The Baltimore Ravens have become one of the most well-run franchises over the years. That stems from a hard-nosed, no-nonsense approach, as well as the ability to keep team issues in-house. In essence, the Ravens have always been buttoned up to avoid things leaking out and becoming a media circus.
This offseason has been anything but that with franchise quarterback and player Lamar Jackson still not under contract for next season and offensive coordinator Greg Roman stepping down at season’s end in a move many believe was forced by head coach John Harbaugh.
With the daily news or lack thereof about where the team and Jackson stand on a new deal, it’s also opened up some other conversations, particularly surrounding the Ravens’ inability to hit on an elite wide receiver in past drafts. GM Eric DeCosta basically threw his entire receiving core, executive office, including himself, under the bus on Wednesday, proclaiming that the team’s inability to hit on better receivers via the draft or via free agency has stunted the offense.
Rashod Bateman Offended By GM Eric DeCosta’s Comments
DeCosta’s comments drew the ire of the team’s 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman, who took to Twitter to express his feelings on the matter.
“How bout you play to your player’s strength & stop pointing the finger at us #8,” Bateman wrote, while also referencing Lamar Jackson. “Blame the one you let do this… we take heat 24/7. & keep us healthy … care about US & see what happen … ain’t no promises tho … tired of y’all lyin and cappin on players for no reason.”
Bateman’s comments aren’t off base at all. The blame for any glitches in the passing game has fell on Jackson and the receivers. And while they share part of the blame, there are definitely other factors. He did apologize, but after he’d spoken his piece.
GM And Scouting Department Have Missed Continuously
In the past four drafts, the team took six wideouts, beginning with Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin in 2019. Brown is no longer with the team. He too was very critical of the offense, at one point publicly calling for more “one-on-one matchups” and he only posted one 1000-yard season before he was traded to the Cardinals. Boykin was thought to be a great fit in the offense that likes to use big-body receivers, but he never developed and joined the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent prior to the 2022 season.
Devin Duvernay and James Proche, two smaller receivers, were drafted in 2020, and their size didn’t help much in an offense predicated on physicality. In 2021, the aforementioned Bateman and Tylan Wallace were drafted, and while Bateman has looked the part when healthy, he’s been hurt often.
Wallace hasn’t had many opportunities, but even when his number’s been called, he hasn’t produced much.
Offensive Scheme Makes Top Free Agents Not Sign There
The power run-based attack ran by former OC Roman required bigger receivers, which only Boykin seemed to fit. If not for Lamar being superhuman, the Ravens would consistently finish last in the league in explosive plays.
As a result of that type of offense, no top free agent wideouts want to come to Baltimore, and, as many former Ravens have said, the team felt they could win with their throwback style. While successful, they’ve never made it beyond the divisional round in Jackson’s tenure.
Team Has Ignored High-End Receivers In The Past
Until 2019, the Ravens pretty much overlooked top receivers in the draft, instead of opting for guys in later rounds. And that method didn’t bear much fruit either. So, Bateman’s comments weren’t off base, but he could’ve handled it in a much better way. Calling out your boss over social media isn’t exactly the smartest way to go about things. At the same time, Bateman’s sentiments have been expressed by more than one current or former receiver as the Lamar Jackson contract negotiations continue to grow arms and legs.