The Baltimore Ravens are about to take on the Cleveland Browns and the Ravens Flock has questions. That’s why I’m here:
@GreatnessCalls asks: With improved front seven to stop outside zone and Browns good group of pass catchers do you see Wink blitzing less, more, or the same?
Answer: In a general sense, I don’t think we see more blitzing from Don Martindale. It’s never going to be a tame or conservative defense yet the need for blitzing hasn’t increased this offseason. That’s why Eric DeCosta traded for Calais Campbell and made a bunch of moves to help the front seven. So in a season perspective it should be about the same and it shouldn’t ramp up much if at all. In this match up it’s going to go up. Baker Mayfield and pressure are like oil and water they don’t mix. Everyone knows this. Don Martindale must be keenly aware of it.
Let’s back track though, because your question is so spot on. The front seven should allow the Ravens to stop the outside zone play that gashed them so bad last September. This is a key point. If the Ravens stop the run, the Browns aren’t in their comfort zone. If they don’t stay ahead of the chains you’re looking at a lot of bad third down situations for Cleveland. That ups the amount of blitzes you see.
So you have two factors at play here, when you break it down. You have the fact that Baker Mayfield is a turnover slot machine (21 interceptions last year) and the fact the new front seven should stop the run. Look for Martindale to bring well timed blitzes when he smells blood in the water. Great question, and this should be a fun thing to watch in the week one match up.
@cris_andrade asks: Hill and Moore likely not ready as KR (if active on Sunday). We have Proche, who else to join him as KR?
Answer: There are three minds that come to mind here, man. First of all I would really like to see Devin Duvernay as a kickoff return specialist. While he has no experience as a punt returner (something that matters more than people think it does) he returned 26 kickoffs as a Texas Longhorn. Duvernay has a little make you miss, and really quick acceleration. He may not become Dante Hall or anything but he’s got the skills that should make him at the very least functional.
The other two names are Willie Snead and Justice Hill. Snead won’t bring much excitement to punt returning but he’ll catch the ball and make good decisions. Hill just has that athletic ability you want to see in the open field. So for me, those are the three players in conjunction with James Proche you could look for.