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NFL Draft

Significant Ravens Offensive Flaw Exposed Against Chiefs

  • The Draft Network
  • September 29, 2020
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By Brentley Weissman

Week 3 is finally in the books, and the much-anticipated matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs certainly didn’t disappoint. Billed to be the game of the year with two heavyweight Super Bowl competitors set to battle it out, the game wound up being a one-sided affair with the Kansas City Chiefs winning 34-20. 

The Chiefs' offense got the best of the Ravens' stout defense and the magic of quarterback Patrick Mahomes was on full display. The Ravens' defense that had been one of the best units in the league before this game—ranking near the top in points allowed at just 22 per game and passing yards allowed with just 421 total—got shredded by Mahomes & Co. However, it’s hard to put this game totally on them. The Kansas City offense is going to score points no matter how good your defense is. The question if you are the Ravens is simple: can your offense match the Chiefs score for score? On Monday night, the answer was no. 

Now, I will not bash an offense that headed into this game ranked third in points per game at 35.5, but I will say that this unit is less than perfect. The Ravens offense boasts one of the best players in the league in MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, a very good tight end in Mark Andrews, and a stable of running backs all capable of toting the rock. However, the Ravens are sorely lacking difference-makers at the wide receiver position. 

As it stands now, the Ravens' wide receiver room consists of 2019 first-round pick Marquise Brown, veteran slot guy Willie Snead, Myles Boykin, and 2020 third-round pick Devin Duvernay. As a unit, this group has speed to burn, but is not overly physical or reliable in contested situations.

Brown is easily the best of the bunch and has outstanding speed and burst. He is a true deep threat who perfectly complements what the Ravens want to do with their running of 12 and 22 personnel groupings, however Brown does have some deficiencies as a supposed No. 1 option. Brown, who lacks ideal NFL size and strength, struggles to separate when corners can get physical with him early on. Brown is also not overly physical at the catch point and will have a case of the drops here and there. Boykin and Duvernay are also speed demons, but neither are proven and both project as deep threats, not consistent chain-movers.

I know some reading this at home might be thinking, "Brentley, the Ravens are the best team in the league at running the football, and utilize 12 and 22 personnel more than anyone else in the NFL, why would they need to invest in a wide receiver?" The question can be answered in multiple ways. First, to have the ability to outscore the Chiefs if the running game and defense let you down, like in Monday night's game. Second, to continue to provide Jackson with reliable and consistent weapons so he can continue to ascend as a pocket passer. 

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If you look at the stats from Monday night’s game, you would think Jackson must have played terribly, finishing with 15-of-28 for just 97 passing yards. While this definitely wasn’t his best game through the air, if you watched the game you would know his weapons really let him down. The Ravens struggled with drops all night with Andrews and Brown each being guilty of letting the ball hit the ground.

The Ravens need another reliable option on the outside who defenses must respect. They need a receiver who has the size and strength to win in contested situations, a guy who can be a consistent chain-mover on third downs, and someone who can complement the speed they already have in the receiver room. Look, Andrews is arguably a top-three tight end in the NFL, and again, Brown is a legit deep threat, but I believe this team still needs a true No. 1 receiving option. 

The team flirted with Antonio Brown in the offseason, and while I wouldn’t touch Brown with a 10-foot pole, I’d be lying if I said he wouldn’t be the perfect guy to add to this group if he wasn’t such a headache. I’m not sure what the Ravens can do to fix their receiver issues, and I highly doubt the team signs Brown, but I do know if the Ravens hope to beat these Chiefs in the playoffs, they’ll need more consistent play from their receiving corps. 

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