The Real Winner Sunday, Eric DeCosta
Ozzie Newsome’s legacy as general manager of the Ravens through 2018 is tied to two men. His two first round picks of the 1996 NFL Draft. Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis. Two Hall of Famers. Both part of Super Bowl’s for this great franchise.
To say Eric DeCosta had some big shoes to fill is the understatement of the year. First year GM Eric DeCosta’s first pick would automatically be compared to Ozzie’s first. Marquise Brown. DeCosta’s legacy that he will build for as long as he wants to began construction on Sunday. His legacy will be tied to Marquise Brown forever. Brown only caught four balls Sunday…
… for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
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We heard about Brown’s speed and how the Ravens could use “jet sweeps” and lots of wide receiver screens to get him the ball in open space. Largely because before Sunday, a lot of skeptics still didn’t think Lamar Jackson could throw the ball. On Sunday, the undersized Brown ran routes and ran away from defenders like his cousin, Antonio, had done for the last six years. Like an All-Pro. Here’s to hoping this is the beginning of something special rather than a flash in the pan.
Back to DeCosta. It wasn’t only Brown. His third pick, second of the third round was Miles Boykin. He popped up with a touchdown as well.
Terry McLaurin of the Redskins is the only other rookie wide receiver to have scored a touchdown in week 1. Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin accounted for three for the Ravens. Not a bad start at all.
But DeCosta did more than just draft a couple playmakers. He signed some free agents too. Enter Mark Ingram. He wasted no time in the Miami heat, establishing himself as feature back material. The first play from scrimmage of the game, he runs behind Marshal Yanda, bounces it outside for 49 yards. Ingram capped off the drive with a touchdown. His first of two on the day to go along with 107 yards on 14 carries as the Ravens spread the ball around to all backs in the contest.
Eric Weddle was replaced with Earl Thomas, and Thomas got his first Ravens interception on the first drive of the game. Welcome back Pernell McPhee. Just picks up a sack. Ho hum.
Key moves that DeCosta had a direct hand in the last six months resulted in five touchdowns, an interception and a sack on Sunday. Not to mention 21 carries for 134 yards between Ingram and another rookie, Justice Hill. Also 6 catches for 162 yards between Brown, Boykin, and Seth Roberts who caught his only target for 10 yards.
59 points. 49-point margin of victory. 643 yards. All franchise records. A perfect game by your quarterback and a breakout game for your first draft pick. Not a bad start to the legacy. Game ball goes to, Mr. DeCosta.
Week 1 was great. But the Ravens have to back it up in week 2. In 2018 the Ravens blew out Buffalo, only to get stomped by Cincinnati the next week. By week 9, the wheels were falling off, leading to this new era we are in. This Sunday can’t be the day that what happened week 1 becomes wasted when the Cardinals come to town.
No secret that Arizona was the worst team in the NFL last year. That landed them Kyler Murray with pick 1:1 in the draft. People were skeptical about his height for an NFL quarterback but that seems to have been put to rest after preseason, and his now first game under his belt. A tie against the Lions. Murray went 29/54 for 308 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. A lot of his production came late in the game with both touchdowns coming in the fourth quarter.
Arizona has low expectations, but they have some playmakers on the team. Murray has weapons to lean on like future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. Dual threat running back David Johnson. Slot machine Christian Kirk whom Murray targeted 12 times last week, though completed just four passes to.
It’s also the return to Baltimore of Terrell Suggs, who will get a warm ovation from the crowd. You know he has passed onto the coaching staff in Arizona every tendency in the book on the Ravens players he knows. That will give Arizona a little bit of an edge. They certainly have more playmakers than the Dolphins, so I don’t expect this game to be a bloodbath like the previous one. Well, as much of a bloodbath.
The key against most young quarterbacks is to disrupt their rhythm. The Ravens have a history of taking rookie quarterbacks to the woodshed, taking them out of their comfort zone, and Kyler Murray should be no different. Last week he was under pressure just 11 times and completed only three of those passes, including his one interception. What the Ravens do on defense should confuse the hell out of him with the fronts they show, and force him into bad mistakes or dumping off to David Johnson all day. Which then it’s on the Ravens defense to minimize Johnsons YAC, which they did masterfully when the Dolphins checked down.
I think the Ravens offense is legit but will be contained a little now that teams are aware of Marquise Brown’s game speed. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens can certainly win in other ways.
Prediction: Ravens 30 – Cardinals 13. Kyler Murray, 3 INTs. Terrell Suggs, 1 sack.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]