Posted in Ravens Thoughts

6 Baltimore Ravens lessons from win over the Broncos

By Chris Schisler

1. The Baltimore Ravens passing game can carry the offense against a good defense

The Baltimore Ravens leaned on their passing game against the Broncos. They did that last week, but it almost didn’t count because it was against the winless Detroit Lions. This was the first time the Ravens played an incredibly talented pass defense and asked Lamar Jackson to throw for the victory. It’s important to remember that the Broncos came into the game with the top pass defense in the NFL. This was a defense that was stifling their opponents and the Ravens just had over 300 yards passing.

Lamar Jackson was next-level good against the Broncos. His deep ball has never looked so good, and many of his strikes were perfectly on the money. The criticism that “Jackson can’t throw” has always been laughable. Jackson has gone beyond proving that he can throw the old pigskin. Jackson is saying that if the game dictates it he can beat you through the air like an Aaron Rodgers or a Patrick Mahomes.

The Ravens are no longer built to win just one way. They didn’t do what they’ve done the last two weeks last season. For that matter, they wouldn’t have mounted a fourth-quarter comeback against the Chiefs last season. The Ravens have a better balance this year and the passing game can carry its weight.

2. James Proche can make an impact

James Proche had five receptions against the Broncos and looked like a player that belongs in this offense. Five receptions for 74 yards is a good stat line to see from a young and developing wide receiver. Proche has seven career receptions so it’s safe to say that this was the start. In his first real and fair opportunity to show up, Proche made important plays. The mostly sure-handed second-year player from SMU could be the possession receiver the Ravens need.

3. The Ravens will be in a tough spot if Alejandro Villanueva misses time:

Alejandro Villanueva was questionable in this game with a knee injury and he left the game with a knee injury. If Villanueva misses a game (or multiple games) the Ravens are in a very bad situation. Who would the Ravens play at left tackle? Ronnie Stanley is out for a while. Tyre Phillips may be the best answer once he returns from injury (once he returns being the keyword).

Phillips is not a very appealing answer yet he would have more going for him than Andre Smith, who looked as if he was hoping not to get the next man up call. Ben Cleveland could play tackle, that’s a rough spot to put a rookie guard in.

He does have experience at offensive tackle as a Georgia Bulldog. Villanueva may not be having a great season but he’s incredibly important. He’s a starter for a reason. The Ravens’ tackle depth is non-existent. Should Villanueva go down while Ronnie Stanley is still out for an unknown time, it will force a make-shift plan for the Ravens. At least Lamar Jackson is fast and elusive…

4. Odafe Oweh is as good as advertised

Odafe Oweh is worth every bit of his first-round selection. Oweh put on a show off the edge in this game. Funnily enough, the Broncos’ offensive line was decimated inside and the Ravens abused the starting offensive tackles. Oweh had a sack in which he blew past the tackle without much of a struggle. It was a ferocious play and it was good for his second sack of the young season.

Oweh may not have made a huge imprint in the box score other than that sack, but Denver had a lot of problems with him. He got great pressures and it’s amazing how many holding penalties he should have drawn. It was probably four or five times that he got held without consequence to the Broncos. Oweh is the real deal. I spent all offseason preaching patience with Oweh. Nah. He’s ready to rock and I was wrong there.

5. The Baltimore Ravens can win on the road without a lucky finish

For the Ravens Flock, this is a great win. It was nice to have your heart beating through your Ravens jersey louder than a marching band, wasn’t it? The Ravens were in full control of this game. Once they survived a bad start Baltimore enforced their will on the Denver Broncos. The Denver crowd doesn’t have to like that last play that got the Ravens the record but that’s about as fun of a way to end a game as there is. Deal with it, Denver.

The Ravens didn’t let this game get too close, even if they took their time finishing the thing. The Ravens found a way to win without a massive comeback in the fourth quarter or a historically long field goal. That’s what you like to see, especially on the road against an undefeated team. The Ravens are capable of taking care of business without giving us heart failure and for that, we should be thankful.

