Lamar Jackson is not happy. The reigning NFL MVP hasn’t been nearly as productive this season, in part, he says, because opposing defenses are calling out the Ravens’ plays pre-snap.
“[Defenses are] calling out [plays] and they’re trying to anticipate what’s going on,” former NFL wide receiver and current Ravens analyst Qadry Ismail told JR SportBrief. “When the defense [has] figured out just enough [and] they continue to break down what you’re about to do – and as you sit there scratching your head wondering is your sideline bugged or something – that’s when you have an issue. I think that’s what Lamar is talking about.”
In 2019, the Ravens led the league with 33.2 points per game. They were also second in total yards per game (407.5) and third in yards per play (6.1). This year, however, they rank 15th in scoring offense (24.8 points per game), 23rd in total yards (347) and 22nd in yards per play (5.5).
“I think he is feeling a little bit frustrated that they are not as explosive as they were last year,” Ismail said. “They don’t have the pieces that they did last year, guys like [future] Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda. Obviously Ronnie Stanley goes down with a season-ending injury on his leg, so there’s a lot there that makes him feel frustrated.”
Despite their offensive struggles, the Ravens (6-2) are firmly in the playoff mix. Both of their losses, however, came against the top two teams in the AFC: the Steelers (8-0) and Chiefs (8-1).
Those are teams the Ravens would likely have to beat to reach the Super Bowl.
“I think at some point in time, the creativity, if it’s not there, this is the NFL and defenses get paid, too,” Ismail said. “They’re going to put themselves in a world of hurt if they cannot adjust and adapt to what the defense is doing to adjust and adapt to what they’re about to run.”