By Chris Schisler
The Baltimore Ravens have to get this right. Here are the keywords for the Baltimore Ravens in 2021.
Baltimore Ravens keyword 1: Organic Growth
The Baltimore Ravens have to take the next step forward. They need to stretch out their comfort zone and have more than one path to victory. The team can’t change for change’s sake. They can’t just say that they get it, the lessons actually need to hit home.
For the offense, this means redefining the run-to-pass ratio. It means completely reshaping the passing game. The key here is organic growth. It’s not forcing an extra 10 passing attempts and declaring all problems fixed. It’s not about just adding a few deep shots to the game plan.
If the Ravens don’t have a natural maturation of their offense it will have ugly side effects. The key is to blend a new passing attack with the dominant run game. What Greg Roman must avoid as the offensive coordinator is to make it a one or the other thing. The Ravens can’t have a running mode and a passing mode.
The Ravens have built a dominant run game. They really didn’t build a full offense. Not yet. Organic growth is the keyword. It should look seamless and it shouldn’t be an obvious initiative. Instead of passing about 24 times a game, Lamar Jackson should have around 28-30 throws per game.
If the Ravens can spread the ball around through the air in rhythm and flow of their unique offense they will have more success than ever. It can’t be fake and it can’t be something they try to turn on when they need to start coming back into a game.
Baltimore Ravens keyword 2: Confidence
The Baltimore Ravens have to believe in the Baltimore Ravens. It sounds like such a simple concept. Confidence though, was the difference between another first-round exit at the hands of the Titans and stomping on the Titans logo and moving on to a second playoff game.
When the Ravens trailed the Titans 10-0, Lamar Jackson stayed the course. Jackson’s out-of-this-world touchdown run sparked the Ravens and they kept playing their game. Confidence is that huge.
The Ravens are going back to the experimental stage. They’re redesigning things on the offense. The second things go wrong they can’t abandon their plan. There is no doubt the Ravens coaching staff has done a fair deal of tinkering with their attack this off-season. They must believe in the process, believe in their work, and stay true to themselves. They can’t get caught in panic mode.
The third keyword 3: Breakout Year
The Ravens need some players to have breakout years. Tyus Bowser has to step up and become a leader of this defense. He’s not going to suddenly turn into a young Terrell Suggs, but he must come into his own and take the next step. The outside linebackers cannot be a liability. The pass rush has to come and Bowser has to flirt with double-digit sack totals.
Justin Madubuike needs to have that big year two that every Ravens fan has been buzzing about. Quite frankly, it’s part of the plan. Madubuike breaking out could be the difference in the defensive line seeming thin and the defensive line being a strength of the team.
What about a breakout year for Marquise Brown? With the added weapons on offense, Brown could be a more dangerous playmaker. Brown could be the key to the deep pass paying off for Baltimore. Now that the defenses have more to worry about, Brown may be harder to keep track of.
What if he still gets around 60-70 receptions but his average yards per reception climbs up because of the big plays. Let’s say he averages 17 yards a catch. 60 receptions would get him his first 1,000-yard receiving season. If Rashod Bateman and Sammy Watkins bring up the overall level of receiving play, Brown could have the big statistical gains. This would add another element to the offense.
These are the keywords for the Ravens season. Getting these things right is the difference between another fun season and a glorious championship season.