The Baltimore Ravens ended their 2022 season with a disappointing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round. A strong start to the season saw Baltimore finish with a 10-7 record. However, injuries and struggles down the stretch meant that a comfortable path to the playoffs became much more difficult.
This offseason poses a lot of questions for Baltimore. What will happen with Lamar Jackson’s contract and the quarterback situation? With Greg Roman gone, how will the Ravens modernise their offense? These are just a few of the questions that John Harbaugh and Eric DeCosta will need to address in the coming weeks.
Despite a disappointing end, Ravens fans can reflect on the positives of 2022 too. Some standout individual performances meant that the team are well represented in the Pro Bowl rosters. Their strong 2022 NFL Draft haul has also shown huge signs of promise.
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Baltimore Ravens End-Of-Season Awards
Most Valuable Player: Lamar Jackson
There is a case to be made that Jackson cannot be the team’s MVP by virtue of missing so many games. However, the argument is much stronger the other way around. In Jackson’s absence, the Ravens offense looked toothless and dysfunctional. Prior to Jackson’s PCL injury, he was playing like an MVP candidate. It was evident that, after he got hurt, the Ravens lost all identity on offense.
While it is true that the offense struggled even with Jackson at the helm, it was clear that his natural playmaking ability papered over a lot of cracks. Baltimore’s offensive struggles (without Jackson) were epitomized in their last few games. Tyler Huntley and Anthony Brown showed just how irreplaceable Jackson is. Many would make the argument that Baltimore’s playoff exit was largely down to Jackson’s injury.
Jackson’s value to Baltimore is undisputed. It seems that the 2019 MVP is also keen to stay with the franchise. However, stalled contract talks throughout the last off-season have put his future in doubt. Reports from the season suggested that he was “not happy” with the organization. There was even a rumor that he was absent from the building during his rehabilitation, though this has since been debunked. The Jackson-Baltimore standoff is due to come to a tipping point this off-season. Will they agree on an extension? Will Jackson get the tag? Could Baltimore trade Jackson? Regardless of what happens with his future, there is no doubt that Baltimore’s struggles during his absence are demonstrative of how valuable he is to the team.
I was asked about @RavensQB Lamar Jackson. My thoughts 👇🏾 pic.twitter.com/ZZAPBwQRC5
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) January 10, 2023
Offensive Player of the Year: Mark Andrews
The Ravens struggled with both injury and inconsistency on offense this year. In truth, no one on the Ravens offense had a very productive year. However, one player that was least impacted by the disruption was Mark Andrews.
Outside of Jackson, Andrews is probably the team’s only elite playmaker. A mauler in the run game and dangerous in the pass game, Andrews is considered one of the league’s best prototypical tight ends. In Baltimore, he headlines a reliable group. This year, Andrews managed 847 yards and five touchdowns over 15 games. He was the AFC’s second-best tight end, behind the unstoppable Travis Kelce.
MARK ANDREWS 😱pic.twitter.com/WGt1iO4ipT
— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 16, 2023
In a year where the Ravens (once again) struggled with their wide receivers, Andrews stepped up. He was the team’s most reliable receiver, with other tight ends playing their part too. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens use this off-season to form a connection between Andrews and rookie Isaiah Likely. Baltimore will also be hoping that Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay are 100% for 2023, which would also take some defensive attention off Andrews (and Likely).
Defensive Player of the Year: Roquan Smith
How can Roquan Smith be the Ravens’ defensive player of the year if he only joined them midseason? The answer is simple: Smith elevated the Ravens defense from bad to elite.
After trading for Roquan Smith, the Ravens defense completely turned around from one of the worst in the NFL to one of the best.pic.twitter.com/z5zyPLAhpF
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 10, 2023
The Ravens traded for Smith from the Chicago Bears earlier in the season. It proved to be a smart decision as Smith became a core player for the Ravens. With the Ravens, Smith accounted for 86 tackles, seven TFLs, two sacks, and one interception. His strong performance was awarded with an All-Pro selection as well as the Butkus Award.
Roquan Smith was named First-Team All-Pro in his first (half) season as a Raven.
Since his trade to Baltimore:
🟣 84.7 PFF grade (3rd)
⚫️ 88.2 RUND grade (7th)
🟣 73.1 COV grade (12th)
⚫️ 10 TFLs (6th)
🟣 30 stops
The next great Ravens LB has arrived 😈 pic.twitter.com/enzj05eWAI
— PFF BAL Ravens (@PFF_Ravens) January 13, 2023
Smith was not just an individual star though. It was clear that he bought into the Ravens culture immediately, and was also a big reason for the improvement in the defensive players around him. His partnership with Patrick Queen, in particular, was particularly impressive. For these reasons, the Ravens signed Smith to an extension, keeping him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future.
Per Saint Omni, The #Ravens agree in principle with All-Pro LB Roquan Smith — now the highest paid at his position in NFL history with a 5-yr, $100M deal. $45M fully guaranteed & $60M in total guarantees. Huge. The 1st off-ball LB to get $20M per year. Roquan represented himself. pic.twitter.com/KCy7t26SpZ
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 10, 2023
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Tyler Linderbaum
When the Ravens traded away Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals, they caught a lot of heat. The criticism was exacerbated when they failed to bring in any new wide receivers.
