Five things we learned from the Ravens’ 2021 season

A disappointing finish to the 2021 season left the Ravens with questions about how to rejuvenate their defense and how to get the most out of an offense led by Lamar Jackson. Here are five things we learned from the Ravens’ 8-9 campaign:

Lamar Jackson is one of the most confusing great players in the NFL.

Which part of Jackson’s season tells the story of where he’s headed? Do we focus on the first six games, when he led brilliant comebacks and was perhaps the most prolific deep passer and deadliest runner in the league? Do we dwell on the run of disappointing performances that began with an upset loss to the Miami Dolphins, which highlighted his inability to punish the blitz and seemed to shake his on-field composure? Do we worry about the 5 ½ games he missed because of recurring illnesses and a bone bruise on his ankle?

These are questions the Ravens must ask as they contemplate how to maximize Jackson’s performance in 2022 and how much to invest in him as their franchise centerpiece for the years beyond.

Though fans will wonder if the Ravens should take a wait-and-see approach, using the franchise tag as a hedge against Jackson departing after next season, the bet here is they move forward with a lucrative extension. Jackson is, after all, a former Most Valuable Player and proven winner who played at an elite level for parts of the 2021 season. Quarterbacks who fit that description don’t tend to get less expensive if you put off signing them.

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That’s not to say the Ravens should ignore the troubling signs we saw in the second half. This was Jackson’s least satisfying year as a pro. Over his last five full games, the offense averaged 19.2 points (the Ravens averaged 33 in 2019). In just 12 …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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