With a plethora of players coming back from injury, there’s good reason to believe the Baltimore Ravens will field a top-10 offensive unit once again in 2022. Others don’t think so.
The Ravens stand as dark horse contenders for the Super Bowl if all their previously injured players recover to full health, though that’s a big “if.”
The team’s offense, in particular, should hugely benefit from the returns of Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, and Ronnie Stanley, to name a few elite starters, and coupled with a talented defense, Baltimore should be well-positioned to make a deep run in the postseason.
Baltimore’s run-heavy tactics nonetheless continue to draw criticism, and the debate surrounding Lamar Jackson still polarizes the league. Is he “just” a running back? Has he been figured out?
2022 should provide some answers to those questions as Jackson looks to make a comeback after a particularly down (and injury-shortened) year in 2021.
Per one NFL writer, the Ravens only have an average offense even when Jackson is healthy. The Ringer’s Sheil Kapadia ranked every NFL team’s offense heading into 2022 and had Baltimore at 14th overall:
"“There are reasons to believe in a Ravens rebound. Jackson missed five games last year because of an ankle injury and a non-COVID illness, and the Ravens overall had the most-injured offense in the NFL, according to AGL. Even then, they finished 16th in offensive efficiency. Jackson and the run game give Baltimore a high floor. But the wide receiver corps is thin and unproven, and the Ravens have to prove they can find answers to the issues that plagued them last year.”"
The Ravens still have plenty of issues to address in their offense in 2022
Kapadia at least concedes that Jackson deserves a top-10 quarterback ranking based on his performances in the last three years: in passing plays alone, Jackson ranked 13th out of 40 qualifying quarterbacks in EPA per play.
Yet the same issue keeps getting brought up over and over again this offseason. The Ravens enter the 2022 season with a largely unproven wide receiver unit of Rashod Bateman, James Proche, and Devin Duvernay, which knocks them down a few pegs.
The Ravens sit below the Las Vegas Raiders, Indianapolis Colts, and Minnesota Vikings in overall offensive prowess, and an argument could be made that Jackson, in prime form, easily smokes all the quarterbacks from those respective teams.
But what version of Jackson will we see in 2022 — the MVP-caliber and untouchable dual-threat of 2019, or the quarterback who ranked 29th in EPA per play and struggled against the blitz last year?
Come September, we’ll find out soon enough.