It’s time for a new Baltimore Ravens Yay or Nay column:
The 2019 Baltimore Ravens were an efficient, explosive, eclectic squad that rushed through the regular season with a 14-2 record and the top seed in the AFC. The 2019 Baltimore Ravens were also a collective face-plant in their all-too-brief playoff appearance.
They’ve watched some faces leave, celebrated in the addition of a few others and were fortunate to hang on to their coordinators after such a successful season. Where does the team stand today, as we look forward (hopefully) to the 2020 season? We do this with a simple “Yay” or “Nay.”
• The offensive line will be just as good without retired guard Marshal Yanda, as the young tackles should only improve and there is a collection of interior players to compete against one another. This will get the offense rolling again.
NAY. Absolute, 100-percent “Nay.” You don’t lose Marshal Yanda and believe your unit got better. Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. might make up the best bookend tackle combination in the league. And there are seemingly enough good players inside to create a formidable line once again. But just as good without Yanda? Please. This was a unit that broke the record for most rushing yards in a 16-game season, and there was never any doubt who led it. There will be no more breath wasted on this topic.
• Lamar Jackson should be a better passer next season, even if the stats maybe aren’t as gaudy as 2019’s 36 touchdown, six interception performance.
YAY. To his credit, Jackson improved noticeably from his first year to his second, and, say what you will, it is very hard to question his work ethic with a straight face. Dude puts in the work. Another full season in Greg Roman’s system should allow him to utilize more of the passing tree, as well, as he is more comfortable with where every player should be at any given time.
More experience with Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Mark Andrews, as well as the additions of Devin Duvernay and James Proche should give Jackson more weapons. But a six to one touchdown-to-interception ratio is hard to achieve, and a few unlucky bounces alone will change that formula. Yes, Jackson will be improved, even if the numbers aren’t as dramatic.