6. The secondary is still a plus for the Baltimore Ravens

Can the Baltimore Ravens secondary stand up so it can get recognized? Everyone clap. Courtland Sutton is one of the better wideouts in the NFL. He was held to three receptions for 47 yards. Noah Fant had six grabs and a touchdown but he was under 50 yards receiving also.

The Broncos had no shots down the field. Teddy Bridgewater dinked and dunked almost exclusively. Drew Lock took some ill-advised shots down the field, but all Denver could do was run slants and crossing patterns. What a glorious day for the Ravens’ secondary (and they did it without De’Shon Elliott)!

Marlon Humphrey, Anthoney Averett, Tavon Young, and Jimmy Smith all had great games. By the way, if Averett doesn’t make that interception in garbage time, the Ravens don’t get their rushing record. The secondary should get as much praise as Lamar Jackson in this game. It’s still a strength of this team. It’s only getting better with Smith back and Young getting his rustiness behind him.

NEXT POST: Ravens handle the Broncos: The good, bad and ugly

This was a big win for the Baltimore Ravens. These lessons are good ones to take in.

Posted in Complicated made simple: X's and O's and scouting for all fans

Baltimore Ravens: Projecting 53 man roster after 2 preseason games

By Chris Schisler

  • Editor’s Note: This article has been updated

The Baltimore Ravens are undefeated in the preseason so far, and it’s a testament to their roster’s depth. Let’s take a look at what I project to be the 53 man roster. Evaluation is a subjective thing. This is a blend of what I would do and what I think the Ravens will do. With that in mind, this is my first crack at making the 53 man roster.


  1. Lamar Jackson
  2. Tyler Huntley

This is a two-quarterback kind of year for the  Baltimore Ravens. They have been keeping three quarterbacks. Once Trace McSorley gets healthy they can call him up from the practice squad if they absolutely must. Here you have an MVP quarterback and a backup who can run the same style of offense. This is a good situation, especially considering that Huntley will only get better with experience.

Running back/Fullback

  1. J.K. Dobbins
  2. Gus Edwards
  3. Ty’Son Williams
  4. Pat Ricard

You may be surprised that Ben Mason isn’t on here. The Ravens can probably stash him away on the practice squad. That pick seems like a contingency if the Ravens can’t re-sign Ricard. I have Ty’Son Williams stealing Justice Hill‘s job here. Williams has been the most impressive back in the preseason. Hill is dealing with an ankle injury. Everything lined up for Williams to be the third running back.

Tight End:

  1. Mark Andrews
  2. Nick Boyle
  3. Josh Oliver

This is a self-explanatory position. Mark Andrews is a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end. Once he returns, Nick Boyle is the most elite blocking tight end in the NFL. Josh Oliver gets the nod at the third tight end spot in my estimation. The fact is that he’s gotten the most work in the preseason from the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens want to test him because they want him to win the job. Oliver has prototypical size and athleticism. I think he gives you enough blocking to beat out Eric Tomlinson for the third tight-end spot. Eli Wolfe is a great candidate for the practice squad.

Wide Receiver:

  1. Marquise Brown
  2. Sammy Watkins
  3. Rashod Bateman
  4. Devin Duvernay
  5. Tylan Wallace
  6. James Proche

Most of the preseason talk was about Miles Boykin. Boykin hasn’t played in the preseason due to a hamstring injury. The Ravens are probably best off putting him on injured reserve. It’s almost a deferment of a decision. I decided to keep Bateman on the week 1 roster. Assuming the Ravens want him back as soon as possible, IR may be something the Ravens try to avoid with him.

We all kind of knew that the Ravens weren’t going to keep Binjamen Victor or Jaylon Moore. The question all along was if the Ravens keep six or seven receivers. With the surplus of talent the Ravens have at defensive back, they needed the room and seven was out of the question. In the scenario where you can basically take Miles Boykin out of the decision, these are the clear six.

We haven’t seen a ton from James Proche in the preseason. He’s had a strong training camp though. He offers some special teams versatility and he catches the ball when it’s thrown to him. That’s enough to get him a job in the regular season.

