American Football

Ravens News 3/2: New Approach and more


NFL Combine
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Trade Lamar Jackson? Ravens GM says he covets QBs, great players – Jamison Hensley

“That being said, I covet great players. I covet quarterbacks. And I love Lamar,” DeCosta told Baltimore-area reporters in Indianapolis. “So, that has not factored in one time with me. We want to do what’s best for the club. We try to do what we can for Lamar. We want to make everybody happy.”

“You can’t win in this league without a strong quarterback. I mean, that’s been proven,” DeCosta said. “So, we want Lamar here. We think he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He’s certainly one of our best players, and we want him back. We understand that living in a world without a quarterback is a bad world to live in.”

“I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no optimism, where I’m just going to give up hope,” DeCosta said. “You guys have seen me during games. Sometimes I’m in a dark place at the end of the game because there’s no hope. We’ve lost the game. I don’t see that here. I won’t feel that here. I refuse that. I’ve seen a lot of deals happen when things look bleak, or I haven’t seen deals when I would’ve thought it was a slam dunk. It takes two people to do it. I remain positive. I have no reason not to remain positive.”

It’s time for Ravens to take new approach in Lamar Jackson contract negotiations – Jeff Zrebiec

The Ravens’ decision-makers have mostly stayed above the fray and not added to the noise beyond DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh singing Jackson’s praises and expressing confidence that a deal will get done. That’s the Ravens way. They don’t negotiate through the media. It was even more important than a typical negotiation to DeCosta that things stay quiet and there were no leaks, simply because he is dealing directly with Jackson, who doesn’t have an agent.

Details getting out on the Ravens’ end have the potential to be viewed as a breach of trust to Jackson, who doesn’t trust easily, and only make delicate contract talks more difficult.

Earlier this offseason, DeCosta actually pointed at the NFL Players Association for leaking some of the details about the contract talks.

But it’s fair to ask where this cloak of secrecy has gotten the Ravens. It doesn’t appear to have gotten them any closer to a long-term contract extension ahead of Tuesday’s closing of the two-week franchise tag window. It hasn’t stopped the public perception that they could be mishandling contract negotiations with one of the game’s brightest stars. It hasn’t halted the speculation and reports about what they offered Jackson and what they have and haven’t been willing to do.

PFF receiving grades: The best tight ends from the 2022 NFL season – Gordon McGuinness



Lamar Jackson’s top target in Baltimore, Andrews was still one of the best tight ends in football in 2022, pulling in 73 receptions for 847 yards from 110 targets.

John Harbaugh Gives Updates on Coaching Staff Changes – Ryan Mink

Baltimore has openings at wide receiver coach, safeties coach and now outside linebackers coach, and could find roles for other offensive coaches.

Head Coach John Harbaugh told the media Wednesday that Outside Linebackers Coach Rob Leonard is leaving to become the defensive line coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Safeties coach D’Anton Lynn recently accepted a job to become UCLA’s defensive coordinator.

The Ravens promoted Tee Martin to become their quarterbacks coach, which means there’s an opening for wide receivers coach. Keith Williams, who has spent the past two years as the team’s pass game specialist, will be back in some capacity and is a candidate for the job, but he won’t be the only one.

Willie Taggart has been hired as the new running backs coach, replacing Craig Ver Steeg. Harbaugh said Ver Steeg and James Urban, who has been the team’s quarterbacks coach for the past five seasons, could remain on staff in an assistant position.

The Ravens enter the NFL combine with a lot of questions. Here’s what top prospects can show them. – Jonas Shaffer

USC wide receiver Jordan Addison

2022 stats: 59 catches for 875 yards and eight touchdowns (11 games)

Combine question: How worrisome are his hands? Addison, a Frederick native, dropped 10 passes as a true freshman at Pittsburgh (14.3% drop rate), according to Pro Football Focus. He dropped another 11 during his breakout sophomore year (9.9% rate), when he finished with 1,593 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. But Addison seemed to leave the inconsistency behind after transferring to USC, where he had just two drops (3.3% rate). Ravens wide receivers struggled with ball security last season, and team officials figure to be watching the 6-0 Addison closely as he goes through catching drills at the combine.

Alabama cornerback Brian Branch

2022 stats: 90 tackles, two interceptions and a 69.3 passer rating allowed in coverage, according to PFF (13 games)

Combine question: Where does he fit in the NFL? The 6-0 Branch spent most of his career in the slot, rarely lining up as an outside cornerback or deep safety for the Crimson Tide. He also graded out as a strong tackler last season, finishing with 14 tackles for loss and PFF’s highest tackling grade in the country. But his smaller frame — Alabama listed Branch’s playing weight at 193 pounds — could scare away some teams whose defensive schemes lean on bigger nickelbacks, especially against the run. If the Ravens draft Branch a year after taking Kyle Hamilton, they’d have two young, talented defensive backs capable of contributing from the slot or as a deep-lying safety.

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