Baltimore Ravens: 3 reasons for optimism not named Lamar Jackson
Yes, Lamar Jackson is the MVP, but there are other reasons to be optimistic about the Baltimore Ravens. Here are the top three:
1. Coaching Staff
In the world we currently live in, football teams don’t have very long to prepare for the season. This season there’s only about 6 weeks of preparation time. For many teams this would be a problem, but for the Ravens it might just be an advantage. With John Harbaugh leading the way, the Ravens have a no nonsense coach, who gets the best out of his players. He also has a 128-81 record with 10 playoff wins, including a Super Bowl. The season before that Super Bowl, the NFL experienced a lockout. That season the Ravens went to the AFC Championship game. Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers made it to the NFC Championship game. The next season the Harbaugh brothers met in the Super Bowl and of course the Ravens won. With high expectations for the season, a Harbaugh will have his guys ready to go.
With the Ravens, they have the luxury of having a long tenured head coach, but also two returning coordinators who both have experienced success. Greg Roman, the Ravens offensive coordinator, was named last year’s assistant coach of the year. Roman, was with Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers during those years. Roman is a well respected running game specialist. But currently Roman is proving to be one of the very best coordinators and is creating a powerhouse of an offensive unit. Last season the Ravens broke the all time rushing record and have added second round pick J.K Dobbins to the unit. With the coaching staff in place look for this unit to improve on last seasons.
On the defensive side Don “Wink” Martindale is returning with a rejuvenated defensive front, returning nearly the entire secondary, and has a lot invested in the linebackers in first round pick, Patrick Queen and third round pick, Malik Harrison. These rookies as well as offseason additions in Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe look to help fix the one weakness of the defense last season, the pass rush.
Martindale has a sophisticated system that disguises its coverage’s and blitzes, a lot. The Ravens brought a lot of pressure last year using zone and man concepts causing quarterbacks to have a hard time to get going. This defense has the potential to be even more imposing next year with talent better suited for this system. Coach Martindale could be this seasons assistant coach of the year.
Last but not least special teams coordinator Chris Horton returns with Randy Brown. This combo and the trio of Morgan Cox, Justin Tucker, and Sam Koch will help shift momentum of games and be very reliable. The Ravens also often have great coverage units. This is thanks to a large emphasis the team and the coaching staff puts on special teams. With a new return specialist this year that is TBD and the return of coaches that have a long track record look for the Ravens to be solid this year.