Heading into Week 1, there’s been a lot of talk about the Baltimore Ravens, quarterback Lamar Jackson and his contract, but I’m interested in a revamped Ravens running game, a new Baltimore defensive coordinator getting a lot of talent back from injuries and a New York Jets defense that is young, athletic and fast.
All About Jackson for the Ravens … But Weapons Need to Step Up
This offense is designed specifically around Jackson and what he does best. He’s talented running, throwing, dropping back, throwing passes from the pocket, throwing passes outside the pocket … and then there’s the extended plays. Defensively, the Jets are going to have to do a great job of covering for the first two or three seconds and the next three or four seconds.
J.K. Dobbins returns from injury, Mike Davis is there, Kenyan Drake signed. It’s going to be really fun to watch, because we know offensive coordinator Greg Roman and that staff do a great job of running the football. They’ve always been tight end heavy. I think when you look at the depth chart, they kept a bunch of tight ends. Isaiah Likely second or third team tight end behind Mark Andrews but really had a great preseason. I’m excited to see him.
Ravens “New Look” Defense Shouldn’t Miss a Beat
Mike Macdonald comes over from Michigan but was with coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens for a number of years before John loaned him to Jim for a year. He knows the organization and what it means to play like a Raven. It will be interesting to see how much that that scheme and that system changes under his direction
Expect them to be really good on defense. They get their whole secondary back. Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey were out last year. They added cornerback Kyle Fuller in the offseason. I had Kyle in Chicago, so I’ll be real excited to see him play inside at that position. Then Kyle Hamilton, big time safety out of Notre Dame, he’s supposed to be a freak back there.
Jets O Needs to Be Steady, Because D is Stockpiling Talent
The Jets lose Zach Wilson, and now Joe Flacco will start for them. Obviously, we know the connection between the Ravens and Flacco. I know that Ravens defense is probably going to want to get after him pretty good. I think Joe knows that and they all handle that. They’ve got Breece Hall coming in, that will give him a boost and hey’ll do a good job handing that thing off, managing the game, throwing to some receivers on the outside and taking care of the football. The offensive line lost the highly-touted Mekhi Becton, so I’m sure they’re working on on their blitz pickup because I think they fully anticipate Ravens pressure—especially on money downs: third-down situations, two-minute situations, redzone area situations.
Defensively, coach Robert Saleh has talked about the expectations on himself and on their squad. We’re all super excited to see Sauce Gardner, a first-round pick, highly touted cornerback out of the University of Cincinnati. Then there’s cornerback D.J. Reed, safeties Jordan Whitehead and LaMarcus Joyner, defensive end Carl Lawson and they get some players back from injury too. They’ve got a lot of talent on that side of the ball.