Posted in Pregame Content

Baltimore Ravens take on Dolphins: 4 predictions and a score

By Chris Schisler 

1. A slower start than you’d like for the Baltimore Ravens: 

I’d like to predict that the Baltimore Ravens come out and get on top of the Dolphins with a masterful first quarter. That would have been nice all season and so far it hasn’t been the M.O. of this team. It’s a short week, the Ravens looked unprepared after the bye week.

Do I think it will be a disaster, where the Dolphins get up on them early? No. Just don’t expect the Ravens to come out and look incredibly sharp on their first couple of drives. The Ravens have made it a trend this season and it’s something to be mindful of. We’re not talking about spotting the Dolphins a couple of scores. Don’t get ready for doom and gloom. This Ravens team though has shown that it takes them a bit to find their rhythm. 

2. Mark Andrews goes off: 

When you look at where the Dolphins have talent on the defensive side of the football, the cornerback position may be their best spot. We recently learned that the Ravens tried to trade for Xavien Howard and Byron Jones isn’t a slouch. The Dolphins defense has struggled against the pass nonetheless giving up over 280 yards in the air per game. 

While I can see the receivers being slowed down just a bit, who do the Dolphins have to stop Mark Andrews? Absolutely nobody. Andrews is the matchup nightmare in this game and he faces the path of the least resistance. Look for Andrews to have his third game over 100 yards in this contest. Jackson should have a big game with his favorite big target creating space in the middle of the field. 

3. The Ravens will convert on two fourth-down attempts: 

Sometimes I like to throw a fun prediction into the mix. I predicted the Ravens to have a slower start and a bit of a feeling-out process to start this game right? Well, fourth-down conversions are John Harbaugh’s favorite way to spark this team when it’s necessary. The Ravens are seven for 11 on fourth downs this season. The Dolphins have a defense that struggles in these situations. Dolphins’ opponents have converted on fourth down attempts five out of eight tries. 

This prediction is therefore two-fold. Not only will the Ravens be aggressive, but it’s their aggressiveness on fourth down that will get the momentum rolling their way. Again, this is more of a fun prediction, but it’s rooted in two very fundamental truths. First, the Ravens like to go for it and have tons of matchup advantages in this game. Secondly, the Dolphins have a bad track record of getting off the field defensively. That doesn’t just go for fourth down. 

4. The Baltimore Ravens defense picks off three passes: 

Tua Tagovailoa has been dealing with injuries and is questionable for this game. It doesn’t really matter who the quarterback is, interceptions are in the forecast. This is a Ravens defense that could use a confidence booster, especially in the secondary after losing De’Shon Elliott to injury. Tua Tagovailoa has thrown five interceptions in five games. Jacoby Brissett has thrown four interceptions in seven games. 

This screams out as a game that Don Martindale is going to bring a lot of pressure at the quarterback. Pressure hasn’t helped the Dolphins this season, and their offensive line is a problem area. Sacks would have been a decent spot to go with this prediction, but interceptions are the result the Ravens will be looking for. Let’s give the Ravens three picks. One pick will be by Josh Bynes. One will be by Brandon Stephens, who will step up admirably in Elliott’s spot. The third interception will be by Anthony Averett

And now a score: Baltimore Ravens win 28-17

The Dolphins have a chance to make this harder than it has to be. It’s worth noting that they’ve only been blown out by the Buffalo Bills and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Dolphins have been competitive. While I don’t think they have the talent to win this game unless the Ravens give it to them, I do see a Thursday night fight. Look for a close first half. Dolphins turnovers will allow the Ravens to pull away with a win that’s more convincing on the scoreboard than actuality. 

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Next 2 games will serve as a confidence barometer

Alright, it’s game day on a short week. Let’s get it Ravens Flock! 


Posted in Nest Talks

Baltimore Ravens: Top 5 preseason performers (Video)

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens preseason is over. I don’t think there is a single fan of the Baltimore Ravens (Or of the NFL) that is going to be asking for more preseason games. Preseason football is kind of funny. We’re super excited about each preseason game and yet we can’t wait for the real football to get going. Preseason football is like the bread you get for free at a restaurant. It keeps you satisfied before you get going with your meal.

J.K. Dobbins got hurt in the final preseason game. I figured a look on the positives from the preseason could lift the Ravens Flock a bit.

In this video, I discuss the top five most impressive players from the Ravens’ preseason efforts. There are a lot of ways to go in this kind of video. I could have talked about the Ravens players that did the most to win a job on the 53 man roster. I could have focused on the players that surprised us the most. In the end, I chose five players that just really brought their A-game. These are five players who either prominently or subtly were stars of the preseason.

