Analyzing the Recent Struggles of the 2020 Baltimore Ravens

2020 Baltimore Ravens

In the 2019 season, the Baltimore Ravens were a force to be reckoned with. Finishing as the NFL’s top seed at 14-2, they were unstoppable. Throughout the season, they broke an incredible number of records and could not be stopped. However, this far into the 2020 season, the Ravens have struggled much more. Although they are 6-3, they have not been nearly as good as they were last season. What’s going on with the 2020 Baltimore Ravens? Why are they not performing as well as they did last season?

2020 Baltimore Ravens Struggling After Last Season’s Dominance

Play Calling

On the surface, it would seem that Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman was doing a great job last season. Considering that the Ravens offense rushed for the most yards by any team in NFL history (3,296 yards), one would assume that they had a good play caller leading all that. However, one thing most people who watched the Ravens regularly noticed was that he was not very good at calling pass plays specifically. Most run-first offenses, similar to the Ravens, establish their dominance in the run game. They then use this to execute a well-designed play-action pass that catches the defense off guard.

For example, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been known to be very good at designing play-action passes. After establishing the run game, McDaniels calls play-action passes that are well designed to fool the defense. Many of his play-action passes involve offensive line movement that is typically attributed to run plays, like pulling guards and unblocked defensive linemen. McDaniels’ plays bait defenders to play the run and punish them for this by throwing into their zones or to their man. Granted, this is very simple, and most successful offensive coordinators consider this to be the basics of executing a run-first offense.

Frankly, Greg Roman has not been able to execute a simple offense in this manner. In his defense, Roman has been an excellent play designer in the run game, which is why the Ravens’ run game was so successful. However, when it came to designing play-action passes, and pass plays in general, Greg Roman was mediocre at his best. His play designs do not fool anyone and are easy to defend. Of course, many of Roman’s simple play-action passes were successful due to the Ravens’ success in the run game. However, they could have been even more powerful had Roman been able to design them well like Josh McDaniels.


The Ravens have dealt with a lot of injuries so far this season. These injuries have left them very thin in areas that they were very deep at during the beginning of the season. Injuries at positions like the offensive line, secondary, and defensive line are causing them to suffer.

The offensive line is where the Ravens’ most significant injury is. The Ravens lost all-pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who is arguably the best in the league at his position. This injury forced them to move Pro Bowl right tackle Orlando Brown, Jr. to left tackle, and replace Brown with veteran guard D.J. Fluker, which is less than ideal. The Ravens also lost their starting right guard in rookie Tyre Phillips who had been very good up until his injury.

In the secondary, the Ravens are very thin. The Ravens lost their starting nickel cornerback in Tavon Young, who has been a great player but constantly gets injured. In addition, cornerback Jimmy Smith has been on and off with an injury. On top of these, Iman Marshall had a season-ending injury before the season started, which was not helpful. Of course, the Ravens’ top two corners Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are still healthy, but depth is very important in the secondary, and frankly, the Ravens do not have it.

The Ravens also have several injuries on the defensive line. Former All-Pro Calais Campbell is out with an injury, along with Brandon Williams. These injuries on the defensive line played a major factor in the Ravens’ loss to the Patriots. The Ravens were unable to stop the run against the Patriots due to these two elite run stoppers being out, and this resulted in New England being able to move the ball down the field effectively.

Receiver Play

This problem could easily be the worst. The Ravens frankly have no receivers who can get open and make plays for the offense. Marquise Brown is a very talented receiver but has been very inconsistent, and struggles to get open. His size has also been an issue for him, as he has openly admitted that he avoids taking hits.  The Ravens also have Miles Boykin at wide receiver, who showed potential in his rookie season last year but has frankly been a bad player for the Ravens offense.

Willie Snead IV is perhaps the Ravens’ best receiver. He has been able to get open consistently and make plays and has become one of Lamar Jackson‘s most trusted targets. Finally, the Ravens have rookie third-round pick Devin Duvernaywho has been absolutely incredible every time he is utilized. Greg Roman, however, has struggled to create plays that get Duvernay involved. He is extremely talented, however, and deserves to play a major role in the Ravens’ offense.

None of these receivers have been able to get open and make plays for the Ravens when they need them. The Ravens need one of their young receivers, like Marquise Brown or Devin Duvernay, to step up and be the true number one receiver this team needs.

Lamar Jackson Is Not the Problem With the 2020 Baltimore Ravens

Whenever a team is struggling, many people like to cast the blame on the quarterback. And a lot of the time, the quarterback is to blame. For example, the Chicago Bears could be a great team if they had a competent player at the quarterback position. However, this is not the case for the Baltimore Ravens this year.

The reigning MVP Lamar Jackson has definitely not played as well as he did last year, but he is not the reason the Ravens are struggling. Jackson currently is on pace for over 3,000 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Pair this with the 900+ rushing yards he is on pace for and you can see that he is having a great season so far. Jackson simply needs help. He has no elite, trustworthy target to throw to other than tight end Mark Andrews

Other young quarterbacks, like Josh Allen and Kyler Murray, are having great seasons this year and are getting praise. Many people even say that these two players are better quarterbacks than Lamar Jackson. However, what people do not consider is that both of these players have trustworthy targets to throw to, and good scheming and play design.

The Bills gave Josh Allen a top-tier receiver in Stefon Diggs, who currently leads the league in receiving yards. Lamar Jackson does not have a receiver like Diggs that he can depend on. In a similar situation as Allen is Kyler Murray, who has DeAndre Hopkins, arguably the best receiver in the game, as a target he can throw to. Once again, Lamar Jackson does not have a true number one receiver like both of these quarterbacks, so he should not be blamed for a lack of success in the passing game. Lamar Jackson has done his job and needs his receivers to step up, as previously mentioned.

Lamar Jackson has been a great quarterback so far this year. Sure, he has had his fair share of struggles, just like every other quarterback. He is by no means as good as the other top tier quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, or even Aaron Rodgers. However, he is not the reason the Ravens are struggling. Lamar Jackson is a great quarterback and the Ravens can depend on him to be their quarterback of the future.


There is no doubt that the Ravens have regressed from last year. The play calling, injuries, and receiver play have slowed them down. Though they will most likely not win their division, there is no doubt that they will still be in the playoffs as a Wild Card team and might finally be able to capitalize this year.

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