Offensive Line

  1. Ronnie Stanley
  2. Ben Cleveland
  3. Bradley Bozeman
  4. Kevin Zeitler
  5. Alejandro Villanueva
  6. Tyre Phillips
  7. Ben Powers
  8. Ben Bredeson
  9. Patrick Mekari

Offensive tackle depth is bleak here. The Ravens knew that was going to be a problem one way or the other. If the Ravens kept Michael Scolfield or Adrian Ealy, they aren’t fixing that problem. The nine offensive linemen here are your best players. This was one of the hardest position groups to project. We’ve seen so many combinations along the offensive line throughout camp, and a lot of the competition at guard and center is pretty even.

Trystan Colon was the odd man out here. I originally had 10 offensive linemen, but I couldn’t make the roster math work. The Ravens have multiple options at center even without Colon. This is why roster math is a cruel practice.

Defensive Line

  1. Brandon Williams
  2. Calais Campbell
  3. Derek Wolfe
  4. Justin Madubuike
  5. Broderick Washington
  6. Justin Ellis

I don’t really have to write about the starting three right? You know what they bring to the table and there was no decision to be made there. Justin Madubuike was a lock as well, Broderick Washington and Justin Ellis are fairly interchangeable, however, Washington is more of a nose guard than a defensive end. Washington could play a role very similar to a young Michael Pierce.

Ellis is a solid veteran. With Ellis, you probably aren’t getting big plays but he’ll have some tackles and he’ll chew up some space. Overall this is a good group for a 3-4 team. If Madubuike and Washington have breakout seasons, this could be a great group.

Outside Linebacker

  1. Justin Houston
  2. Tyus Bowser
  3. Odafe Oweh
  4. Daelin Hayes
  5. Jaylon Ferguson
  6. Pernell McPhee

Jaylon Ferguson makes the cut here. Ferguson has been impressive in the preseason. He’s always looked the part, but he’s shown growth as an outside linebacker. It’s too early to give up on him and the Ravens need three players who can rotate on the edge. Pernell McPhee adds to the run defense.  Houston and Bowser should be your starters. They’re the most versatile and experienced. Oweh and Hayes have looked great in the preseason. They’re surely rookies to be excited for.

Inside Linebacker

  1. Patrick Queen
  2. Malik Harrison
  3. Chris Board

With L.J. Fort being injured in the preseason battle against the Panthers, it leaves the Baltimore Ravens a little short at this position. At linebacker, it really boiled down to Kristian Welch vs. Jaylon Ferguson. The Ravens have a nice young nucleus at inside linebacker. The Ravens’ extra defensive backs will allow them to have almost an extra linebacker in sub-packages.

The team can get by with three inside linebackers. Fort would have made the roster if he was healthy and he could always return. It’s important to remember the 53 man roster is something you can edit over the season. The goal is to go into the season opener with the best combination of 53 players for the Baltimore Ravens.


  1. Marlon Humphrey
  2. Marcus Peters
  3. Jimmy Smith
  4. Tavon Young
  5. Anthony Averett
  6. Shaun Wade
  7. Chris Westry

This was the one preseason where the Ravens should be reluctant to cut any of their defensive backs. While some are better than others, there isn’t a bad player in the group. It’s kind of amazing. You can never have enough good defensive backs and the Ravens almost kind of do.

If you would have told me at the beginning of camp I would have Chris Westry on this list, I wouldn’t have believed you. This is the value of getting to see preseason games. Players stand out and impress you, pass the eye test and give themselves a chance. That’s what Westry has done. He’s a good cover corner and I couldn’t cut him.


  1. DeShon Elliott
  2. Chuck Clark
  3. Brandon Stephens
  4. Geno Stone

Everything I just said about cornerbacks I could say about safeties. Defensive back-wise, this team is loaded. Geno Stone had two interceptions in the first preseason game and has impressed all through camp. His advantage is that the Ravens saw potential in him, drafted him, and now they’re starting to see that they were right. Teams love being right and that helps his cause.

Washington is an undrafted free agent. He’s a player I ended up with on the cutting block. If that’s the case the Ravens better get him on the practice squad. Washington is such a fast and twitchy player. I love the way he plays and I want to see him get a chance to grow up with the Ravens. I listed Stephens as a safety, he can play either position.

