Nicole Chatham (@Browns_Babe) and I start out the episode with the news of the Nick Chubb extension with the Cleveland Browns. Why it's great and the financial implications involved before moving on to discussing the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens, in our view, are the team that will be competing for the AFC Division this year and the foreseeable future. We kicked off the discussion of the Ravens with the news that Justin Houston signed with the team at a great value.
Houston gives their edge rusher position a verifiable name and credibility. Maybe his last season with the Indianapolis Colts was largely built on empty calories, enabling him to amass eight sacks, but he still poses a threat.
With an edge group that otherwise includes Tyus Bowser, Pernell McPhee, Jaylon Ferguson and 2021 first round pick Adofe Oweh, Houston adds an element the team simply did not have.
Calais Campbell was slowed by a calf strain, but he's still impressive. The main concern for the Ravens is Houston, Campbell and Brandon Williams are at least 32, so they are at risk for a severe decline in addition to a wholesale changeover after this year.
Whatever questions the Ravens have on defense, their secondary makes up for most of them. Their corners are second to none thanks to Xavien Howard setting fire to his entire team in Miami. The Ravens also have talented safeties and a ridiculous amount of depth. They can cover forever enabling them to aggressive and blitz a ton to generate pressure.
Offensively, I am a big fan of how the Ravens have improved the interior of the offensive line, which really fits who they to be. Getting Kevin Zeitler and Ben Cleveland plus moving Bradley Boseman back to center is great roster building. Alejandio Villanueva at right tackle is questionable, but they needed a guy.
So much of their offense revolves around Lamar Jackson and the fact he's missing a week and a half due to a positive COVID-19 test is a big deal. It's critical to any team, but particularly for the Ravens because not only does he need to get reps throwing to a number of new receivers, but they do so much with their meshing that he has to be there with the backs too.
I'm still baffled by the decision to sign Sammy Watkins, but Nicole and I both love Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace. I'm a huge fan of Marquise Brown. Their tight ends are critical and adding Josh Oliver through trade, having already gone through the incubation period seems smart.
But everything they want to be on offense depends on how consistent Jackson can be as a passer. If he can become consistent throwing the ball, he's unstoppable. To this point, that has not happened so it still leaves them feeling like they aren't done yet.