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Ravens report card: Grading the offense vs. the 49ers

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Ravens report card: Grading the offense vs. the 49ers

It’s time to hand out another gloomy report card after the Ravens’ latest setback, a 25-20 loss to the 49ers that sends the Ravens to a 1-5 mark, the worst in franchise history after six games. There just isn’t enough red ink for all of this …

QUARTERBACK: C-

Joe Flacco has put up some fat numbers at times this season, and that includes Sunday’s game, when he completed 33 of 53 passes for 353 yards and two touchdowns. But he also threw two terrible interceptions, forcing a ball into double-coverage intended for Kamar Aiken and sending a high, deep floater that was 10 yards beyond any Ravens receiver and an absolute gift for 49ers cornerback Kenneth Acker. After the game, Flacco said he never expected a defensive back to be there and accurately called it “a really, really dumb throw.” His vision on several his picks this year has been highly suspect. A few key drops are not on him.

RUNNING BACKS: C

Justin Forsett battled through his ankle injury to total 62 yards on 17 carries (3.6 avg.), and tied for the team lead with seven receptions (39 yards). But the Ravens continue to struggle in short yardage; Forsett lost a yard on second-and-goal from the 3, and later in the game lost a yard on third-and-goal from the 1. Buck Allen had four rushes for 13 yards and couldn’t hold on to a tough but catchable pass in the end zone.

OFFENSIVE LINE: C

Flacco wasn’t sacked at all and was hit just once according to the official statistics. But the Ravens again struggled to get any kind of push in short-yardage situations; they are now 5-for-10 on third-and-1 rushes this season.  And the offensive line gets a red mark for a glaring lack of urgency in the Ravens final two-minute drill. They had no timeouts left and should have been in frantic hurry-up mode, and yet several linemen casually strolled to the line of scrimmage after a completion in the middle of the field.

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TIGHT ENDS: B-

Crockett Gillmore returned to action with a leaping grab that included a crunching hit in the red zone. He finished with three catches for 30 yards, but the Ravens still need more from him. With the Ravens in catch-up/passing mode, Maxx Williams saw more action that Nick Boyle, and Williams finished with four catches for 24 yards.

WIDE RECEIVER: C

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Steve Smith Sr. was sensational, the other receivers not so much. Actually, Smith had his issues as well, dropping one sure touchdown and failing to corral another touch but catchable pass that would have been another touchdown. Still, hard to fault a guy who returned one week after sustaining microfractures in his back and produced seven catches for 137 yards and a touchdown. As for the other receivers, Jeremy Ross (3-34) and Kamar Aiken (3-22) led the way, but no receivers other than Smith caught a pass in the first half. The Ravens still can’t figure out what to do with Marlon Brown, but sending him in a fly route into double coverage is not the answer.

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The Future is Bright: How the Ravens' 2018 draft class performed

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The Future is Bright: How the Ravens' 2018 draft class performed

Just like that, they're all grown up.

Ozzie Newsome put a bow on top of his 22-year career as general manager of the Ravens when he drafted 11 rookies in the 2018 NFL Draft.

He found the franchise a new quarterback, a couple tight ends and help along the offensive line.

Now that their rookie seasons are over, let's look at how the 2018 draft class performed.

Hayden Hurst

The 25th overall pick missed the first four games of the season after getting surgery on his broken foot during the preseason, and in 12 games never hit his full potential.

Hurst finished the 2018 season with 13 receptions for 163 yards, averaging 12.54 yards per reception and one touchdown. With Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams both free agents, Hurst's 2019 could be huge.

"I really don’t think I was at my best," Hurst said on if fans have seen his potential . "The surgery set me back a good ways. But like I said, the offseason will be huge for me. I’ll be able to get healthy, get stronger and come back ready next year.”

Lamar Jackson

We all know how the 32nd overall pick's season went.

Completing 99 of 170 passes for 1,201 yards and six touchdowns in 2018 on top of 695 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns, Jackson will enter the 2019 season as the Ravens' quarterback of the future. En route to leading the team to their first postseason appearance in three seasons, the QB finished the 2018 season with a 84,5 QB rating.

The Ravens have begun shaping their offense around Jackson's run-heavy style of play, while they'll look to improve his ball security and accuracy.

Orlando Brown Jr.

Brown Jr.  ended up becoming a vital piece of the Ravens' O-line. 

