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Ask the Nest: Are the Ravens done building the blueprint for 2021?

By Chris Schisler

Welcome to Ask the Nest! This is where Ravens fans submit questions via Twitter, and I do my best to answer. Let’s get into it.

@ravensfan86 asks: Will the Ravens put in a flyer on Sheldon Richardson or go with an EDGE? Or Zach Ertz?

Answer: Taking a flyer on Sheldon Richardson makes a ton of sense. It makes sense for two reasons. One, the Ravens could use more penetration from the defensive line. Secondly, he comes from a division rival so there’s no chance the Ravens aren’t aware of what they’d be signing up for.

The Browns released Richardson because of financials, they never cut him because he wasn’t working out for them. In fact, the Browns Wire has written an article talking about how the Brownd could still bring him back. In the article by Jared Mueller, there is this quote from Mary Kay Kabott

The Browns parted ways on good terms with Richardson, with the agreement that he could be re-signed later in the offseason. There’s been interest from other teams in the ninth-year pro, but he enjoyed his two seasons here, and might prefer Cleveland to starting over again elsewhere.

In Ravens terms, this is a lot like what happened with Jimmy Smith. The Ravens let Smith test the market and got him back for a price that worked. Richardson would give a boost to the defensive line. The Ravens don’t know how much they can bank on their defensive line outside of the main three guys.

Richardson could have an impact similar to a good sixth man in basketball. He could rotate into the game for Brandon Williams or Derek Wolfe and the Ravens wouldn’t skip a beat. He could add to the rotation and provide a few sacks, a good number of tackles and make an impact by gaining ground in the backfield. If the Ravens aren’t going after Justin Houston (they should) then Richardson is a good idea.

Let’s talk about Justin Houston

You know how I feel about the whole Justin Houston thing. The Ravens really should sign him. Now that the Julio Jones talk is done, I’d love to see a little smoke coming from this direction. If the Ravens have quietly been waiting to work it out with Houston, Eric DeCosta played the game to win again.

Houston would give the Ravens the legitimacy they need at the outside linebacker position. It’s the production you can count on, they should go get it. I also don’t want to hear about how the Ravens can’t afford Houston. We just entertained a bunch of talk about Julio Jones in which some fans (and even some pundits) would have you believe the salary cap was like the spoon in The Matrix. If we can magically find it in the financials to even think about Jones, Houston is an easy get.

The market didn’t play out the way Houston had hoped. It’s what happened to Jadeveon Clowney last year all over again. Sign him to a deal that’s sweet for both sides and you make everybody happy. I’m not convinced it’s going to happen, but the only excuse for it not happening is Houston feeling more comfortable in another situation. The Ravens have to do their part though, and if they don’t then shame on them.

The only way I am interested in Ertz is if he gets released and he can come at a contract that makes sense. I don’t see Ertz as much of a game-changer for the Ravens. Think about it, the Ravens have Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle and just added three wide receivers this offseason. There isn’t room in the passing game for much more is there?

Call me Boyle loyal, but I’m fine with Andrews and Boyle at the tight end position. Also, Jacob Breeland or Tony Poljan would cost next to nothing to stay on the roster as an undrafted free agent. I’m not against working the cap a little bit, but Ertz probably isn’t it.

Question 2: A Super Lesson?

@briski715 asks: What kind of impact will Tampa’s success in the SB have on the Ravens Defensive scheme for the upcoming season?

Answer: Well I think the Ravens are trying to move in that direction already. Patrick Queen is supposed to be their version of Devin White. Odafe Oweh hopefully can become the Shaq Barrett type pass rusher. Justin Madubuike could be a lot like Vita Vea if he turns on the jets. You see the Ravens looking for a lot of the same things from their young defensive talent as the Buccaneers are.

Then you think about the Super Bowl we just saw a handful of months ago and you think about the pressure they put on Patrick Mahomes. You forget how organically the pressure came. The Buccaneers depend on their athletes to make life easier for them. They have a ton of range from their linebackers. They have a more than decent secondary. The Buccaneers were never a blitz-happy team defensively.

It may not totally be inspired by the Buccaneers because the plan was in progress before their Super Bowl win. That being said, I think the Ravens are moving in a very similar direction. They’re looking to get pressure more organically, and less created by Don Martindale sending blitzes.

They drafted Oweh for his traits. He has the things that you can’t coach, the things that make it easier. Madubuike was drafted to end up giving what they wanted when they were interested in Gerald McCoy. He’s here to generate an interior pass rush. So if you look at the way the teams are building, you see similarities.

Question 3: Regarding a Ravens rookie

@Charlesharsha23 asks: Do you think Oweh will struggle with his lack of pass rush moves against NFL offensive linemen? He basically bullied college offensive linemen, gonna be hard to translate that to NFL. Or is Wink’s system going to drastically benefit him by creative designs?

Answer: Oweh is a player that’s going to win some battles just because he has the tools to do it. Here’s what that means for Oweh in his rookie season. It means, he will have moments where he looks like Terrell Suggs. It also means we will have moments where he will look like Jaylon Ferguson. That’s the difference here between Oweh and Ferguson though.

With Ferguson if it was going to happen it would have. He’s probably gone backwards, not forwards. Ferguson was from Louisiana Tech. He was a big fish in a small pond and it’s looking like he may not be a shark.

Oweh has a chance to be a shark. He has a chance to be Suggs. The ceiling for Oweh is through the roof. He’s raw but because he is such a good athlete he’ll have a strong rookie season. The consistency will come when he has a full repertoire.

Stunts are the way to get him going. Don Martindale already knows this, I am sure. The thing is if you get Oweh moving across a lineman’s face, and it either becomes a foot race or Oweh has the lineman off balanced, it’s a going to work a good percentage of the time.

Last Call Ravens fans

@DJ_BMORE asks: Do you see more under-center snaps leading to more offensive output in the passing game?

Yeah, I can totally see that. I think the offense is going to change an awful lot. The passing game is going to change a lot this season. The thing you have to remember is that Greg Roman isn’t really designing the whole offense anymore. Kieth Williams is the passing game coordinator.

He and quarterback coach, James Urban, will probably have a vested interest in making rhythm, timing, and mechanics work better for Lamar Jackson. When you’re dropping back from under center it forces a more typical dropback and maybe fewer scrambles.

NEXT POST: Everything to know about the Ja’Wuan James signing

This is a really great question. I’m kind of waiting to see how the adjustment will go. We know it will be different, the question really is how different will it be?


I am Chris Schisler. I am the owner and lead writer here at the Nest! Football is my passion and I'm very happy to share it with the Flock!

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