Cutting Nigel Warrior was a tough call. It’s not a cut I was happy about. Roster math is rough. Warrior played fantastic football against the Panthers. Anthony Levine Sr. has been with the Ravens since 2012. Cutting him hurts the heart. There is just such a powerful youth movement at the defensive back positions. Levine offers value mostly on special teams and being a wise veteran. There’s too much talent in front of him this year.


  1. Justin Tucker
  2. Sam Koch
  3. Nick Moore

The best kicker of all time, the longest-tenured Raven, and a new long snapper walk onto the field… the kick is up, the kick is good.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers: The good, bad and ugly

When the Ravens make their final cuts, it will be interesting to see how accurate this projection is. It’s subjective because we’re talking about evaluation. My evaluations may differ from the coaching staff at a couple of points.


Posted in Uncategorized

Ask the Nest: Answering Ravens end of the summer questions

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens are almost to the regular season. There are just two more preseason games to go and it will be here before you know it. I decided to answer some questions submitted to me via Twitter. Let’s get to it Ravens fans.

@Bij_Sadoughi asks: Are Duvernay and Proche the return specialists still? Or is it time for some new blood?

Answer: I absolutely believe that Devin Duvernay will be the starting kickoff return specialist. Duvernay had one touchdown as a rookie kickoff returner and his speed always gives him a chance to go for six. All it takes is somebody to be out of position and nobody is going to catch him. Duvernay returned 21 kickoffs for 578 yards in 2020. That’s not bad at all and I don’t see any reason to switch things up.

Proche kind of fell off at punt returner last season. That’s still in question. Proche is a reliable catcher of the football and he has returning experience at SMU. The thing that Proche lacks is the speed and acceleration to burn past an entire punt team trying to get him. Does he have a good chance of winning the job? Yes. Is it a given? Nope.

Look for Tylan Wallace and maybe even Brandon Stephens to get in on the punt returning competition. They both seem like natural fits for that role. Proche is reliable, but Baltimore may be looking for more pizazz. The answer to your question is half yes, half we’ll see. The kick returner should be locked up. Punt returning is in question.

@DJ_BMORE asks: Do we keep Anthony Levine Sr. as a vet presence or start the youth movement at safety and special teams?

Answer: Let’s count defensive backs you don’t want to lose. Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Tavon Young, Jimmy Smith, Anthony Averett, Shaun Wade, Brandon Stephens, Chuck Clark, DeShon Elliott. That’s nine defensive backs right there. Both Geno Stone and Ar’Darius Washington are making strong pushes for a roster spot. That’s 11 defensive backs right there.

If we clump Stephens in at safety, and both Stone and Washington make the roster the Ravens already have five special teams players. I want to say that Levine will stay. Not having “Co-Cap’ on the roster would almost feel wrong. If there’s a year where Levine doesn’t make it, this is it. I haven’t even talked about Chris Westry, who has from a handful of accounts had a great performance throughout camp.

Assuming the Ravens keep don’t keep more than six cornerbacks and five safeties, Levine being cut actually makes a lot of sense. Levine still has a chance because he’s been with the Baltimore Ravens forever and he’s a great special teams player. In fact, if you don’t count Levine as a defensive back, but a special teams player it works better for him. He’s going to play better on special teams than a rookie who needs to be coached up.

It depends on how many players the Ravens keep extra players at. If it’s more than two or three spots where the Ravens commit to a surplus, Levine may be on his way out. Levine has been an awesome part of the team and is a veteran leader. I say this with nothing but respect for him.

@JijiNakaba asks: Do the Ravens sign Mark Andrews before the season or let him play out his rookie contract?

Answer: I know what the Ravens want to do and what they’ll probably end up doing. The Ravens want to sign Andrews to an extension. They probably won’t get it done before the season though. The Ravens’ next big deal is probably going to go to Lamar Jackson. Until the Ravens figure out how to get that deal done (a deal that may feel pressured by Josh Allen’s extension with the Buffalo Bills) everything else can fall into place.

I wouldn’t put it past the Ravens to ink Andrews while the season was underway. The Ravens surely want Andrews to be a Raven for life. That’s obvious. Jackson surely doesn’t want to lose the player he has the most chemistry with. At the end of the day though I really do think it boils down to what happens with Lamar Jackson. That deal is going to shape what the Ravens do with the rest of the roster.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina Panthers: Video preseason preview

Thanks to those who asked questions. It’s a big weekend for the Baltimore Ravens. Keep it locked into PBN for everything Ravens vs. Panthers.

