One big problem the Ravens need to fix before the playoffs

Tyler Huntley, Ravens (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Tyler Huntley, Ravens (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens are quickly running out of luck in the final stretch of the season. If they want to control their own fate in the playoffs, the team needs to upgrade one critical area.

Whenever Lamar Jackson returns from injury, the team knows it can no longer rely on his heroics to win games.

Jackson simply hasn’t been playing at an elite level lately, and the Ravens offensive scheme seems to be slowly unraveling over the past weeks.

Mark Andrews remains productive as ever and Rashod Bateman has been getting more looks, but as a whole, the offensive unit hasn’t looked good since the middle of the season.

In Week 14, the Ravens scored 22 points against the Browns, the first time they’ve scored more than 20 points in a game since Week 9.

Kristopher Knox at Bleacher Report revealed a list of what each NFL playoff contender needs to improve upon before the postseason, and for Baltimore, the problem is pass protection.

"“The bad news is that Baltimore is ravaged by injuries and is struggling with pass protection…It’s unlikely that Jackson’s ankle injury is going to help matters, and it may temporarily take away the option of using designed quarterback runs to beat the blitz. Instead, the Ravens should put a premium on max protection and short pass patterns that allow Jackson to get the ball out quickly.”"

Improving pass protection for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens is a two-way street

Defensively, the team has been hanging on by a thread and there’s not much they can do other than plug-in healthy players and hope they perform well.

Offensively, the team has suffered the most from a shaky offensive line that can’t stop opponents from pressuring Jackson.

But the problem at hand is two-fold: one, the offensive line has to step up their game, and two, Jackson needs to find easier looks and release the ball quicker.

Ever since the Miami Dolphins terrorized the Ravens with blitz packages, other teams have been following suit and Baltimore has found no answer — yet.

So far this season, Jackson has been blitzed a career-high 149 times and been under pressure on 22.4 percent of his dropbacks.

Naturally, this has led to both sacks and interceptions — Jackson has hit the ground a career-high 38 times in 2021 and has thrown eight picks in the past five games.

Once Jackson returns to the lineup, his ankle injury will likely hinder his mobility for a few games and prevent him from twisting and turning his way out of defenders’ tackles.

dark. Next. 4 players who must step up for the Ravens to make the playoffs

If Baltimore wants to prevent Lamar Jackson from getting more hurt than he already has, and if they want to give themselves the best shot in the postseason, they need to protect the pass better.

And, Jackson, on his part, needs to throw the damn ball.