Baltimore Ravens Q&A: Getting ready for the season opener
Will Earl Thomas departure change play-calling?
@Charlesharsha23 asks: Will blitzing be ramped up to help mask the back end being more vulnerable with losing Earl Thomas?
Answer: A lack of blitzing will never be a characteristic of a Don Martindale coached defense. The Ravens like to blitz and they like to count on their man to man coverage skilled cornerbacks. That’s not going to change. The Ravens did add Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe to give them more interior pass rush. This should presumably take away the need of relying on the blitz. I could see blitzing percentages staying right where they were last year but the departure of Thomas shouldn’t make them shoot up. If the Ravens didn’t like DeShon Elliott, they would have probably made a knee jerk move to improve the back end of the defense.
It’s hard to be afraid of blitzing when you have Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey in the secondary. That makes up for a lot right there. Martindale is going to stick to the style of defense that works for him. Elliott isn’t Thomas but he shouldn’t be a horrible liability as long as he can stay healthy. The Ravens are going into the season thinking the free safety spot isn’t a problem unless it gets proven to be one. They’ll act accordingly to the results on the field. The defensive game plan should stay mostly the same.
@BlackMagic0312 asks: How many two, three or four back sets do you think we’ll showcase over the season? And will it include two QBs sets as well?
Answer: If we count Pat Ricard as a back to answer this question, there will be plenty of two back sets. There probably won’t be a lot of plays where there are multiple running backs on the field. The Ravens operate out of the pistol formation a lot. The running back behind Jackson will probably be the only running back in the game. The Ravens will have a great rotation of backs. Everybody should get their turn. Will you get a look or two where Dobbins and Ingram are both on the field/ Sure. Will it be the norm? Absolutely not.
I do think we’ll see Robert Griffin III sprinkled in there with Jackson for a play or two. The Ravens love to play around with all the things they can do. Last year we saw a Hiesman package with Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III and Mark Ingram. We could easily see that pop back up again. If Jackson is going to be joined by three players in the backfield more often than not it’s a running back, a fullback and tight end Nick Boyle.