Posted in Ravens Thoughts

Baltimore Ravens training camp: What to be excited about

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens are at training camp preparing for the 2021 season. The negative headlines have made the biggest ripple in our Twitter timelines and our Ravens discussions. Let’s get the concerns and the bad news out of the way so we can finish this thing on an optimistic note.

Lamar Jackson’s start to training camp didn’t go as planned. The former MVP quarterback has been sitting out on a Covid-19 quarantine after a positive test. On a less noticeable level, Gus Edwards has been in the same boat.

The Ravens have injury concerns on top of that. Marquise Brown has missed multiple practices with a hamstring issue. John Harbaugh originally told the media that it wasn’t a big concern.

The longer this goes on the more problematic it seems. Brown’s timetable is unknown at this point. Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin have also reportedly dealt with issues. For the rookie wide receiver, it was muscle tightness. Boykin is another receiver with a hamstring holding him back.


Things to be excited about: Young receivers showing up

With all the drama going around at the wide receiver position, there have actually been many positives. In the practice at M&T Bank Stadium, Rashod Bateman beat Marlon Humphrey for a touchdown. The rookie wide receiver looks the part of a first-round pick. While it wasn’t quite like a game-like situation and he wasn’t jammed coming out of his release, Bateman had a wowing highlight.

James Proche has gotten a chance to show off and has made some impressive grabs. The second-year wide receiver came into camp on the roster bubble. He’s been impressive from all accounts and might be a player on the rise. Proche has shown a lot of what got fans excited in the first place. He’s doing what he did at SMU, making tough catches at impressive angles.

Good news for the defensive front:

Speaking of young Ravens, nobody on Ravens Twitter can stop talking about Justin Madubuike. He was a player that many thought would take a year-two jump. He’s looked impressive and there is a ton of buzz for him. This is what Bradley Bozeman said about practicing against Madubuike. 

Guy is a stout dude. He’s one of the harder people I’ve ever had to move on defense, honestly.”

The Ravens have plenty to be excited about with Madubuike. This is another example of a third-round pick that could end up playing like a first-round selection. We saw it with Orlando Brown Jr. and Mark Andrews. When the Ravens like a prospect in the third round they often get a steal. On the outside looking in, it certainly sounds like Madubuike is coming into his own.

Odafe Oweh has been impressive too. On Twitter, Sarah Ellison shared this quote of Don Martindale talking about Oweh:

This kid … I think he’s going to be a great football player for us, and I don’t just throw around the word ‘great.’ I think he’s going to be a problem.”

I’ve seen a couple of videos of Oweh from practice and I have to agree with Martindale. He moves like a bullet coming out of his stance and he’s showing off a bit. It’s early, but we are seeing the right thing from the Ravens’ first-round edge rusher. I could see him having five or six sacks this year. Whatever the numbers end up being, he’s going to put pressure on quarterbacks.

The Ravens’ first-round picks look like first-round picks. They are giving themselves very high expectations as the two most exciting Baltimore Ravens’ rookies. This is exactly what you want to see when you have two picks inside the top 32 picks. It looks like it could pay off in a big way for the Ravens.

The Bottom Line:

Justin Houston signed with the Ravens. He hasn’t started practice yet, that will come soon. Houston is a veteran outside linebacker that brings proven talent to the position. Marrying the proven with the exciting potential of the Ravens’ young talent sounds like a winning plan.

We’re seeing positives from veterans. From all accounts, Calais Campbell is looking like he has plenty left in the tank for what is expected to be his final season. The fact that so much of the buzz is coming from the young talent is exciting. James Proche, Justin Madubuike, and Odafe Oweh are the buzz-worthy players at the moment. That’s good news for the Baltimore Ravens.

NEXT POST: Forgotten Baltimore Ravens of the month vol. 3

The Baltimore Ravens have some good things going on. Let’s focus on the positives here. When you stop and look at what is going on, the positives really lift you up.





