The Baltimore Ravens are entering their first full season with Lamar Jackson as their starting quarterback. Last season, the Ravens shifted their offensive scheme to fit their young quarterback and this year it will be more of the same.
In 2018, Baltimore handed Jackson the keys to the offense in Week 10 after the team began the season at 4-5 with Joe Flacco. With Jackson as the starter, Baltimore ended the year winning six out of their last seven games and clinched a playoff berth.
In the end though, their offense became too predictable and the Los Angeles Chargers displayed the blueprint on how to stop the rushing offense of the Ravens. This year, the Ravens insist that there have been some changes refinements made to improve the offense.
The Ravens have now played in three preseason games and their offense still has the same mantra of imposing their will on the ground. As for their defense, they’ve allowed less than 10 points per game.
After the third preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Ravens have a few questions that need answers before the regular season.
3. How do the Ravens replace Tavon Young?
Prior to the Ravens taking on the Green Bay Packers in Week 2 of the preseason, Tavon Young suffered a neck injury in practice. After the game against the Packers, it was revealed that Young will require surgery and could miss the entire season.
Last year, Young became the team’s nickel cornerback and ended up signing a three-year deal this offseason. His new deal made him the highest-paid nickel corner in the NFL at the time.
John Harbaugh is confident that the Ravens have the players to replace him, but who comes out on top? When Young first sustained his injury, Cyrus Jones was taking snaps with the first-team in practice.
Presently, Marlon Humphrey and Jimmy Smith are locked in as the team’s top two cornerbacks. That leaves either Brandon Carr or Jones to be Baltimore’s starting nickel cornerback.
The Ravens have just one more preseason game to decide who will replace Young in their secondary.
2. Can Miles Boykin become part of the offense this year?
The Ravens don’t emphasize throwing the ball, but they understand they will have to throw more than they did in 2018. Therefore, Jackson is going to need more weapons to throw to.
This offseason, the team has made it a focus to improve the wide receiver position. The team signed Seth Roberts in free agency and drafted Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin.
Among those players, Boykin and Roberts are trying to obtain a share of the targets in 2019. The Ravens selected Brown in the first round and Boykin in the third round of this year’s draft.
Brown is inevitably going to be a viable option in the offense, but what about Boykin? The 6-foot-4 receiver out of Notre Dame has flashed his big-play ability in the preseason with five receptions for 83 yards. As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see how Boykin fits into the offense.
1. How does the running back position shake out?
Run, run, and run some more. The Ravens love to run the ball and they showed they don’t care what the rest of the NFL is doing.
Last season, with Gus Edwards and Jackson, the Ravens had the second-best rushing offense in the NFL. In free agency, the team signed veteran Mark Ingram to become the team’s starting running back.
After signing Ingram, Baltimore has a crowded backfield with Edwards, Kenneth Dixon, and other young players. Justice Hill has impressed in the preseason, but will it be enough to earn a spot on the 53-man roster?
With the Ravens running more often than other teams, they will likely deploy three different running backs to keep them fresh. It remains to be seen who ends up being the featured back in the offense.