Pundit says only Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes should consider MVP selections


Two Ravens are among the top six in ESPN’s early free agency rankings


While Jackson is a top five MVP candidate, he is the clear number one player in ESPN’s early free agency rankings.

Jackson, whose contract status remains one of the NFL’s hottest topics, is playing this season on the option for the fifth year of his rookie contract.

ESPN’s Matt Bowen wrote, “Jackson is the most powerful player in the league, with a top-level skill set that creates huge problems for opposing defenses.” He ranks fifth in total QBR this season (65.0, up from 56.8 in 2021) and averages 7.4 yards per tackle when he runs. With over 2,000 yards already this season—and the place value to claim a multi-year contract—Jackson clearly has the Best free agent next year.

The Ravens have made it clear that they are committed to signing Jackson to a long-term deal, so he almost certainly won’t hit the open market.

“Baltimore will do everything it can to keep him, even if it means using the franchise tag on Jackson, who will enter his sixth season in 2023,” ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum wrote. “The situation got a bit more complicated when the Ravens acquired linebacker Roquan Smith, another suspended free agent they’ll want to re-sign.”

Speaking of Smith, he is #6 in the ESPN free agency rankings.

“The Ravens sent multiple picks to Chicago to land Smith, so they will definitely try to keep him,” Tannenbaum wrote. “But if they choose to use the franchise tag on Lamar Jackson, that eliminates that option for Smith.”

The stats that defined the Crows season

Jonas Schaffer of the Baltimore Sun Identified 10 stats that defined the Ravens season on offense, defense, and special teams. Here’s a look at one in each category:

The Ravens are second in ESPN’s pass block win rate (70%), which measures the number of times players can sustain their blocks for 2.5 seconds or more, and first in ESPN’s running block win rate (76%), which measures Number of times players “win” their blocks or blocks in designed running plays. They finished 10th and 5th respectively last year.”[quote]

The Ravens missed outside linebacker Justin Houston the most. From Week 3, when a groin injury sidelined Houston early in an eventual win over the New England Patriots, to Week 6, the defense ranked 25th in pressure rate (27.6%) and 11th Per sack rate (7.8%) for an average of 22.4%. His pass returns boosted the Ravens’ pass rush. Over the past four weeks, they’ve been 12th in pressure rate (33.6%) and 7th in sack rate (10.6%) despite having a lower sack rate (10.6%) (19.8%, 11th in the NFL) and faces two quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Andy Dalton.”

“There may not be a more reliable unit in the league than the Ravens’ special teams. Last year, the team ranked first in the league in Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense Adjusted Value of Above Average) special teams, at 5.0%. Through 10 weeks, They were even better, with the NFL’s best DVOA at 6.8%. Led by kicker Justin Tucker and returner Devin DuVernay, the Ravens finished second in DVOA in field goals and extra points, first in kickoff returns and third in punt returns.Even the weakest of the two, coverage Kick-off and sprint, running between the middle of the group.”

Patrick Quinn’s “hot seat” has cooled considerably

Patrick Quinn has been on ESPN’s Jamison Hensley’s “hot seat hour,” but as the outside temperature has cooled, so has the inside linebacker’s hot seat, which Hensley now rates only as “lukewarm.”

“Quinn found her niche playing alongside newly acquired Roquan Smith, producing the best season of his three-year career as a weak linebacker,” Hensley Books. He leads the Ravens with 58 tackles and recorded 3.5 sacks.

Quinn’s improved play this season did not go unnoticed by his coaches.

“Patrick is everywhere, he’s getting better and better with every game,” said coach John Harbaugh. “He’s become one of the dominant full-backs; you kind of see him grow up before our eyes. So, I can’t wait to see where he continues to progress, but he’s playing good football.”

Inside Linebackers head coach Zach Orr said: “I think he’s very underrated in what we’re asking him to do and what he’s done for us. He’s been on the field every moment. … We haven’t seen the best of Patrick Quinn, but we’ve seen good copy of it. So, that makes me really excited for him about what he’s going for.”

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