Happy Purple Friday as always Ravens Fans. It’s been a little while, but I’m back in action with my cohort from Purple Reign show, Frank B. We decided to break down this week with an offensive and defensive approach. First will be Frank, then I’ll be back to wrap this puppy up.
While John Harbaugh has been busy equivocating who will start between Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson this week, the Ravens will need a solid offensive gameplan in place to take down the Falcons on the road. There is no doubt the Falcons are reeling and losers of their last three games, but their offense is still a legitimate threat to any defense, at any time. The Ravens have been rolling with a rejuvenated run game and winners of their last two games. The rushing attack led by undrafted free agent Gus Edwards and rookie Lamar Jackson have put together 509 rush yards and three touchdowns over the past two weeks. The Falcons defense has been gashed to the tune of 123.7 rush yards per game which sets up quite nicely for the Ravens offense. However, the health of left tackle Ronnie Stanley and the offensive line will be factors for any success on Sunday.
Assuming Lamar Jackson is the starter, he will most certainly need to avoid turnovers as he has thrown three interceptions over his first two starts. The Falcons offensively, have the weapons to strike from anywhere, so ball control will be key for the Ravens in order to keep Matt Ryan and company off of the field. Now we all know this current offense is not fully sustainable, but assuming Lamar can improve each week and take some shots downfield, there is no reason the offense cannot evolve into a formidable threat.
In order to be successful, the Ravens offense must move forward by opening up a little more of the pass game each week, playing to Lamar Jackson’s strengths and running the plays he is most comfortable with. In turn, more quality drives can be put together in a sense of the west coast offense, moving the chains and taking the short to intermediate throws with occasional deep shots when the timing is right. For the Ravens to get a win on the road, they will need to run a ball control style offense, led by a strong rushing attack and put together some chain moving drives. Getting John Brown wide open downfield on play action wouldn’t hurt either.
Thank you, Frank. Now let’s see if I , like the defense, have it all covered. Defensively this game seems to be predicated on the Ravens secondary vs that vaunted Falcons passing attack. We all know what a stud Julio Jones is. The offense flows through him for those huge chunks of yards. Marlon Humphrey will have this assignment I think. This will be the young man’s hardest test in his young career so I look for Wink Martindale to dedicate a safety deep for most of the game on Julio’s side of the field.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr will be forced to man coverage against Calvin Ridley and Mohammed Sanu respectively. Ridley has great speed, so Jimmy should be in for a challenging day as well. The Sanu/Carr match should be the one to watch. Size versus experience. Young safety Chuck Clark will be thrust into a challenging position if Tony Jefferson’s ankle won’t allow him to suit up. All of this, of course, will be a lot easier if the pass rush comes out to play. Terrell Suggs, Matt Judon, and Agent Smith will need big days to keep Matt Ryan flat on his back.
There you have it, folks. If done like this, the Coaching staff gets an A while we get the W.