While Mark Andrews is always going to be heavily involved, the Baltimore Ravens offense could become less tight end dependent:
The Baltimore Ravens could become less tight end dependent. The 2019 team saw three tight ends really make up for the lack of production from the wide receiver positions. The purple and black worked with what they had. Having more tight end involvement in the offense played right into their desire to run the football at will.
Mark Andrews had 64 receptions. Nick Boyle had 31 receptions. Hayden Hurst had 30 receptions. Almost half of Lamar Jackson‘s completions were to the tight end position. Without looking it up, this seems like a stat no other team could compare with. Most teams don’t even have two good tight ends.
Hurst was traded to the Atlanta Falcons and it won’t be the same without him. While Hurst may not have lived up to his first round billing, those 30 receptions were meaningful to an offense that basically just had Marquise Brown and Willie Snead to count on at wide receiver. Those 30 receptions may not be replaced by a tight end.
It’s not like an extra 30 passes are going to be hauled in by Nick Boyle. Boyle is a blocking tight end who can be a reliable pass catcher when called upon. His primary way of contributing is never going to be catching passes. Boyle is what he is. The Ravens can’t try to reinvent him just because they traded away Hurst.
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The main ingredients of the passing attack is still going to be Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown. The goal for the Ravens is clearly to get more production from the wide receiver position. They drafted Devin Duvernay and James Proche. At tight end, the best bet to replace Hurst is an undrafted free agent.
The Ravens will probably spend most of their offensive snaps going between 11, 12 and 21 personnel. When they are in 11 personnel Mark Andrews will be a flexed out tight end with Devin Duvernay probably getting the most time lined up as the slot receiver. When they are in 12 personnel they will replace Duvernay with Boyle. In 21 personnel Pat Ricard joins a running back in the backfield and there will be only one tight end.
Continued growth from Miles Boykin is a key factor in all of this. If Boykin can become a legitimate number two receiver that would be a great boon to the Ravens’ 12 personnel looks. If Boykin can do well opposite of Brown it would create more opportunities for the Ravens number one receiver. Like JuJu Smith-Schuster took heat off of Antonio Brown (what seems like forever ago] Boykin could open things up for Marquise Brown. A good combination of Boykin and Duvernay must show up in the box score.
If the Ravens are smart they won’t always have Andrews as the one tight end in the game. If Boyle is the only tight end on the field, it hints at a run play. If the Ravens can pass successfully with Boyle being the only tight end on the field, they can really mess with the opposing defense. The versatility of the tight ends will still shine through without Hurst. It’s just a different mix.
The Ravens won’t have three tight ends over 30 receptions next season. That was specifically a 2019 kind of thing. The Ravens will still need the blocking of Boyle. They will ask Ricard to do even more with Hurst on another team. The offense won’t change too drastically but you a much more evenly distributed passing game between wide receivers and tight ends.