Goose, the official mascot of The Purple and Black Nest decided that she should be involved in the video. I always like having my four-legged friend with me. If you asked Goose, I am sure she would tell you that she stole the show. She kind of did. I’m just glad that my dog actually behaved.

NEXT POST: J.K. Dobbins out for the year: How the Ravens move forward

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Posted in Hot Take of the Week

Baltimore Ravens: The meaning of their preseason game win streak

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens have won 19 preseason games in a row. The streak dates back to 2015, The question is does winning meaningless games matter? From a player-personnel perspective, I’d say this is a mark of an outstanding front office.

The preseason doesn’t show the merit of your starters. The Ravens have played this preseason even more conservatively with some of their key starters than they usually do. We still haven’t seen the 2021 edition of Lamar Jackson football. The preseason measures the quality of your overall roster during training camp.

The idea that the games are meaningless is fair. The Baltimore Ravens get no advantage from winning these games, they don’t even get a cookie. Do they like winning them? Sure. Is winning preseason games why they operate the way they do? Absolutely not.

What have the Ravens always been known for other than dominant defense, The Ray Lewis Squirell Dance, and running the football? The answer is finding gems late in the draft process including during undrafted free agents. It’s no surprise that the Ravens had a streak of undrafted free agents making the week one roster that went on throughout this preseason winning streak.

A Baltimore Ravens tradition

Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta are great team-building general managers. People severely underestimated how helpful it was to have the two of them acting as a pair of decision-makers near the end of Newsome’s tenure. Newsome always cared about depth.

He was great at finding underappreciated players. Adalius Thomas was a sixth-round pick. Players like Jameel McClain and Gus Edwards were undrafted free agents. This thing has been going on for quite some time.

DeCosta seems obsessive about stacking the roster. This doesn’t just mean finding depth, this means finding the players of the future early. This means the secondary doesn’t just have backups they have the next in line helping now. Brandon Stephens is a perfect example of that.

The Ravens have more defensive back talent than any team ever does. DeCosta built that. The only high draft pick he used was on Marlon Humphrey. Heck, he got Marcus Peters with a fifth-round pick and then signed him to a team-friendly extension.

The winning streak in the preseason coincides with the time the Ravens got back to drafting well. Take out the 2015 and the 2017 NFL Draft (other than their first pick- Marlon Humphrey) and the Ravens have been knocking it out of the park. 2018 may have been the Ravens’ best draft since the 1996 masterpiece that gave them Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis.

The stars of this preseason have come through some of that great drafting. Jaylon Ferguson is starting to look the part, Stephens and Shaun Wade are impressive rookies and all the competition on the offensive line comes from drafted players. Ty’Son Williams and Nate McCrary have been impressive running backs as undrafted free agents. Speaking of undrafted players, Ar’Darius Washington has made a name for himself in camp.

The bottom line:

Another example is the Ravens pro-personnel department. It’s not all about plucking guys out of college. Chris Westry is an example of a player who is making his second career NFL stop that has performed well in preseason play. The Dallas Cowboys had a chance to make Westry their undrafted free agent success story, now he has a real chance to stick around with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Baltimore Ravens made the playoffs in 2014, 2018, 2019, and 2020. The streak started in a 2015 season that was dreadful because of injuries more than anything else. Even in 2016 and 2017, the Ravens were in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Ravens’ principles of team building have been consistent and the back end of their depth chart is better than most organizations can compete with.

When you have a head coach who thinks of winning like a good habit and has a Harbaugh family enthusiasm most can’t reach in exhibition games, it’s also going to chip into winning in the preseason. The Ravens have tied Vince Lombardi’s record.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Ty’Son Williams deserves a roster spot

On Saturday against the Washington Football Team, the Baltimore Ravens have a chance to break that record. Lombardi was the coach to come up with the idea that winning is a habit. It seems fitting that the Ravens, an organization that obviously agrees with that idea can break the record.



Posted in Uncategorized

Ravens rookies: Top concern for each member of 2021 draft class

By Chris Schisler

Making the leap from college football to the NFL isn’t always a seamless transition. The Ravens have a very exciting crop of rookies ready to start their first training camp at the Castle in Owings Mills. What could hold each one back? What do they have to be mindful of as they prepare for their first season. That’s what we’re talking about today.

Rashod Bateman: Finding his spot in the offense

Bateman is just like any rookie, he has to learn a new offense and find his place in it. The good news for Bateman though, is that the passing attack should be fairly new for all parties involved. Kieth Williams and Tee Martin are entering their first season as the passing game coordinator and the receivers coaching positions. Sammy Watkins is a veteran and this is going to be new for him too. This honestly could cushion the transition for Bateman.

