The Baltimore Ravens pushed the envelope in inventive ways in 2019. It sounds like they want to do it again in 2020.
The Ravens’ selection of running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round won praise, but also led some to wonder how the team planned to employ him alongside Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill. According to general manager Eric DeCosta, the idea is a four-way running back committee.
“I would equate it to us last year having the tight ends that we had – the three tight ends,” DeCosta said, via Ryan Mink of the team’s official website.
“[Offensive Coordinator] Greg [Roman] did an amazing job of taking those tight ends and really creating something special that made us very tough for defenses to play. And now we’ve got the four running backs and they all do different things well. It just makes us, I think, a really, really well-rounded team that’s tough to defend.”
From a fantasy value perspective, this won’t make people happy. In terms of inventive offense, though, it could be a lot of fun. Combine this with Lamar Jackson’s ability — and the team’s expectations on defense — and they could be a lot of fun to follow in 2020.
DJ Fluker was released by the Seattle Seahawks not long after the conclusion of the NFL Draft, but the veteran offensive lineman did not spend much time looking for a new job.
Fluker has agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Ravens, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.
Fluker, 29, was drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the 11th overall pick in 2013. He has since played for the New York Giants and Seahawks, starting 14 games for Seattle at right guard last season. Fluker likely became expendable to the Seahawks after they drafted former LSU offensive lineman Damien Lewis in the third round.
The Ravens should be a good fit for Fluker, as they have a need for a starting guard after eight-time Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda announced his retirement earlier this offseason.
The Arizona Cardinals were not the only team in the DeAndre Hopkins sweepstakes.
According to Michael Silver of NFL Media, the Baltimore Ravens tried to trade for Hopkins before the Cardinals ultimately made a deal with the Houston Texans last month.
This is a fun what-if scenario. Hopkins probably would have been dynamite with Lamar Jackson, and the Baltimore offense would have become even better.
Ultimately, the Texans opted to take on David Johnson’s contract in a deal with Arizona. The Ravens will have to look elsewhere for receiving help. A draft pick seems likely, but there was also a lot of chatter about a certain star receiver who was spotted working out with some Ravens players.
The Baltimore Ravens have moved quickly to bring in a new defensive lineman after one of their previous deals fell through.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that the Ravens have agreed to terms with defensive lineman Derek Wolfe on a one-year deal worth up to $6 million.
The Ravens clearly still wanted another defensive lineman and acted quickly to get it done. They had previously held up a deal with Michael Brockers over medical concerns, and ultimately opted out of signing him to a three-year contract. That left them with a need, and Wolfe will fill it.
Wolfe is coming off the best season of his career with the Denver Broncos. He collected seven sacks in just 12 games, and the Ravens will be hoping he can keep that kind of production going with his new team.
One of the big issues NFL teams are facing as they carry out free agency during the coronavirus pandemic is the inability for team doctors to perform physicals on potential signings. That is becoming a problem for one potential Baltimore Ravens signing.
According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, the Ravens have not finalized their deal with defensive lineman Michael Brockers due to concerns over the player’s physical, which turned up an issue with his ankle. That has called into question whether they’ll sign Brockers to the originally agreed deal, and they actually looked at potential alternatives on the market as well.
Brockers had an agreed deal nine days ago. Normally this would be sorted more quickly, but the restrictions on travel are proving a major issue here. It’s honestly a surprise that this has not happened with more deals to this point.
The Atlanta Falcons chose not to place the franchise tag on tight end Austin Hooper, and that may have been because they already had a replacement in place.
Not long after Hooper agreed to a multi-year deal with the Cleveland Browns, the Falcons acquired tight end Hayden Hurst in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. ESPN’s Adam Schefter had the full details of the trade:
Hurst, the No. 25 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, caught 30 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns last season. He made some big plays for Baltimore’s explosive offense, but he was clearly second on the depth chart behind fellow 2018 NFL Draft class tight end Mark Andrews. Hurst should have a decent role in Atlanta’s passing game.
The Baltimore Ravens have made a major addition to their defense ahead of free agency, as they have reached an agreement to acquire star defensive end Calais Campbell from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Campbell will be sent to Baltimore in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 33-year-old is in the process of working out a contract extension with the Ravens.
Campbell appeared in all 16 games in each of the three seasons he was with the Jaguars, and he was one of the anchors of their defense. He had 6.5 sacks in 2019 and 31.5 in three years with the Jags.
The Jaguars recently placed the franchise tag on star defensive lineman Yannick Ngakoue, though it is clear he wants out of Jacksonville. Trading Campbell is likely just the first of many significant changes for the Jaguars this offseason.
The Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs this year was pretty wild. There were a few blowouts, but even those games had very intriguing storylines, and one of those contests became one of the best games of the entire playoffs. The Seahawks and Packers treated us to a tight game as well, and there were plenty of twists and turns across the league.