While Tyler Linderbaum was not an answer to the receiver position, he has certainly impressed fans and pundits. Coming out of college, many believed that Linderbaum was one of the most NFL-ready prospects in the class. He demonstrated that early, showing his headiness and physicality. Indeed, Linderbaum was one of the biggest Pro Bowl snubs this year, losing out only because of Creed Humphrey’s stellar performances.
The rookie center was excellent this year. He showed just why so many people rated him highly and is the long-term solution at center for the Ravens.
Check out the push Tyler Linderbaum gets on D.J. Reader on this outside run. With Reader having to flow horizontally, Linderbaum pushes the big guy back 7 yards. pic.twitter.com/j4YNb4Ocnl
— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) January 10, 2023
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Kyle Hamilton
Kyle Hamilton was an excellent selection in the previous draft. A top-10 prospect throughout the hype, Hamilton ultimately fell to the Ravens at 14. Despite a rocky start with some growing pains, Hamilton slowly earnt his starting spot on the team after a strong performance against the New England Patriots.
Since the Patriots game, Hamilton has improved week after week. He was particularly important to the team when Marcus Williams was placed on injured reserve. Since Williams’ return, Hamilton has been able to flex his versatility. He has been used as a box defender, a free safety and a star linebacker. However, his most prominent role has been covering from the slot, something that he did excellently.
Hamilton finished the season as PFF’s top-graded safety. He registered 62 tackles, four tackles-for-loss, five quarterback hits, one forced fumble, and five passes defended over 16 games.
Kyle Hamilton finished his rookie season with an 87.6 PFF Grade
Currently 2nd among all rookies 💪 pic.twitter.com/I9bQASV6Kd
— PFF (@PFF) January 16, 2023
Comeback Player of the Year: J.K. Dobbins
Choosing a Comeback Player of the Year for the Ravens was no easy feat. Part of that was due to just how many key players sustained season-ending injuries in 2021. Gus Edwards, Marcus Peters, and Rashod Bateman were among the core players that missed all of 2021.
J.K. Dobbins, however, is a strong selection for this award. Despite missing time this year through other ailments, Dobbins now looks like he is back to his dynamic, explosive self. Down the stretch of the season, Dobbins was essential to the Ravens offense due to the bad quarterback play. Despite being on a snap count, he showed good touch efficiency and made the most of all of his reps. Indeed, Roman came under fire for not using Dobbins more, especially in short-yardage situations…
Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins said the offense never should’ve been been in the position where it needed a QB sneak.
“I didn’t get a single carry” in the red zone.
He adds: “I should be the guy” down close to the goal. He is pissed. pic.twitter.com/ZNJIYunNRa
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) January 16, 2023
Most Improved Player: Patrick Queen
There were a lot of improved players this year for the Ravens. On the offensive side of the ball, Morgan Moses and Devin Duvernay both looked much better. Defensively, Justin Madubuike, Justin Houston, and Geno Stone were among the frontrunners. Ultimately, Patrick Queen made the biggest improvement.
Queen finished the 2022 season with 117 tackles, nine tackles-for-loss, 14 quarterback hits, two interceptions, one forced fumble, five sacks, and six passes defended. An impressive season to say the least.
Prior to 2022, people had started to question whether Queen was the future for Baltimore. He showed good traits but was often slow in coverage and unreliable at tackling. This year was a marked difference, however. With the acquisition of Smith, Queen managed to thrive as the team’s ILB2. With Smith staying put, this linebacker duo is one to watch for the near future.
Highest graded Ravens in Week 18 vs Bengals:
🥇 Kyle Hamilton – 91.2
🥈 Justin Madubuike – 81.5
🥉 Patrick Queen – 80.9
4⃣ Tyler Linderbaum – 79.5
5⃣ Jason Pierre-Paul – 76.8 pic.twitter.com/kmvTYFVSKr
— PFF BAL Ravens (@PFF_Ravens) January 9, 2023
Best Newcomer: Marcus Williams
The Ravens did not make many off-season signings this year. The truth is that Baltimore had a very complete roster already. By getting people back from injury, they were essentially improving. The one exception to that was Williams.
Baltimore signed the safety to a big five-year deal in the off-season in a bid to get younger and better in the secondary. Williams’ start to 2022 was truly elite. He was a turnover machine and was the team’s main playmaker. However, a stint on IR stunted his production a little. He still managed to finish the season strong, however.
Another disguised coverage where Marcus Williams baits Joe Burrow into a throw that Williams knows he can break up. Man, did the Ravens nail his signing or what??? pic.twitter.com/qqBRFTbWn3
— Nikhil Mehta (@nmehtaUR2022) January 14, 2023
With Williams, Hamilton, and Stone, the Ravens have a fantastic group of safeties who they can use to disguise coverages. Their young ages also mean that they will be able to develop together, forming a strong long-term connection.