Appearing in all 16 regular season games and starting 10 for an injured James Hurst, the third-round pick didn't allow a single sack in those starts and helped the offense rank second in the league in rushing at 152.6 yards per game. 

 “It’s really been hard-fought," Brown Jr. said on his rookie season performance. "I played against a lot of great players. I think I played well for a rookie, not for a sophomore. I want to be one of the greats in this league. It’s going to take a lot of work to get where I want to be – obviously, that’s All-Pro and being as consistent as I can be for as long as I can be.”

Mark Andrews

Andrews ended up being the tight end to make the biggest impact for the Ravens this season.

Finishing 2018 with 34 receptions for 552 yards, averaging 16.24 yards per carry and three touchdowns, Andrews' 68-yard touchdown Week 16 against the Chargers was the teams longest offensive score of the season. The rookie out of Oklahoma also finished the season ranked as Pro Football Focus' 13th overall tight end in the league.

Anthony Averett

The cornerback out of Alabama served as a backup in 11 games this season, finishing with five tackles.

If the Ravens decide to move on from veterans Jimmy Smith or Brandon Carr in the offseason, Averett could find a more prominent role in 2019.

Kenny Young

The rookie made his presence known early in the season after filling in for an injured C.J. Mosley during the Ravens' Weeks 2 and 3 matchups. 

Young played in all 16 games in 2018, finishing the season with 40 tackles, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble. If the Ravens part ways with Mosley, their future still looks bright with Young on the come up. 

Jaleel Scott

The fourth-round pick was placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the season after suffering a hamstring injury.

Jordan Lasley

The fifth-round pick was a gameday inactive since Week 1.

DeShon Elliott

The sixth-round pick was placed on injured reserve at the start of the season with a fractured forearm suffered in the Ravens' preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. 

Greg Senat

The sixth-round pick was also placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the season with a foot injury.

Bradley Bozeman

Bozeman proved his value as a backup offensive lineman appearing in 14 games for the Ravens, including their Wild Card playoff loss.

Zach Sieler

Newsome's final draft pick appeared in two games for the Ravens this season. Inactive most gamedays, Sieler posted a tackle against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9. 

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Ravens' Lamar Jackson aspiring to become the Tom Brady of Baltimore

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Ravens' Lamar Jackson aspiring to become the Tom Brady of Baltimore

It only took Lamar Jackson seven weeks to get the city of Baltimore behind him. 

Since becoming the Ravens' starter in Week 11, Jackson pulled his team out of a three-game losing streak, going 6-1 down the stretch, and earned the franchise their first playoff appearance in three season.

That's quite impressive for a rookie, but the 22-year-old wants his time in Baltimore to resemble arguably the greatest to ever do it. 

"Ain't no ceiling," Jackson said on his limitations in an interview with Ray Lewis for Showtime's 'Inside the NFL.' "I already said it, when I got drafted, I want to bring a Super Bowl to Baltimore, so I'm going to try to bring as much as I can. I want to bring a Super Bowl here. I want to be the Brady. Bring multiple if I could."

Through 19 seasons, Tom Brady has brought five Lombardi Trophy's to the city of Boston and is currently in the race for a sixth. It's a feat that may never be repeated, but Jackson sure wants to try.

The young quarterback's speed is something that separates him from the 41-year-old veteran. In just seven games, Jackson rushed for more yards (695) than every other quarterback in 2018, and his 119 rushing yards against the Cincinnati Bengals was the most ever by a QB in their starting debut. 

“Probably when, like, I'm playing football with my older cousins,” Jackson told Lewis on when he realized he was the fastest kid on the block. “I used to play with all the older guys. I never played with, really, my age group when I was younger. ... There would be a new kid come on the block, and they'd be like, 'Oh, this kid, he's good,' this and that. So I get jealous, because I'm like, 'Man, I'm the best kid over here,' so I'm going to outperform him.”

His speed is such a threat that the Ravens have already begun shaping their future around it, while accuracy and ball security remain a work in progress. Jackson finished his rookie campaign completing 99 of 170 passes for 1,201 yards and six touchdowns. 

While reaching Brady-type success will be an uphill battle, the good news is he's got 18 or more seasons to hit his goal. Jackson will get his first taste of Brady in 2019 when the Ravens host the Patriots. 

You can watch Jackson and Lewis' full interview Tuesday at 9 p.m..

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