We’ve picked out a few disappointments from the weekend. Special teams blunders played a huge role. Here’s a look at the biggest disappointments from the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
It’s impossible to single out one aspect of Baltimore’s terrible performance on Saturday. Instead, the blame has to be spread around. The Ravens’ vaunted defense couldn’t stop Derrick Henry from going for 195 yards. They had no answer for Tennessee’s array of trick plays and unlikely catches. Lamar Jackson was forced to throw 59 times, which is not at all what the Baltimore offense wants to do. The whole night was a disaster for the NFL’s hottest team, who did not look ready for primetime. This one will sting for a while, and raises new questions about whether the Ravens’ offense is built for playoff success.
Bill O’Brien, head coach, Texans
Momentum may be an overrated things in football, but O’Brien went against the grain in two key spots where it felt like the game turned. The first came in the second quarter, with the Texans up 21-0. O’Brien had the chance to go for the kill on a 4th-and-1 at the Kansas City 13. Instead of trying for a 28-0 lead, they kicked the field goal. The Chiefs woke up immediately, and after scoring a touchdown, they successfully forced a punt from Houston’s 31. O’Brien called a fake on 4th-and-4 that didn’t work, giving the Chiefs a short field to make it 24-14. Kansas City never looked back, and O’Brien’s bad decisions will be scrutinized for some time to come.
DeAndre Carter, KR, Texans
More than one divisional game swung on a kick return. There were plenty of key moments in Houston’s collapse against Kansas City, but DeAndre Carter’s kick return fumble may have been the biggest. It happened at a delicate point in the game, with Houston set to get the ball back after their 24-0 lead had been reduced to 24-14. A long drive with a touchdown could have settled everyone down and put the Texans back in control, but Carter’s fumble left the Chiefs 18 yards away from another touchdown. KC got that touchdown and then started to run away with the game. Carter’s fumble was arguably the tipping point in a total Houston meltdown.
Seattle Seahawks’ offensive gameplan
Despite a late intervention by the referees, one could argue that Seattle lost their game against Green Bay in the first half. The Seahawks seem nervous about letting Russell Wilson loose too early in games, and it costs them. Seattle’s standout quarterback was just 6-of-13 for 105 yards in the first half, and the Seahawks trailed 21-3. Seattle let Wilson free in the second, and he was much better, nearly leading the team to a comeback victory. Perhaps letting him loose a bit earlier would have made things a little easier for a Seattle offense that seems like it needs a rethink.
Marcus Sherels, PR, Vikings
Kirk Cousins’ third quarter interception was a big blow to the Vikings, but the worst thing that happened to them was Marcus Sherels’ muffed punt late in the third quarter. Minnesota had just made a key defensive stand and was set to get the ball back down two touchdowns — a tough comeback, but they at least had a chance. Or they did, until Sherels muffed the punt that would have given Minnesota the ball back. San Francisco recovered, and though they only scored a field goal, the damage was done. The Vikings would not score again. Maybe they lose even if Sherels does his job, but that moment felt like a nail in the coffin.
The Tennessee Titans had some fun at the expense of the opposition after Saturday’s massive upset victory.
As the Titans players exited the field following their 28-12 win over the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens in their divisional playoff game, they were heard to yell “Big Truss” on their way to the locker room.
Titans safety Kevin Byard, who had a huge interception off Lamar Jackson to set the tone in the first quarter, was among those yelling it.
“Big Truss” was the Ravens’ mantra during their stellar 14-2 regular season. Running back Mark Ingram even famously used it to hype up Jackson in a November press conference. Unfortunately, the mantra became so popular that it was bound to blow up in their faces if and when they got eliminated.
Drake has claimed yet another victim in the sports world.
The Baltimore Ravens lost at home 28-12 to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night to see their season come to a premature and disappointing end. Those who were following things during the week might have seen it coming, though.
On Tuesday, Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson turned 23. Drake, a famous rapper, wished the quarterback happy birthday via Instagram. The message showed Drake wearing clothing that said “Truss” on it, which is a phrase the Ravens have used this season.
Right then and there, Drake officially and publicly showed his support to LJ, and it came before the Ravens’ playoff game.
So what’s the problem?
Drake is notorious for being a frontrunner, and whenever he jumps on a bandwagon, the team seems to lose. He even acknowledged that during the NFL playoffs last year.
Lamar Jackson would respectfully disagree with the notion he was cursed this week. He says he’s been friendly with the rapper for a while.
“Yeah it was pretty cool,” Jackson said of the shoutout. “I’ve been talking to Drake for the longest, you guys don’t know that, but I’ve been talking to him for the longest, so it was pretty cool.”
Jackson can say what he wants, but everyone else will say he fell victim to the curse.
If you’re an athlete, avoid Drake at all costs.