Over at BaltimoreRavens.com, Kevin Eck recently posted an article that highlighted The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec’s take on where the Ravens got better or worse.
Zrebiec claimed that the Ravens got better in two areas.
First, Interior Offensive Line:
“An experienced and accomplished [Kevin] Zeitler should stabilize the right guard spot, which was a problem area for much of the 2020 season. [Bradley] Bozeman is also a more formidable option at center, assuming he’s able to flawlessly get snaps back to the quarterback.”Jeff Zrebiec
I definitely believe the Ravens improved the interior offensive line. In fact, I believe they improved the offensive line all around. Ben Cleveland also looks like he will be the next great Ravens guard. And getting Bozeman back to his natural position of center is a very smart move, considering the snapping issues the Ravens had last season.
Second, Wide Receiver:
“The talent has been upgraded significantly. The addition of [Rashod] Bateman, [Tylan] Wallace and [Sammy] Watkins, coupled by another year of development for Marquise Brown and the team’s returning young receivers, gives the Ravens one of the better receiving corps that they’ve had in recent years.”Jeff Zrebiec
I believe this will be the best Ravens receiver corps EVER. Yes, you read that right. Watkins had the best season of his career under Greg Roman. He fits in his schemes. Bateman looks like he could be the first Pro Bowler drafted at the WR position for the Ravens. And having other young guys like Devin Duvernay and Tylan Wallace really helps. Then you add all this to the fact that Marquise Brown will no longer be the only receiver the defense has to plan for… makes it seem like the Ravens could have their first 1,000-yard receiver in a minute… maybe even two of them.
But then Zrebiec also highlighted where he believes the Ravens got worse. I don’t know that I agree with either one of these.
Worse at Offensive Tackle:
“The Ravens will be OK if [Ronnie] Stanley is back to himself and [Alejandro] Villanueva benefits from a change of scenery and position. However, there are still too many ‘ifs’ for the organization to feel all that comfortable at offensive tackle. It’s certainly a position to watch this summer. Improvement from Tyre Phillips, one of the top swing tackle candidates, would help.”Jeff Zrebiec
I just can’t get behind this. The Ravens didn’t have Stanley last season. Orlando Brown Jr. wasn’t Ronnie Stanley. And yeah he did better when he moved to LT, but as a RT… he really wasn’t better than Villanueva. Honestly, they have very similar grades as tackles. I think if Stanley recovers then the Ravens improved here. I also think when Ja’Wuan James gets healthy that he will be a force to be reckoned with for the Ravens too.
Worse at Outside Linebacker:
“[Matthew] Judon and [Yannick] Ngakoue didn’t have big sack numbers last year, but they are accomplished pass rushers with big-play capabilities and other teams had to account for them. The Ravens didn’t replace either one with a veteran. Unless [Jaylon] Ferguson or [Tyus] Bowser breaks out as pass rushers or [Odafe] Oweh is ready to make a major impact immediately, the roster lacks an 8-10 sack-a-year kind of guy.”Jeff Zrebiec
I disagree completely here. Sure, on paper the Ravens got worse at outside linebacker. But Pernell McPhee has proven he can be a great reserve player at outside linebacker, especially in run defense. Ferguson still has to prove things, but he’s never really started or had that many snaps to show anything. Odafe Oweh may have not be a been sack numbers guy, but he got some of the best QB pressure numbers… you know the things they don’t track. He also excels in other areas like run defense. He’s a freak athlete, so I’m not really worried there. He could easily put up 8 to 10 sacks, but Wink is smart enough to know that isn’t the only thing that matters.
Then you have Tyus Bowser, who over the last two seasons only actually started two games. Yet, he put up 7 sacks and 3 interceptions in that time. In 2019, he started 0 games and had 5 sacks. Now, if a player goes from a reserve role to full-time starting after showing their ability in coverage and pass rush WITHOUT starting… what makes you think they can’t go from 5 sacks to 8 to 10… I don’t think the Ravens will have any problem with Bowser. In fact, I think they got a steal for the price and I think Bowser will end up being one of the best outside linebackers in the league after starting for a minute.