Mike Preston’s Ravens mailbag: Answering questions on Lamar Jackson’s demeanor, Devin Duvernay’s utilization and extra


Baltimore Solar columnist Mike Preston will reply followers’ questions all through the Ravens season. Coming off Baltimore’s 23-20 Week 7 win in opposition to the Cleveland Browns, loads of questions stay with Baltimore set to journey to face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday evening.

Right here’s Preston’s take:

(Editor’s word: Questions have been edited for size and readability.)

Whereas many Ravens followers choose aside Lamar every week, I’d wish to first acknowledge the protection has been offering a successful recipe ever since Week 1. However, coming again to the issue, it simply doesn’t seem to be Lamar is having enjoyable anymore, and it could possibly be the truth that we proceed to see only a few halftime or fourth-quarter changes. Is the offensive play-calling responsible for the dearth of late offensive manufacturing? Each well-equipped offense appears to really have routes that create separation and unfold the sphere, however the Ravens appear to all the time play a sort of offense that consists of primary route timber and proceed to lack the flexibility to get separation. Is it scheme or participant capacity, or Lamar lacking them?

— Drew Hamel

Preston: Jackson appeared to be having enjoyable within the first three weeks of the season when he was taking part in effectively, however that modified as a result of he’s struggling. He must placed on his huge boy pants. He declined to simply accept the provide offered by the workforce within the preseason and gambled that he would play effectively. It was his determination, so now he has to cope with the implications and deal with the strain when issues aren’t going effectively. The straightforward reply is that he must play effectively once more. As an alternative of pouting on the bench and never speaking to teammates like his predecessor Joe Flacco, present some management and produce his A-game persistently. If he performs effectively and the Ravens go deep into the postseason, then the strain is again on workforce officers to get a deal accomplished.

So far as the play calling, the Ravens knew what they have been entering into once they promoted Greg Roman to offensive coordinator in 2019. Because the OC with San Francisco and later Buffalo, Roman was recognized for constructing sturdy working video games however common passing assaults. At the very least with the 49ers, coach Jim Harbaugh was there to create and develop the passing recreation. In Baltimore, the Ravens don’t have that luxurious. They gambled with Roman and have been snug constructing their offense round Jackson, a working quarterback.

At any time when an offense or protection turns into one-dimensional, there are some issues. Groups that move so much expose their defenseless quarterbacks to extra vicious hits within the pocket and typically battle within the purple zone with out a sturdy working recreation. In Baltimore, the Ravens’ passing recreation is ineffective, and proper now, out of sync. The very best offensive groups attempt for steadiness so far as move versus the run, however the Ravens’ passing recreation undoubtedly lacks creativity.

Will the Ravens add a legit vast receiver earlier than the commerce deadline on Nov. 1? Additionally, do you suppose Roman has reached the max with Lamar? One thing simply appears off with the offense.

— Rodney Williams

The Ravens added veteran receiver DeSean Jackson final week, however there isn’t a timetable for him to step onto the taking part in area. Jackson is a speedster who has 632 catches for 11,110 yards and 58 touchdowns whereas taking part in for Philadelphia, Washington, Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Rams and Las Vegas. At age 35, his finest days are behind him, but it surely’s a very good gamble for the Ravens as a result of Jackson nonetheless may need just a little left within the tank and it isn’t costing them a lot.

Baltimore has turn out to be an everyday cease for older receivers like Michael Crabtree, Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Dez Bryant. Just a few have labored out — Anquan Boldin, Steve Smith Sr. and Derrick Mason.

As for Roman and Jackson, don’t learn an excessive amount of into him throwing solely 16 passes in opposition to Cleveland on Sunday. Jackson has struggled with turnovers not too long ago and will have thrown for 3 extra touchdowns within the workforce’s loss to the Giants two weeks in the past. The Ravens mainly took the ball out of his arms versus the Browns as a result of they have been struggling to dam ends Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, and quarterback Jacoby Brissett wasn’t going to beat Baltimore until Jackson turned the ball over like he did in opposition to New York.

It was a secure recreation plan, and the Ravens have been again to their outdated id of getting a run-first mentality. But when they attain the playoffs, that can change. They’re going to wish Jackson to make performs together with his arm in addition to his legs.

