The Carolina Panthers are taking on the Baltimore Ravens, a professional football franchise from Maryland. The Panthers are looking to build their first winning streak of this young 2022 season while the Ravens will be looking to escape an otherwise unremarkable game with as few injuries as possible.
This week I spoke with Kyle Barber from Baltimore Beatdown to get the inside scoop on who is currently coaching the Ravens that might be of interest to the Panthers this offseason and whether or not Lamar Jackson is available for the Carolina Panthers to just go ahead and take right now. Since Jackson would be a clear upgrade over the Panthers current options at quarterback, I figured I would go ahead and ask. Even if Kyle has no power to send Jackson to the Carolinas and I have no power to receive him for the Panthers or compensate the Ravens, it still seemed a prudent question to ask. His answer to that particular question was given all the respect and consideration it deserved.
As for the actual football, take a look below to see how the Ravens might challenge Ickey Ekwonu this week. That may well be the only competitive thing we see on the field all game.
John Harbaugh doesn’t have the most storied coaching tree in the NFL, but he himself is technically only a branch of Andy Reid’s own robust legacy. Does he have any current assistants who are or should be receiving head coaching buzz this year or next that Carolina Panthers fans should be paying attention to?
I think there are multiple coaches who are deserving of head coaching opportunities on the Ravens staff, with the first being Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Line coach Anthony Weaver. He’s a highly-respected figure for the organization and across the league. Last season, he interviewed for the Ravens and Vikings defensive coordinator positions, and was requested to be interviewed by the Denver Broncos for the same position, too.
Another option would be Pass Game Coordinator and Secondary coach Chris Hewitt, who was considered the “heir-apparent” if then-Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale were to become a head coach elsewhere. Like with Weaver, he remained on staff after the Ravens hired Macdonald for the defensive coordinator position. Just feels like Hewitt is primed for an opportunity.
Other names I’d include:
* James Urban, Ravens quarterbacks coach
* Jesse Minter, current Michigan Wolverines DC who left the Ravens in 2021 to become the Vanderbilt DC
* Drew Wilkins, current outside linebackers coach for the New York Giants who followed Martindale after 2021
* Bobby Engram, Current Wisconsin offensive coordinator/ QB coach
Ravens fans are justifiably afraid of facing Baker Mayfield at quarterback this weekend after such times as that once when he barely beat Ravens backup quarterback Tyler Huntley in a game or those other two times he hung 40 points on y’all. What about the current Ravens defense gives you confidence that this will not be another 40 point spectacle from Baker?
Along with not having quarterback Lamar Jackson in that game for upwards of three quarters, the Ravens were down to their backups at cornerback and were shredded with injuries. Both Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters were absent that game. Entering this week, it’s assumed both cornerbacks will be playing on Sunday and the pass rush for the Ravens has been roaring, led by veteran Justin Houston who has tallied 6.5 sacks in the past three games.
It’s hard to expect Mayfield to drop a 40-bomb on the Ravens when prior to his injury/benching, he boasted a 15.3 total quarterback rating in his five games starting in 2022.
All jokes aside, the Panthers are not a consistently good team and have stayed comfortably at the bottom of an also floundering NFC South. The Ravens, meanwhile, have juggled a number of injuries on their way to a lead in the AFC North. A lot of that can be attributed to stability and talent at the quarterback and head coach positions that are present with the Ravens to a greater degree than they are with the Panthers. Can Carolina have Lamar Jackson?
Just gonna ignore the question and talk more about how the Ravens got here.
Early on, it was Jackson ‘putting on the cape’ and doing a lot in both the passing and running game. The Ravens couldn’t get a ground game going in the early parts of the season. Some was due to the shuffling at offensive line where they were at one point down to their fourth-string left tackle, rookie Daniel Faalele who had never played a snap of left tackle. But, with the healthy return of Ronnie Stanley and improvements in play from the offensive linemen and regaining some healthy running backs, the rushing attack has excelled.
The defense has only improved this season. They struggled early, with three highly notable fourth quarter meltdowns. But now with healthy stars returning in Peters, Tyus Bowser, Justin Houston and adding both Jason Pierre-Paul and Roquan Smith, the defense is generating pressure and takeaways at a high rate.
The Panthers sole bright spot this season, setting aside the occasional rash of penalties, has been the development of their offensive line. That development has been headlined by the rookie season of first round pick Ickey Ekwonu at left tackle. How do the Ravens like to bring pressure and who primarily works against a left tackle to bring pressure?
The Ravens are using various ways of generating pressure. Macdonald has frequently created simulated pressure by sending four or five guys, but not the traditional front four, sending inside linebacker Patrick Queen, safety Kyle Hamilton or a cornerback to scream in off the edge(s). However, he’s shown comfort in sending six to swarm and get a free runner, too.
On the left side look for sophomore linebacker Odafe Oweh to compete against Ekwonu. He’s been generating a lot of pressure but the sacks haven’t come, yet. It definitely feels like he’s just a half-step from boasting five-plus sacks, but he’s currently at one.
The Ravens are almost under dogs in this game, with DraftKings Sportsbook holding them at -12.5 point home favorites at time of writing. The Panthers have averaged 10.5 point losses across seven losses this season. That accounts for every game they have played outside of the NFC South. Why do you think the oddsmakers are looking at the Ravens as a barely above average NFL team?
I think -12.5 is concerning just due to being such overwhelming favorites. It’s a strange sight to see a team so highly favored, especially after watching the Eagles lose to the Commanders on Monday after being 10.5-point favorites. But, I’m fine with the line and we’ll see if the Ravens can show they’re ready to seize the AFC North and pursue the No. 1 seed in the AFC.