Sat, 31 Oct 2020

Mailbag: What Adjustments Will Be Made After Week 1

Baltimore Ravens
17 Sep 2020, 05:25 GMT+10

by Ryan Mink & Garrett Downing

Mink: Were we watching the same game? You sure you didn't tune into a replay of Week 4 from last year? The Browns didn't "run all over" the Ravens. Baltimore gave up 138 yards on the ground to one of the best running back duos, and a very good offensive line, in the league. Much of the damage came on two runs on the same drive, which I went back and watched the tape on.

On Nick Chubb's 29-yard gallop, Calais Campbell was so late coming onto the field that he never got into his stance. He was washed down the line and rookie linebacker Malik Harrison charged up-field, leaving an open cutback lane. On Kareem Hunt's 22-yard run two plays later, you've got to tip your cap to the Browns' blocking. They moved Jaylon Ferguson off the ball, took down Justin Ellis and walled off L.J. Fort to find a lane.

Of course, the Ravens don't want to give up long runs like those, but the run defense was pretty strong for the most part. As the rookie inside linebackers get more experience and the unit gels overall (it is the group that had the most turnover this offseason with zero preseason games to play together), they will get better. Yes, the Texans and Chiefs both have strong run games as well, but I like the Ravens' chances.

Downing: Head Coach John Harbaugh said after the game and again on Monday that Ronnie Stanley's ankle injury isn't considered serious. It's also worth noting that Stanley stayed on the sidelines during the game and was standing up late in the fourth quarter, rather than hobbling around on crutches. The Ravens had a huge lead at the time. The expectation is for Stanley to practice Wednesday, and the team's first injury report could provide some clarity on his status for this week.

At this point, adding a left tackle or seeking out a trade doesn't make much sense. Stanley isn't expected to be sidelined for long, and he's one of the best offensive linemen in the game. Veteran D.J. Fluker held his own stepping in for Stanley after the injury, and the Ravens continued to put up points in the second half. If this turns into a nagging issue, then the Ravens could look into options along the offensive line, but it's premature to go down that road right now.

Mink: Did y'all wake up on the wrong side of the bed on Victory Monday or something? You're making it seem like the Ravens were on the wrong side of a 38-6 final score. Anyway, the Ravens got two sacks on Baker Mayfield - one from Patrick Queen and another from Tyus Bowser. They would like more than that, but let's not forget the kind of day that Mayfield had. He was 21-of-39 for 189 yards and picked off once when Campbell dropped into coverage to tip a ball that Marlon Humphrey snagged. That seems like a better outcome to me. The blitz-happy Ravens brought some interesting wrinkles into Week 1 and it paid off. The sacks will come.

Downing: Secondary: A. I've said over and over that I think the Ravens have the best secondary in the NFL, and they sure looked like it Sunday when Marlon Humphrey picked off Mayfield on the opening drive and the Browns offense never got into a rhythm. The Ravens held wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to just three catches for 22 yards, the second-lowest total of his career. That's a pretty good start for this secondary. As far as midseason deals, I'm not sure what the Ravens would be looking to add. They won't get a better cornerback than Humphrey or Marcus Peters, and the safety duo is set with Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott. Barring any injuries, I don't expect a midseason move.

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