2019 Baltimore Ravens will be an exciting new look team
The Baltimore Ravens will be a completely new look team in the 2019 NFL season:
From 2013-2017 the Baltimore Ravens were a painfully frustrating team; something not even the most optimistic fans could argue. In that span the Ravens only got to the playoffs once. The Ravens had the 17th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. In the 2016 draft they had the sixth pick and in the 2017 and 2018 drafts they had the 16th pick in the draft. Draft position is a good way of measuring the past season. For this stretch in their history, the Ravens were stuck in the middle.
The 2018 season got the Ravens back into the playoffs. It took change for the Ravens to get there. Lamar Jackson became the starting quarterback when the team was 4-5. The Ravens finished the season with a 10-6 mark and won the AFC North. A new era started half way through last season. With big names like Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs wearing different logos on their new helmets, and Ozzie Newsome being replaced by Eric DeCosta, this feels like the start of something new.
While the Baltimore fanbase knew they were in the beginning of a new era, they didn’t really know what it would look like. The Ravens made smart moves in free agency and went through the 2019 NFL Draft with an obvious plan. The 2019 Ravens aren’t just going to have a new quarterback and a first time general manager. They will have an entirely new offense and a defense with some fresh faces on it.
Nobody really knows what to expect from Greg Roman with the offensive play-calling duties. Marty Mornhinweg started last season as the offensive coordinator and the plan was to have Flacco be the starting quarterback the whole way through.
When Jackson took over, Roman worked with Mornhinweg to put in a make-shift offense. That was an offense to get the team through the season. The humbling playoff game against the Chargers showed that this approach had limitations.
Roman is an experienced play-caller with a track record of being creative with the running game; however 2019 will be his first time calling the plays for the Ravens. The receiving unit has been almost completely turned over. The Ravens parted with Michael Crabtree and John Brown while they added Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Seth Roberts (and more) at the position.
Last year the Ravens were working with Gus Edwards, Kenneth Dixon and Ty Montgomery after Alex Collins dropped out of the picture. This year Roman has Mark Ingram and Justice Hill to work with. The offensive line will be roughly the same, Ben Powers could work his way to be the starting left guard as a rookie.
The Ravens want to move forward as a run heavy team, but they invested a lot in the passing game. Jackson is going to get a chance to develop as a passer, and he’s been putting in the work this offseason. The Jackson we saw last season may not be the same Jackson we get in 2019. If Jackson improves the Ravens will have a chance to have an offense predicated on speed around a speedy dual threat quarterback.
Defense is going to be different for the Ravens. With the departure of Suggs, the Ravens defense won’t feel the same. Matt Judon has been elevated to the alpha dog of the outside linebackers. Now the Ravens need to bring along young talent at the outside linebacker position. Whether it be from the newly drafted Jaylon Ferguson or a player like Tim Williams or Tyus Bowser, Judon will need some help.
Eric Weddle is gone and he has been replaced by Earl Thomas. Weddle and Thomas are both awesome in different ways, but Thomas is a big upgrade from a football standpoint. Thomas has much more range, and is more of a ball hawk. Weddle had no interceptions last year and seemed a step too late way too often for somebody with that kind of a resume. Weddle had lost a step and Thomas has a chance to be a difference maker.
Whatever the 2019 Ravens end up being, it will be something we haven’t seen before. John Harbaugh finally has the right combination of coordinators with Roman and Martindale. He is finally embracing widespread change in terms of philosophy and the type of talent on the roster. The Ravens will always be a hard nosed defensive minded team. That’s not changing, but just about everything else is.