The Baltimore Ravens concluded another disappointing season as they absorbed an early exit in the 2020 NFL playoffs with quarterback Lamar Jackson at the helm. It was a rough campaign for Baltimore throughout the year as they had to fight for a playoff spot after concluding the regular season with an 11-5 record. After winning the AFC Wild Card Game over the Tennessee Titans in a 20-13 victory, the Ravens eventually lost to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Divisional Round by way of a disappointing 17-3 defeat.
Jackson’s campaign last year wasn’t as stellar as his MVP season back in 2019 partly due to the holes that the Ravens currently have on their roster. Needless to say, they will have to address those needs first to make a long run in the postseason and finally reach the Super Bowl stage in the years to come.
Here are the two fixes that the Baltimore-based squad must make in the coming offseason.
1. Acquire better receivers
Even though Jackson primarily relies on his ground game to make plays for the Ravens, he will still need more weapons around him, especially on the aerial attack. Last season, he didn’t have a clear WR1 who could’ve served as a reliable option in the event that the running lanes got clogged by opposing defensive players.
Perhaps their best weapon would’ve already been sophomore receiver Marquise Brown. After a promising rookie season in 2019, the Oklahoma product was poised to step up into the WR1 role but he never became consistent enough to be a constant threat on the wings. He only generated 769 receiving yards on 58 receptions and eight touchdowns in 16 games played.
Another wideout in Willie Snead also underwhelmed as he only registered a total of 432 yards on 33 catches and three touchdowns through 13 appearances. Wide receiver Miles Boykin saw limited possessions as well as he managed to record 266 yards on 19 receptions and four touchdowns in 16 games.
Meanwhile, many Ravens fans had high hopes for the return of three-time Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant, but it seemed like he wasn’t the same player that he used to be, dating back to his days with the Dallas Cowboys. In his defense, he was only given limited opportunities on the field, which ultimately hindered him from fully showcasing his capabilities after a long layoff from the league.
The Ravens’ offense eventually became predictable to many of their opponents last season, given the shallow depth of weapons in their receiving room. At the same time, heavily relying on the rushing attack during the regular season won’t be sustainable for any team that is hoping to have a long postseason campaign.
In order to shake things up, head coach John Harbaugh should inject several capable threats on the wings in a bid to give a new dimension to their offensive schemes.
Given how none of these players fit the bill of being a WR1, the Ravens should definitely scour the open market for possible options or potentially get a young prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft. Either way, having a prolific wide receiver at the helm should make the Ravens’ offense even more dangerous moving forward.
2. Add more depth to the offensive line
Baltimore’s offensive line has been pretty solid in recent seasons. In fact, the linemen’s performances eventually allowed the Ravens to break a ton of rushing records over the years, especially with Lamar Jackson manning the quarterback position. Though their efforts were respectable, the unit definitely has room for improvements, particularly in a run-heavy offense centered around Jackson.
The offensive line turned out to be an area of concern for Baltimore as seen in their 17-3 loss to the Bills in the AFC Divisional Round. Head coach John Harbaugh’s linemen got exposed and were evidently outplayed by the bigger defensive tackles of the Bills, which ultimately hindered Jackson from making plays under center.
He was only limited to 162 yards on 14 of 24 passes completed without a touchdown scored. He also absorbed three total sacks and threw an interception amid the pressure dealt to him in the pocket.
After seeing how their season ended due to their inability to protect their quarterback, the Ravens can opt to select young guards in the latter rounds of the draft who are capable of providing pass-blocking for the team’s offense.
Successfully addressing the holes in their receiving rotation along with their offensive line will certainly lift the Ravens to the next level. Having an improved roster can eventually yield better chances for Jackson and his squad to reach the Super Bowl stage for the first time since 2012.