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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Ravens look to make adjustments vs. blitz

The Baltimore Ravens’ 22-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins was a frustrating experience on multiple levels. The offense struggled their way to only one touchdown. Most of the issues came against Miami’s zero, blitz package. 

The Dolphins sacked Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson four times for a loss of 28 yards. They also had Jackson under constant pressure.

“We were not prepared the way we need to be prepared,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after the game last Thursday night. “Our schemes weren’t up to snuff and we weren’t prepared to execute the way we needed to. 

“That’s something they’ve done all year. We worked on it all week. We didn’t have a good enough plan for it, you know, as a group, and we didn’t execute well with the plan we had.”

Quarterback Lamar Jackson added, “They were in Cover Zero the majority of the whole game. They just got hot each and every time. I was dropping back, just couldn’t do anything about that.”

The cover zero, blitz is designed to rush Jackson into quick decisions that gets him away from designated places he’s supposed to go with the football. Jackson finished with 32.5 QBR and was intercepted once against the Dolphins. 

Jackson sometimes struggled to account for an uncovered blitzing defender, which caused him to get sacked a couple of times. Other times he tried to get the ball to what appeared to be an open receiver but it was tipped at the line of scrimmage by a blitzing defender.

“Cover Zero is like one of those things where you have to make them pay, you know? And, I don’t think early on we did that enough,” tight end Mark Andrews said. “That’s one of the things, you make them pay early on, they kind of get out of there. You know, I think you see towards the end of the game. Again, they played a great game. But we did a lot of things toward the end of the game that I think we needed to capitalize early on.”

The success that Miami had against the Ravens will certainly raise some eyebrows across the league. Rarely do you see an offense directed by Jackson get stifled to the level where they only score 10 points. Rest assured there will be teams looking to copy the Dolphins’ approach. Coach Harbaugh will be ready for it.

“We have great ideas against it,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “Schematically, there is nobody who has better ideas against anything than we do. Certainly, Cover Zero, we have some great answers for it that are going to give people a lot of problems. We just have to welcome the next time they run it. We have to do everything in our power to be prepared for it, in terms of being ready to execute against it, communicate against it and make big plays against it.”

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