Victories are not hiding the Baltimore Ravens problems on offense

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 18: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 18, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 18: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 18, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens have issues. Their 5-1 record isn’t covering that up:

Nobody in the Baltimore Ravens Flock is upset with a 5-1 record going into the bye week. That doesn’t mean that this team doesn’t have a lot to work on. Their record doesn’t reflect the mess that the Ravens very much are, especially on offense. Their record doesn’t let the Ravens celebrate or feel filled with confidence going into their bye week. This is a crucial time in the season. Two battles with the Pittsburgh Steelers are coming in November, and the Ravens can’t look like this in the stretch that will probably decide the ruler of the AFC North.

The problems aren’t all about Lamar Jackson. There are a ton of issues happening around him. He is however the MVP so it starts with him. Jackson isn’t playing at an MVP level. Jackson is doing some good things. He has 10 touchdowns and just two picks and a passer rating of 99.2. He’s also the Ravens’ leading rusher. It’s not all bad, but we’re here to talk about problems.

There are four problems that Jackson is displaying on the football field. First, he still leans too heavily on Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown is pressing to prove himself as a passer first. The passing game isn’t incredible hard to defend when you know where Jackson wants to throw the football and Jackson isn’t taking advantage when his other targets are open. When Jackson presses as a passer, it doesn’t do him any favors. One of the reasons he just had an MVP season is that he is a great dual threat quarterback. Being himself is the something that puts a lot of pressure on the defense, you need the threat of him to take off at any time to loosen up pass coverage.

Secondly, Jackson’s throwing may be regressing a bit. The ball isn’t coming out all that pretty, which doesn’t always matter. When it does matter is when you get an inaccurate pass, or a poorly timed pass that should have been an easy completion.

The third issue is that Jackson isn’t being as efficient in the 2020 season as he was in his MVP season. Against the Eagles he completed 16-27 passes, which isn’t bad and is in the wheel house. In the game against the Bengals though, he was 19-37 passing and totaled only 180 yards. In the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Jackson was 15-28 through the air and he was short of the century mark passing. Jackson is averaging just seven yards per attempt. which is .8 yards less than last year. That may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a troubling sign. Those .8 yards add up.

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The fourth problem that Jackson is having is that the overall production isn’t there every week. It’s a result of the three big problems we just broke down. Against the Chiefs he had 97 passing yards and he hasn’t had a 200 yard passing performance since. Jackson doesn’t need to throw it for 300 yards a game. Last year he made up for low passing yard games with his run game. Against the Bengals he had three rushing yards. Jackson has rushed for less than 60 yards in four of six games this season. It’s also worth noting that Jackson’s rushing yards are mostly coming on designed rushes where he breaks a big one with his blazing speed.

Enough about Jackson. The offensive line is the biggest problem, specifically the right side of the offensive line. Tyre Phillips is struggling. Orlando Brown Jr. has been inconsistent as well. The reality is that the right side of the offensive line has been closed for business. Look at the big runs from the battle with the Philadelphia Eagles. They came up the gut. You had the Gus Edwards touchdown and the “Lamarvelous” keeper. The Ravens should run more behind the left side of the offensive line. Ronnie Stanley and Bradley Bozeman haven’t been perfect yet they are performing much better than the three other links of the offensive line.

It’s hard to get much done when the battle at the line of scrimmage is flat out getting lost. The Ravens are getting half the push they got a year ago when they broke the season rushing yards record. Jackson has no confidence in the offensive line, which is an earned mistrust.

The Ravens could say that they don’t have enough play-makers. That may be true, yet they don’t really know that. The Ravens aren’t allowing J.K. Dobbins or Devin Duvernay contribute on a regular basis. They make a play and they get ignored almost as if it’s a tax for being a rookie. Devin Duvernay looks at least as good as Willie Snead and miles ahead of Miles Boykin. Dobbins looks like the most explosive running back. Guess what? They aren’t being rewarded for making their touches worth it.

The bottom line:

We could talk about solutions until we are blue in the face. Let’s be real, the Ravens have almost two weeks until their next game and we’re going to dissect every single moment from the current season in the unbearably long wait for more purple and black football. The thing to take note of, is that the Ravens offense isn’t right, and it hasn’t been good. Wins are supposed to conceal your problems. The Ravens have more problems than they have solutions and they really haven’t beaten anyone.

The Ravens aren’t a bad football team, in fact they have the talent of a Super Bowl contender. Fine. At a certain point however, the reality is that the Ravens have taken advantage of a cupcake schedule and have big issues that could hinder them moving forward. The same thing could be said about the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are currently undefeated. Guess what though? The next Ravens game is put up or shut up time.

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The next Ravens game will be revealing for not just Baltimore but Pittsburgh as well. It may not be judgment day, yet it’s a crucial game. The Ravens have to get right. This isn’t good enough. This isn’t the level of play that will win the AFC North. Everything is on the table but make no mistake, it’s go time.