The Ravens have me dumbfounded. They tease us with all of the methods we are able to use Devin Duvernay and with Roman being the offensive coordinator in Buffalo with Percy Harvin one would assume he would use Duvernay in those self same methods. May you assist us perceive why they’re reluctant to make use of him? Thanks.

— Robert Bass

I believed the Ravens have been past that stage of not utilizing Duvernay correctly, however I used to be incorrect. In opposition to the Bengals, Roman used Duvernay on tosses, end-arounds and as a receiver and return specialist. In opposition to the Giants, he disappeared. In opposition to the Browns, he had two catches for 42 yards, together with a 31-yarder on the opening possession to arrange a 32-yard area purpose by Justin Tucker. He additionally returned a punt 46 yards within the second quarter to arrange one other Tucker area purpose.

I’ve been campaigning for this child to the touch the ball about 10 instances a recreation for 2 years now. The Ravens want to make use of him like Kansas Metropolis did and Miami does with Tyreek Hill. He has excellent velocity and units up his blocks effectively. He’s changing into one of many least used weapons on the roster.

Perhaps Harbaugh wants to handle that with Mr. Roman.

The Ravens have dedicated a variety of {dollars} and years to their secondary with little return over the previous a number of years. Trying into your crystal ball, how do you see the Ravens addressing the problems within the secondary going ahead?

— Andy in Hagerstown

Drafting a cornerback must be a high precedence and the Ravens additionally have to get this proper. Beginning cornerback Marcus Peters is a fierce competitor however has misplaced a step, which is why groups are going after him each week. Fellow cornerback Marlon Humphrey can nonetheless play at a excessive stage, however solely on the within the place he may be near the road of scrimmage. I just like the rookie Damarion “Pepe” Williams outdoors or inside and he may be capable of step right into a beginning position subsequent season. Rookie Jalyn Armour-Davis performed effectively within the preseason, however Harbaugh gave him the short hook from the lineup early within the first quarter of their Week 3 recreation in opposition to New England. Nonetheless, he’ll get one other shot.

Regardless, the Ravens have to seek out somebody to interchange Peters and workforce with Williams subsequent yr. It’s laborious to win within the NFL already. It’s even more durable with out a shutdown cornerback.

Mike, thanks for having this discussion board. After all of the hoopla concerning the Ravens’ improved protection previous to this season, why do common/backup quarterbacks appear to play like All-Execs when dealing with the Ravens? Is it simply accidents (which all groups have) or is there extra to it (like teaching)? Thanks.

— Bob Okay.

It’s a mixture of the 2, however my greatest difficulty is with the linebackers and their drops. One thing is lacking. They aren’t getting deep sufficient as a result of a variety of groups are discovering holes in behind the within linebackers and in entrance of the safeties.

The Ravens additionally battle to cowl the skin of the sphere within the deep third. Brissett threw a 55-yard move to receiver Amari Cooper within the first quarter and he was so wide-open that you would barely see a Raven within the protection space initially, even on TV. If Brissett’s move didn’t have extra cling time than a Sam Koch punt, this may have been a straightforward landing.

Previously, the dearth of a move rush has all the time been blamed for permitting too many yards within the air, however Baltimore sacked Brissett 5 instances and he nonetheless accomplished 22 of 27 passes for 258 yards. So, it’s undoubtedly time to have a look at the scheme and communication.

Two 33-year-old move rushers, Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Houston, each not too long ago began taking part in once more after completely different layoffs and appeared to instantly have success attending to the quarterback. Odafe Oweh remains to be within the “missed it by that a lot” section of attending to the quarterback. Is it only a maturation factor with him, given his bodily attributes? Thanks.

— Paul Moss

Preston: Sure, I nonetheless regard him as a undertaking. He has nice need and a powerful work ethic. He’s all the time one of many final ones to go away the observe area after placing in further time with the veterans. In actual fact, his final three video games have been the very best of his profession.

He nonetheless has so much to enhance on, however he’s simply beginning to fulfill his potential.

I’m suggesting the blockbuster commerce of all time. Mike Tomlin is headed for his first shedding season. John Harbaugh’s mojo in Baltimore is all however gone. Each are wonderful coaches. They don’t need to be out of labor. Why not give each of them new life? Commerce Harbs and his employees for Tomlin and his employees!

— Jim D

Preston: Subsequent query, please.

Have a query for Mike Preston? Electronic mail sports [email protected] with “Ravens mailbag” within the topic line and it could possibly be answered in The Baltimore Solar.


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