The 27th overall pick has to develop a chemistry with Lamar Jackson. The Ravens also need to figure out where he is in the receiving pecking order. Bateman may have more talent than any of the receivers. Still, Watkins is a veteran and Marquise Brown is Jackson’s favorite target. The Ravens will obviously like to get Bateman going. On a team that probably won’t average over 30 passing attempts per game, and with two proven targets at his position, will it get in the way of a breakout rookie season? That’s the top concern for Bateman.

Odafe Oweh: Learning on the job

Odafe Oweh is a phenomenal athlete. The Ravens are tasked with making their gifted phenom a great football player, not just an athlete with the things you can’t coach. Oweh has a long wingspan. He’s quick off the ball and he’s powerful as well. From a physical traits standpoint, Oweh has nothing to worry about.

Oweh’s top concern is being ready to get to the quarterback in the NFL. He’s a raw pass rusher with a limited set of pass rush moves. With Oweh, it won’t take long for opposing offensive tackles to surmise what is coming. The big worry for Oweh isn’t that he doesn’t belong on the stage. We know he does. Quite frankly, the man was born to play football, he’s got the goods. That worry is whether or not he’ll be ready to play at a high level as a rookie. If there is a draft pick of the Ravens with something to prove, it’s him.

Ben Cleveland: When being massive isn’t enough

Ben Cleveland has a strong possibility of winning a starting job at left guard. The Ravens drafted Cleveland to be the dominant and imposing presence for the offensive line and he looks the part. Cleveland is a massive human being. He’s 6-6 and weighs 357 pounds. Let’s be honest, he makes some offensive tackles seem small. Is that enough in the NFL. Much like Oweh, Cleveland can’t solely rely on the fact that he won the genetic lottery and has the things you can’t instill in a player with coaching.

If there is one concern that I have for Cleveland, it’s that he may rely on his strength too much at the expense of technique and footwork. This is a player who is just used to being bigger and badder than his opponents, even in the mighty SEC. There’s a ton of competition at left guard and Cleveland has to win the job. The best-case scenario sees Cleveland do just that. One way or the other though, the Ravens will have a rookie offensive linemen who will probably need some polish.

Brandon Stephens: Will he be typecasted as a special teams player

The Ravens have an abundance of talent at cornerback. Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are two of the four Aces in a deck of cards. Jimmy Smith is at least a Jack. Tavon Young can be an elite nickel corner if he can stay on the field. Baltimore should be very excited about Shaun Wade. Stephens is in a crowd there.

Stephens may be a safety when it’s all said and done. Well, there’s a logjam there. Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott. Smith can be used as a safety and undrafted free agent Ar’Darius Washington may be the unproven player to watch in camp. Stephens will have to make an impact on special teams. He already knew that. The question is how involved can he get with the defense?

Tylan Wallace: Will he pay the Ravens’ rookie tax?

Tylan Wallace was one of two picks at the wide receiver position. Sammy Watkins was brought in as a free agent. If Bateman has to find his role in this offense, it may take longer for Wallace. Bateman has the luxury of being a number one pick, he’s getting chances to show off. Wallace doesn’t have that expectation right away.

Wallace has to find any and every way to contribute that he can. He has to avoid being this year’s James Proche, a mostly ignored rookie. The Ravens traditionally favor experience over potential. That’s why Willie Snead got a lot of playing time that probably should have gone to Devin Duvernay. Speaking of Duvernay, that’s Wallace’s main competition for playing time. Wallace has big potential, but he may have to wait to really show it.

Shaun Wade: Can he be a job thief?

I know, competition is a theme here. It’s the biggest pothole that rookies find themselves stuck in. The thing is, Shaun Wade may struggle to get playing time. If they stay healthy Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith are Baltimore”s best extra corners. What if Brandon Stephens ends up being a stud cornerback? Anthony Averett is still here. Like Stephens, he’s coming into the most crowded secondary unit in the NFL. You may not see Wade really get his chance until year two or three of his career. Where he was drafted this may actually be part of the plan. 

Ben Mason: Copycat of another Ravens player

This isn’t too complicated. The Ravens already have a Ben Mason and his name is Pat Ricard. MAson comes into the league with almost the same exact skill set as Ricard. The Ravens already have one, do they need two fullbacks? If you count Mason as a tight end, he’s a poor man’s, Nick Boyle. Does Mason give the Ravens anything they were lacking?

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Three Big Questions at the Wide Receiver Position

The Baltimore Ravens season is almost here. That means the Purple and Black Nest gets to ramp up the football talk. When you need your Baltimore Ravens football fix, PBN is a great way to get it. We’re the small little Ravens blog that could. This football season I hope you hop on for the ride.