Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- JK Dobbins was lost for the season in Week 1 after suffering a torn Achilles.
- Mark Andrews got in a limited session on Wednesday and is tentatively expected to return from his one-game absence due to a quad injury.
- The Ravens had two starting offensive linemen miss practice entirely on Wednesday, which is a situation to monitor during the coming days.
- The Bengals are fresh off an absolute dismantling at the hands of the Browns. I would expect this team to come out firing in an attempt to right the ship.
- Tee Higgins in Week 1: 150 air yards, eight targets, zero catches.
- Baltimore’s defense uses inflated rates of zone coverages under coordinator Mike Macdonald, which doesn’t necessarily narrow down the expected path for Bengals targets to flow.
How Baltimore Will Try To Win ::
We thought we had a good idea of how the Ravens were going to try and win games this season – spoiler alert, their Week 1 game went nothing like we thought we were going to see. To be fair, tight end Mark Andrews missed that contest with a quad injury, meaning we could see this offense morph once again in Week 2. Andrews got in a limited practice on Wednesday while the team was without center Tyler Linderbaum and left tackle Ronnie Stanley, each of whom did not practice. The respective statuses of the offensive linemen are worth monitoring throughout the remainder of the week as Sunday approaches as their absences would be yet another nudge in the direction of increased pass game utilization. Summing up the state of this team right now – we have a new (and expected to be aggressive) offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, two missing offensive linemen (as of now), an alpha tight end expected to return, and a backfield that currently consists of journeyman mediocrity in Justice Hill, Gus Edwards, and potentially Melvin Gordon. I say all that to somewhat lead the horse to water, but this offense still ran 21-personnel an insane 44 percent of the time in Week 1 (albeit in a positive game script and without their alpha pass-catcher). More on this below.
We spoke to the continued usage of fullback Patrick Ricard above, which we shouldn’t be overly shocked to see but at the same time were quietly hoping got nerfed under new tutelage. Where the team goes with their offensive alignments without their top rusher, and while getting their top pass-catcher back, remains to be seen but we saw an offense built around 21- and 11-personnel in Week 1. I would loosely expect that trend to continue. The backfield is now in the questionably capable hands of Justice Hill, Gus Edwards, and potentially Melvin Gordon after the injury to JK Dobbins. We know who these backs are at this point in their respective careers. I would expect Edwards to be the primary short-yardage and early-down back, Hill to be the change of pace and passing down entity, and Gordon to mix in to some extent as a secondary change-of-pace option. The Bengals are fresh off an opening weekend dismantling at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, a game where multiple players set career lows in counting stats. They did cede 5.2 yards per carry to Cleveland backs, but this is Nick Chubb behind one of the top offensive lines in the league we’re talking about.
The snap rates amongst Baltimore pass-catchers in Week 1 were not exactly as we expected entering the season. Veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr led the way with a massive 92 percent snap rate share, followed by rookie first-rounder Zay Flowers at 84 percent, tight end Isaiah Likely at 72 percent, and a shared downfield role between former first-rounder Rashod Bateman and journeyman deep wide receiver Nelson Agholor (39 percent and 38 percent, respectively). The modest 11-personnel rates were influenced by the continued usage of Ricard, as was discussed above. That 21-personnel usage is interesting to dissect as it could equate to a relatively consistent slot snap rate from tight end Mark Andrews, assuming Ricard now becomes more of an additional blocker out of the backfield – or the team could shift to heavier rates of 11-personnel in a more formidable matchup, I dunno. But that’s exactly what this side of the game brings, a massively wide range of potential outcomes as far as how we expect them to approach this spot. One last word on the Ravens – Zay Flowers is the absolute truth and gives off some serious alpha vibes.