One really can’t blame free-agent wide receivers for looking at the Baltimore Ravens skeptically. This is the team that led the league in rushing two years running and had the fewest passing attempts (by far) in the NFL.
One really can’t blame players for choosing not to go to Baltimore. The perception of the Ravens is that they are a run-first offense. The perception is that they’re all-in on their style because it’s crusted in like a fixed identity.
The perception as a receiver is that it’s not a good idea to go to Baltimore to catch 50 passes and block. Can you blame players for thinking this from the outside? No. The Purple and Black are trying to woo wide receivers, not tight ends.
Can you blame the Ravens for strengthening the fear receivers have? Absolutely. In a press conference, John Harbaugh boasted about how the Ravens were okay if players didn’t want to come here. If you aren’t into it, go elsewhere is more or less the message from the frontman of the organization. Is it shocking that free agents are listening?
The Baltimore Ravens don’t have to be the team where wide receivers see their numbers come to die. The Ravens need to sell players that they are looking for the piece of the offense that changes the way things work for them. They need to sell free agents the idea of being the missing piece to the puzzle.
Think about how easy it is to make the pitch. In Baltimore, the biggest fish is Marquise Brown. If you come to Baltimore, you are locked into a healthy number of targets. The Ravens may pass less but it’s not like they don’t pass. Baltimore needs to grow the passing game. Everybody on football’s earth knows this. Going where you’re production is absolutely needed isn’t a bad idea.
Who knows what is happening in the actual conversations and visits? It could be other factors that have pulled against the front office of the Ravens. What we do know is that this was an area that was perceived to be a problematic one for the Purple and Black, and that perception is turning into a stone-cold reality.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of the problem is that the free-agent wide receiver list didn’t help Baltimore. Some players were never going to come to the Ravens. Whether the plays were called by Greg Roman or Andy Reid it wouldn’t matter. Baltimore does things a certain way in the front office, not just the football field.
The Ravens run an offense that goes against the grain. It hasn’t even been going well with the wide receivers on the Ravens roster in 2020. Dez Bryant has backed Lamar Jackson up but didn’t feel like he had a good fit with the team. Willie Snead probably won’t be back (at this point it may just happen) and he’s been doing some talking. Marquise Brown has shown frustrations a couple of times.
This is an offense that is going to scare some talented players away right off the bat. The Ravens can’t steer into the problem. They have to show that the offense is willing to grow and that growing the offense is actually in the plans they hold.
The Bottom Line:
The Ravens have tried to get a receiver and it hasn’t happened yet. They may get a solid player in the second wave and only time will tell. The boastful identity of the team doesn’t help in recruiting. It works for tight ends and offensive linemen maybe, that’s about it.
Whether it’s the team not willing to chase after receivers irresponsibly (which is mostly fair) or the idea receivers have of the offense, the argument hasn’t been that convincing. The Ravens are the reason the Ravens don’t have a free agent wide receiver to hold an introductory press conference for.