Posted in Ashley's 3 big questions

Baltimore Ravens: Three Big Questions at the Wide Receiver Position

By: Ashley Anderson

Last year, the Ravens had the worst passing attack in the NFL. It was clearly an area where they needed an infusion of talent, so they set to work adding pieces in free agency and the Draft. Now, Baltimore has a plethora of receivers, and the future looks bright. There are also some crucial questions about the group.

3.) Can Sammy Watkins stay healthy?

Selected fourth overall by the Buffalo Bills in the 2014 NFL Draft, Sammy Watkins exploded onto the scene with 982 receiving yards and six touchdowns as a rookie. Unfortunately, after topping 1,000 yards in his second season, things got off track for Watkins due to injuries. Since then, he has never topped 700 yards or played a complete season.

Knowing this, the Baltimore Ravens signed Watkins to a modest one-year, $6 million deal looking to add veteran insurance to a relatively young receiving core. Still, Watkins has more than enough ability to disrupt a defense. He just turned 28-years old and has the frame to play on the outside at 6-foot-1, 211-pounds.

Baltimore desperately needs a guy who can take some attention off Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews. Watkins looks to be the perfect person to fill that role if he can stay on the field. The Ravens are known for having an excellent strength and conditioning program, and Watkins seems to have a renewed dedication to taking care of his body. Now, only time will tell if Watkins can hold up for an expanded 17-game season.


2.) Will Marquise Brown (or someone else) top 1,000 receiving yards?

Third-year man Marquise Brown is clearly Baltimore’s top receiver, and he has tremendous chemistry with Lamar Jackson. However, he struggled to find success at times, mostly because the Ravens lacked diversity in their receiving core. After getting a makeover this offseason, the anticipated receivers heading into 2021 should be greatly improved.

Brown, along with tight end Mark Andrews, will likely continue to be Jackson’s go-to targets. Still, with other reliable receivers to spread the ball around to, some of the pressure should be alleviated from Brown. He already showed growth from year one to two, and he could make an even bigger leap in year three.

The last time a Ravens receiver topped 1,000 yards was Mike Wallace in 2016. Joe Flacco was still Baltimore’s starting quarterback, Jackson was a sophomore at Louisville, and Brown was fighting to get noticed at College of the Canyons. Brown will benefit from a 17th game on the regular-season schedule, and he managed nearly 800 yards in 2020. If Brown can build on his performance from last year, it will go a long way to helping the Ravens stay competitive in an extremely challenging AFC North.

Another scenario is that someone other than Brown emerges from the pack. The clear favorite would be Watkins, but as previously mentioned, he has not topped 700 yards since his second season. Will any Ravens receiver top the grand mark in 2021?


1.) How many receivers will the Baltimore Ravens keep, and who will they be?

This is a big two-part question to round out this segment. Last year, Baltimore rolled with six receivers on their initial roster, but they shuffled things a bit throughout the season. Chris Moore, Dez Bryant, and Willie Snead all left this offseason. The Ravens then added Sammy Watkins in free agency and Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace in the Draft.

If the Ravens stick to six receivers, there are a few locks: Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins, and Rashod Bateman. After that, Baltimore is all but guaranteed to keep second-year man Devin Duvernay and rookie Tylan Wallace. Duvernay excelled on special teams in his rookie campaign and is looking to take over the slot role vacated by Snead. Wallace is a fourth-round pick, so the Ravens will have a hard time stashing him on the practice squad.

Beyond those five is where things get murky. Entering his third season, Miles Boykin is the best blocking receiver the Ravens have. However, he has yet to emerge from the pack as a true receiving threat despite his 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame. His primary competition comes from James Proche. Though he had a modest rookie season, coaches are excited by Proche’s sure hands and could keep him based on sheer potential.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: 3 Big Questions at the Running Back Position

Should the Ravens choose to keep all seven receivers, they would have to make a sacrifice elsewhere on the roster. Could Proche sneak onto the practice squad? It is a possibility, but then they risk losing him to a receiver-needy team. Before you ask, it seems highly unlikely Boykin converts to tight end. This is a large question looming over a talented group that will ultimately impact the entire roster composition.