Baltimore Ravens: J.K. Dobbins Out for the Season in Blowout Win
BALTIMORE RAVENS: J.K. DOBBINS OUT FOR THE SEASON IN BLOWOUT WIN – Never has a win felt more like a loss. After a largely healthy camp, Baltimore saw four key players go down with injuries in their win over the Texans.
Football’s Not Fair
J.K. Dobbin’s season-ending torn Achilles was heart-wrenching.
In the preview, I mentioned the lack of buzz surrounding a player who had a chance to be special this season. And Dobbins looked the part – his burst appeared to be back, he was breaking tackles and finally looked confident, as seen in his flip into the endzone.
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A season ago he candidly discussed the feelings of doubt he experienced while rehabbing from his ACL surgery.
On the Lounge Podcast, he’d admitted asking himself:
“Am I ever going to be good again?” and “Is this the new me? and “Am I going to be bad?”
Now, with two season-ending injuries in four NFL seasons and a rookie contract that expires after this year, the former second-round pick faces yet another uphill climb, and likely, a future outside of Baltimore.
And while Dobbins has a uniquely tragic situation, he was just one of four Ravens starters who went down on the day. Free safety Marcus Williams injured his pectoral, and will be “out for a while.”
Meanwhile center Tyler Linderbaum and tackle Ronnie Stanley both endured sprains and are “week-to-week.” Geno Stone is a solid replacement for Williams, but it will be hard to survive without those key players on the O-line.
Not So Easy, Is It?
I’m sure Greg Roman was cackling as he watched the Ravens put up seven first-half points.
Everyone was ready to crown Todd Monken the savior of Baltimore, the rescuer of Lamar Jackson, and Time magazine’s Person of the Year. But the Ravens offense came out of the gates like a two-legged pony. It was clear that the passing game was disjointed. Lamar was hesitant to pull the trigger, particularly in the first half.
Outside of the screen game, Jackson almost never liked his first read. He would consistently hit the top of his drop, lower his eyes, try to keep the play alive much longer than it ever should have lasted, before finally releasing the ball at the last possible second. Aside from this being an inefficient way to play, it’s a dangerous style, too.
I don’t worry about Lamar taking hits in the designed run game; it’s the awkwardness of the hits he takes in the passing game that concerns me. Jackson was also careless with the football. He had two ugly fumbles, one of which got recovered by the Texans. In the second half, Jackson appeared more confident in the structure of the offense, getting the ball out on time and leading the Ravens down the field for a pair of touchdowns. He tweeted after the game, calling himself “rusty” — an assessment I second.
Jackson is fortunate that Baltimore’s defense didn’t show the same lethargy.
There’s no reason to overreact to a good performance against a bad team, but the Ravens’ defense delivered. They kept everything in front of them and didn’t allow a touchdown.
After a silent preseason, outside linebacker David Ojabo flashed. In the fourth quarter, he made an outside move, turned the corner, and stripped CJ Stroud of the football. Ojabo’s sack came against Houston’s backup guard, playing out of position to fill in for an injured George Fant, but it’s still great to see. A
side from his fumble, Stroud played a clean game. He recognized the Ravens were playing soft coverage and calmly got the ball out of his hands on time and, for the most part, on target. In some ways, Stroud looked like the savvy vet while Lamar looked like the impatient rookie.
The Ravens played down to their competition. The offense sputtered and failed to push the ball downfield and involve Odell Beckham Jr. for the majority of the game.
That said, Zay Flowers is the clear frontrunner to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He runs crisp routes, has natural hands, and is dynamic with the ball in space.
It’s hard to know what training camp rumors can be trusted, but it’s blatantly obvious that the Zay Flowers hype was well founded. Overall, it wasn’t the game that fans might have hoped for and the Ravens paid a hefty price, but they got the job done. Now this battered football team must turn their attention to Cincinnati.