The Baltimore Ravens went 14-2 in 2019 and have a great number of starters returning with some new stars.
The Baltimore Ravens went 14-2 last year so it’s a good thing that so much of that team returns for the 2020 season. In fact the Ravens are bringing back almost the same exact unit. The Ravens still have the MVP of the league in Lamar Jackson. They still have Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown. They still have Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. as an elite offensive tackle pairing and defensively they have the same elite secondary.
For every departure (except for the retirement of Marshal Yanda) the Ravens have found a big upgrade. The Ravens lost Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes to free agency. They drafted Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison. This made the Ravens better in the moment but also set up the future of this position. Assuming these picks are hits, the Ravens have this duo for the next four years (and have a fifth year option for Queen).
They lost Michael Pierce and traded away Chris Wormley. Baltimore got Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe. This is the biggest upgrade you could even dream up for the defensive line. Campbell is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. If Wolfe stays healthy, the Ravens could be looking at a very big part of the next few years of Ravens football.
Seth Roberts is out, Devin Duvernay and James Proche are in. The Ravens don’t need much production out of either of their rookies to get more than Roberts gave them.
Tavon Young missed last season with an injury, and getting him back is a big addition as the nickel cornerback. This is the addition that DeCosta didn’t have to do anything for, however Young’s early extension he signed before the 2019 season could prove to be a smart move.
Everything the Ravens did well last year, they’re going to do well in 2020. The purple and black will still have the best ground game in football. Jackson will continue to make linebackers miss and he’ll still drop touchdown dimes in the passing game. This is basically just a system update for the Ravens. It’s like a system update for your phone. It’s the same team, it’s a little different but in a noticeably good way.
The fixes the Ravens made for the defense will help them stop the run, get pass rush without absolutely relying on the blitz, and will get more out of the best secondary in football. This means more coverage sacks and more forced turnovers.
The Bottom Line:
Teams won’t be able to do what Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry did to the Ravens. Quarterbacks and receivers have to do battle with Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young, Earl Thomas and Chuck Clark. The defense was more than solid for most of the 2019 season. Getting better on the defensive line and the inside linebacker spots is a going to make a huge difference.
While the Ravens have to some healthy competition with the offensive line, they have a stacked roster. The most explosive and exciting team from the 2019 season got better. The specific changes that Eric DeCosta orchestrated were all practical fixes. The Ravens aren’t going away and they are elite contenders.