Baltimore Ravens: Big takeaways from 2020-2021 season
By Darin McCann
After the season-ending loss to the Bills, let’s look at the 2020 Baltimore Ravens, and where they go now
Before we take a look back at the 2020 Baltimore Ravens, let’s metaphorically tip a cap to the Buffalo Bills for being the better team in the Divisional Round matchup, and to that organization’s fan base for acting with civility and grace both before and after the game — as well as raising money for a charity that Lamar Jackson has supported in the past.
Bravo. I’m a Bills supporter going forward in this year’s playoffs.
A few days removed from that playoff loss, and with a few fewer profanities randomly spewing from my lips after said hiatus, let’s take a look back at this year’s Baltimore Ravens, what we saw on the field and what we see going forward.
• It all starts and ends with quarterback Lamar Jackson, right? The soft-spoken, well-mannered, hard-working signal-caller is oddly polarizing, both locally and nationally. Many doubt his ability to function in an intricate passing offense, while others believe he is being held back by a leaky offensive line, a poor receiving crew, unimaginative play-calling, high winds, low winds, cold temperatures, the end of the Byzantine Empire, and murder hornets. Lots of murder hornets.
The truth is that Jackson is an insanely talented athlete playing the quarterback position who is a lethal weapon with his legs, and inconsistent with his throws. That’s not to say, “he can’t throw.” Anybody who has watched Jackson with any regularity sees that he has exceptional arm talent, and has made several jaw-dropping throws with touch, accuracy, and, sometimes, pure heat into traffic.
But we’ve also seen him lose his base, which is pretty much of universal import in any sport you choose to play. You need a foundation, and when Jackson has is, and is on time, he throws the ball as well as anybody.
When you combine that with his escapability, vision and fearlessness, well, you get throws like that third-and-eight seed to Mark Andrews in the Wild Card Round. Jackson needs to continue to work on his fundamentals in this regard without losing his willingness to make the spectacular look routine.
The Ravens should not try to take away what Jackson does with his feet, as that is what makes him, and this offense, such a unique challenge for other teams. But the team, and Jackson himself, need to work on improving consistency for when they do throw the ball — and when circumstances demand they must throw the ball.