Ravens Humiliate Miami; Looking Ahead To Arizona
It was clear before the Ravens got off the bus yesterday, that the Miami Dolphins are horrible (intentionally) and have zero desire to be competitive in 2019. The Dolphins are freeing up cap space, accumulating draft picks, and thinking of several years from now.
That’s fine, and probably the right strategy for them to be embarking.
They can be terrible, and the Ravens performance yesterday can still be impressive.
Baltimore did what a quality team is supposed to do when they play a team in disarray. Kick ass, put your foot on their throat, and get them to submit early.
That’s a credit to the Ravens. They were prepared to play, and ready to deliver a statement.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Don’t Be That Guy
If you are out everywhere today crowing about Lamar Jackson’s performance, be ready to loudly hear the other side when he faces some inevitable struggles.
If you waiting in the weeds to crush Jackson when he struggles,and unwilling to acknowledge his brilliance yesterday; what’s wrong with you?
I suggest trying to be neither of those guys.
Things are never as good as they look when going great, nor as poor as they look when things go wrong.
We know that fan is short for fanatic, but be rational. Try and be consistent.
I was a Jackson fan when he was in College. I wrote about wanting the Ravens to get him the Draft. I’ve written about believing in him, and why I’m excited he’s running the show.
I can’t say I learned much about him yesterday. Him being excellent against a horrible team doesn’t give me more confidence in him. Just like down the road if (when) he has games where he struggles, I won’t lose confidence in him being the answer.
He’s got a great makeup. He’s a leader. He works extremely hard. He wants to get better. The physical talent is off the charts. He gives you more ways to attack teams. On this initial Rookie contract, you get the benefit of being able to build real depth and quality around him.
Those are the strengths, and they were all known before yesterday.
People are going to continue to have questions about Jackson, and to be fair; the questions those people have still exist after yesterday too.
– How does he hold up over a full season?
– When the windows are tighter, and there is more pressure (game situation + pass rush) can he be accurate enough? Will he maintain his improved mechanics?
– Will he be able to limit the turnovers?
Will Jackson End ’19 As The Ravens Best Player?
While I don’t think I learned much Jackson yesterday, I am that much more confident in saying I think there’s a great chance he ends this year as clearly the Ravens best player.
Right now the competition for that honor is Yanda, Humphrey, Thomas, and maybe Tucker.
Yanda and Thomas are still playing at high levels, but they aren’t climbing to new heights. They are trying to stay close to the Mountains they’ve already ascended.
Humphrey is probably in the discussion for the game’s best CB. Tucker is the best K in the league.
Neither one can be as valuable as Jackson, if Jackson is anywhere close to the player he can be.
Pick Your Poison
I’m not someone that has to see offensive explosions (in any sport) to be entertained. In football, I can greatly enjoy low-scoring slug-fests.
That said, outside of Vinny Testaverde slinging the ball around in ’96, the Ravens have been a tough watch offensively for basically ever.
At different times, Ravens fans have wanted burn in effigy several of the the prior Offensive Coordinators. Yesterday I think Ravens fans were ready to build a statue for Greg Roman.
I liked the variance we saw in the schemes.
You’ve got 3 RB’s with different skills.
You’ve got 3 productive TE’s.
You’ve got WRs with multiple capabilities.
This is how you attack teams. You put questions in their heads, force them to make choices, and then make them pay for their decisions.
Want to play up in the box? Cool, we’re going to hit you over the top.
Going to double the WR’s? Good luck dealing with the TE’s in the seam, and the running game.
The Ravens can run a power game if they want.
The Ravens can run a speed game if they want.
Even if they don’t end up being a ‘revolutionary’ offense; they’ve got all the pieces (including Coaching) to look vastly different offensively vs. anything we’ve seen here in Baltimore.
Since the schedule first game out, there has been a lot of talk locally about the need to start 2-0 prior to heading to Kansas City on the 22nd.
Part 1 was accomplished yesterday in Miami.
Part 2 needs to be completed Sunday in Baltimore.
People (Pundits, etc) seem excited to hopefully bury Kliff Kingsbury, but I’m excited to see what he can do with his Air Raid.
Yesterday the Cardinals looked rough for 3 Quarters. Than Kyler Murray got hot, and was able to lead Arizona back to a tie vs. Detroit.
Murray, Fitzgerald, Johnson, Peterson… some guy named Suggs…. they are a team with zero expectations, but they aren’t a team with zero talent.
The Ravens should absolutely win Sunday, but the Cards have enough talent to stay around and potentially make you pay if you make mistakes.
Like yesterday you want to see Baltimore take control early, and deliver some haymakers.
One of the things I’ll be curious to watch is the crowd. Home opener, team coming off a 49 point win; are the seats full?
Where Do The Ravens Fall In The AFC Hierarchy?
New England is New England.
They’ve won 6 Super Bowls since 2001. They’ve been to 9.
They’ve been to 8 AFC Championship Games in a row.
Whatever we feel about them, that’s ridiculous.
Many years during this run, I haven’t thought they’ve been overly talented.
2007 was an exception.
2019 looks to be one as well. That’s a loaded team.
They are going to win the AFC East. They are going to get another 1st Round Bye.
They are the prohibitive favorite to win the Conference, and yet another Lombardi Trophy.
With the Patriots on their own level, we can discuss everyone else.
We will see the Chiefs up close and personal shortly.
We saw the Chargers twice last year, and they figure to factor.
The Steelers can’t win in Foxborough, but their body of work suggests they’ll rebound from last night.
Cleveland got reminded yesterday that they don’t award trophies for accumulation of talent, and that you still have to accomplish things between the lines. While I enjoyed Baker’s 4th Quarter implosion, I’m sure they’ll get it together. Definitely enough to factor in the North, and maybe beyond.
The Colts have talent, but Luck’s retirement eliminates them as a Conference contender imo.
The Titans get overlooked, but they’ve got enough talent (coupled with Luck’s retirement, and Foles injury) to win the South. Houston could certainly reach the post-season as well.
The Ravens entered yesterday as 50/1 favorites to win the Super Bowl, and 25/1 to win the AFC. Both odds improved after the win.
Baltimore gained a game on each of their Divisional foes.
In the lockeroom, the Ravens have to keep their focus week-to-week.
As fans, I think we can look at the rest of the Conference, and it’s not hard to envision the Ravens playing a 3rd AFC Championship Game in New England.
Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.