No injuries, Ravens will fight again for the division title

Nobody in Baltimore wants it to be a distraction, but as long as Lamar Jackson doesn’t sign his contract extension with the Ravens, it will be a distraction.

Jackson, who was named the 2019 NFL MVP, enters the final year of his rookie deal and Eric DeCostageneral manager of the Ravens, has Kyler Murray as an immediate example to negotiate with your star quarterback.

Murray signed a five-year, $230 million extension with the Cardinals last month, making him the second-highest-paid quarterback in the league, averaging $46.1 million a year, trailing only Aaron Rodgers ($50 million).

The fourth year in the NFL was, however, the worst in Jackson’s young career: in just 12 games he threw 16 touchdown passes, 20 fewer than in his MVP campaign.

Much more was expected of Jackson, but injuries and COVID-19 affected his production.

Still, he was second among quarterbacks with 767 rushing yards and became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for at least 600 yards in his first four seasons in the league.

Can he one day become a “conventional” quarterback? That remains to be seen, but what doesn’t look like it will change any time soon is the identity of the Ravens.

From Week 11 of the 2018 season to 4 of 2021, the Ravens rushed for at least 100 yards in 43 straight gameswhich tied a Pittsburgh Steelers record (1974-77).

Baltimore’s offense was third in the NFL in 2021 averaging 145.8 rushing yards per game. And they did that despite missing JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards for the entire season with knee injuries.

Mark Andrews he was Jackson’s best friend on the pitch. Andrews led all tight ends in receptions (107) and yards (1,361), both career highs.

Those numbers could be repeated this year, particularly after the Ravens sent wide receiver Marquis Brown to Arizona in an unexpected trade on the first day of the Draft.

Ferguson’s death

The Ravens were hit hard in June after the death of linebacker Jaylon Ferguson, just 26 years old. This tragedy will test the character of the entire organization.

Baltimore debuts defensive coordinator in mike macdonaldwho takes the place of Don Martindale.

Injuries also affected this side of the ball, and the Ravens’ defense finished 25th in passing yards, their worst since 1997, as well as giving up 16 plays of 40 or more yards.

The leaders are the linebackers patrick queen (98 tackles, 10 of them in the backfield) and Tyus Bowser (7 sacks and 15 hits to the quarterbacks), but we must not lose sight of Odafe Owehwho as a rookie forced three fumbles and recorded five sacks.

free agents Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton are fighting for the starting job at free safety and the winner will play alongside one of the best pairs of cornerbacks in the league: Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peterswho is back after missing all of last season with a knee injury.

Despite all the injuries, the Ravens came close to qualifying for the playoffs and won at least eight games for the sixth straight season.

Resolving Lamar Jackson’s contract situation before the start of the regular season is paramount. With that in the bag and a healthy team, coach John Harbaugh will have Baltimore in contention for the AFC North Division crown, which his team has won twice in the past four seasons.

Baltimore Ravens

Record in 2021: 8-9

Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium

Super Bowl Titles: two

head coach: John Harbaugh

defensive coordinator: Greg Roman

Offensive Coordinator: mike macdonald


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No injuries, Ravens will fight again for the division title