Let’s play some football, shall we?
To get a better understanding of what we’re facing, I linked up with Kyle P. Barber from Baltimore Beatdown, the SB Nation community for Baltimore Ravens fans.
What offensive players among the depth should Los Angeles Rams fans be looking for? Who are you excited to see on offense as a Ravens fan either because of the game against the Chicago Bears or otherwise?
On offense, there are three big areas to focus on.
1. Robert Griffin III and his comeback story. Throughout camp, RGIII has produced strong plays in the passing game. Yes, he’s capable of running the football but it’s not his first move as others believed it was years ago. I’m hoping the team finds room for him on the roster, but if not, he’ll be on another teams’ active roster due to his play. He looks great during his reads, his footwork has improved and he does still have the speed to find a lane.
2. The offensive line. The first game against the Bears showed the Ravens are lacking depth on the left side, especially left tackle. Watch for the Rams to break through early and often once Ronnie Stanley exits the game.
3. The rookie pass-catchers are exciting Ravens fans. From first- and third- round picks Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews to Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott, many are ready for the chains to move through the air. Lasley managed to beat Aqib Talib for a 20-yard gain, so pay attention to number 17.
How about on defense?
The biggest names to watch are Kamalei Correa and Tim Williams, two outside linebackers who came on strong against the Bears in the Hall of Fame Game. After years of stunted growth and a failed experiment on placing KC at inside linebacker, rather than outside linebacker, he was back on the edge and produced three sacks, an interception, and another pass break-up. He went nuclear and Ravens fans were roaring for him. Williams also had a strong game and defensive coordinator Don Martindale said he looks more like the player they drafted now.
Also, watch for rookies CB Anthony Averett and S DeShon Elliott. Averett has balled out during camp and Elliott is far better than his draft pick suggests. Both played well against the Rams in the joint practices and I expect they’ll want to shine brightly in their home debut.
What’s the sense of the demand of the fan base this year after missing out on the playoffs the last three seasons? This is the 11th season under John Harbaugh. I know you guys extended him last year through next season, but is there a sense that he could really be on the hot seat this year?
Fans are desperate for the playoffs; players are desperate for the post-season. C.J. Mosley said he was frustrated on how he hasn’t seen the playoffs since his rookie year and Tony Jefferson has also said at the podium how unnerving it was to miss out on a heart-breaking fourth-quarter collapse.
All that being said, I don’t see the Ravens booting Harbaugh if they come up short once again. If the Ravens post a record under 7-9 though, he could be on the way out with Eric DeCosta taking over for Ozzie Newsome as General Manager and wanting to build his own brand, but it’s unlikely. Harbaugh is a good coach and this team has been on the cusp. Unless DeCosta finds somebody he thinks can better coach the Ravens, John will return in 2019.
Thanks to Kyle for the time.