This guy makes plays!
However, most of those other quarterbacks are able to tuck and run due to the success of their passing game. The Ravens have struggled heavily when it comes to developing a strong pass game, due to their lack of weapons. Over the past two seasons, defenses have been able to strictly game plan for Lamar and his rushing ability alongside a fantastic connection through the air with Mark Andrews. A tight end should never lead the team in receiving yards in this day and age, unless you have Travis Kelce or Darren Waller. With absolutely no disrespect to Andrews, he is not a number one pass catching target. That all should change this year.
Upgrading the Offense
The Baltimore organization is finally putting a stop to their roster lacking pass catchers while Lamar Jackson remains in the prime years of his career. Marquise Brown has shown flashes of being a great wide receiver, specifically as a deep threat to open the field for Lamar which is great. Acquiring veteran Sammy Watkins in free agency will be an enormous boost to go along with drafting Rashod Bateman. Reports out of training camp are highlighting Bateman looking NFL ready. But we’ll see once the season rolls around.
Keep in mind, Bateman will be going up against two of the best corners the NFL has to offer in training camp. He’ll most likely will get amazing advice on and off the field. Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphreys are both All-Pro type of cornerbacks. Their presence will only fast track the ramp-up time of Bateman in his first season in the league. J.K. Dobbins is in store for a huge season as well being the lead back. He should see a plethora of targets out of the backfield, with opposing defensive units being so focused on Lamar.
This upcoming season can be the best one yet for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Yes, even better than his phenomenal MVP season in 2019! A substantial upgrade in the pass game should have Lamar right back in MVP contention. He could even possibly lead Baltimore to 12 or 13 wins in the new 17 game season. Their toughest challenge will come right in their division with the Cleveland Browns and their star studded roster. In his two full seasons as a starter, Jackson has a career regular season record of 25-7 and finally got his first career playoff win last year at Tennessee. I believe the Ravens can possibly be in a position to make a run at the Super Bowl in 2021, due to their upgrades in the passing game.
-Fred O’Brien (@FOBSportsNFL)
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