Ravens rethink, Lawrence looks to prove himself
The Baltimore Ravens could once again build a promising roster, also Lamar Jackson could be kept. Jacksonville is hoping for another playoff run.
The most important building block of the offense is in place with the new contract for quarterback Lamar Jackson. Negotiating with the star player for a total of 27 months, Jackson will remain with the franchise for at least five more years. And the offense has been tweaked in other ways, too: Odell-Beckham Junior, Rashod Bateman and rookie receiver Zay Flowers form a receiver group that should be among the best in the league. Fittingly, new OC Todd Monken takes over and is expected to rebuild the unit from a run-heavy focus to more of a passing game. The defensive line also gets support, with LB Trenton Simpson signed in the draft.
The Ravens have bet everything on Lamar Jackson. If he were to get injured again, a title win for the Baltimore franchise would most likely be off the table once again. The system change could also cause problems for the 26-year-old, not for nothing is Jackson considered one of the best runners among NFL QBs. Even if Trenton Simpson was brought in for the defense, the management trusts that professionals like Ojabo or Oweh will continuously improve. A poker that works out?
Motto of the season: Focus on Jackson. With the biggest contract in the NFL, the QB has to deliver. If he performs, a title for the Ravens is definitely conceivable.
Will the young guns, mix up the offense? Tight end Brenton Strange and running back Tang Bigsby fit Jacksonville’s system very well and add another dimension to the offense. Whether it’s the secondary, the receiving corps or the quarterback position, the Jags bring a lot of solid and promising units. Another benefit, much remains the same from last season. Especially for young Lawrence, this continuity is worth its weight in gold. Now it’s up to head coach Doug Pederson to make the most of this advantage.
Depth on the roster is arguably the overriding problem on the Jags’ defense, with a particular need in the pass rush. The departure of defensive end Arden Key hurts, especially his presence on the field and flexibility will be missed. Fifth-round pick Yasir Abdullah is talented, but whether he can immediately take over a crucial role in the pass rush is questionable. While there has been a decent investment in the offensive line, many experts don’t rate the unit nearly as strong as Jacksonville itself. Only Brandon Scherff has a proven track record of playing successfully in the NFL, while left tackle Cam Robinson is suspended indefinitely. Both Luke Fortner and Tyler Shatley are viewed critically outside of the franchise.
Motto of the season: Pederson and Lawrence – what else can this duo accomplish together in the coming years?