Mike Preston: Ravens only have one style of winning, and that’s ugly

For most of the season, there has been a desire here for the Ravens to improve, gather momentum and head into the playoffs for an important run.

After watching the Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns, 16-10, Sunday nightThey will obviously make some progress in the final month of the season, but they probably won’t get much better. They may still be able to make a solid lead in the playoffs because the NFL is a mid-tier league.

Will the crows have enough? Probably not, but let’s see.

The Ravens team must win ugly. Injuries caused a lot of problems, but there are also some that the coaching staff didn’t come up with. Therefore, crows will have to fight, crawl, scratch, yell and scream for each victory.

They can only win ugly, which is why they’ve only played one tough game this season, beating the Los Angeles Chargers, 34-6, on October 16.

But few other teams were that impressive. Some got hot and then cooled off, like the Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee Titans and even defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but no team has played at a high level for a long period of time.

At this point in the season, you can pretty much predict which teams will go into the playoffs. The list includes the AFC, New England, Buffalo, Tennessee, Kansas City, Baltimore and Cincinnati. By then, many of them will start playing and playing well.

In the post-season, there will be hot midfielders, great receivers and strong defensive players, especially at the back end. There may be a team of Cleveland’s caliber because there are no good seven teams in either the AFC or the NFC.

The hope was that the crows would get better, but there aren’t many positive signs. Quarterback Lamar Jackson hasn’t played a full game, especially Kamara, in nearly a month. He can play, but the Ravens’ best strategy is to get Jackson to back off, run, make defenders miss, then try to find an open receiver.

He’s been saving his receivers very quickly, even on short trails, and holding the ball for a very long time. The attack deals with the interception of the pass and the Ravens don’t have a quick driver on the field to break the running outside.

In defense, the biggest improvement was with the midfielders. Josh Bynes gives the Ravens a presence in the middle and Patrick Quinn has played well since moving from the middle to the weak side nearly a month ago. Outfield quarterback Tyus Bowser appears to have turned the corner to be more consistent, and the Ravens could get production on the other side with rookie Odafe Oweh splitting time with veteran Justin Houston.

The play in high school is horrific. Against Brown, the Ravens gave up passing plays for 38, 41 and 20 yards, and that doesn’t even count the four passes dropped by Cleveland’s receivers. Even worse, Jackson threw four interceptions and the Ravens still won—he’s the first quarterback to do so since 2013. But it’s a sign of times in the league where players can’t properly deal with the difficulty of running into a running obstruction.

This is the reason for the curiosity of crows. They have Jackson, the most explosive player in the game, and they always have a shot as long as he’s healthy. But the crows are also winning because of the infrastructure they have.

They pull off well, which is why they could lose a defensive end like Calais Campbell and be replaced by Justin Madhubwicki or Broderick Washington. Oweh and Bowser were both draft picks as well as Jackson, end court Mark Andrews and receivers Rashid Bateman and Marquis Brown.

The Ravens lost both their best backs, JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, at training camp to knee injuries, but found serviceable replacements at Devonta Freeman and Latavius ​​Murray. Coach John Harbaugh advocates teamwork and work ethic, which have been the basis of his philosophy since his arrival in 2008.

This is why crows are so interesting. Maybe 20 years ago they might not have been a very good team in the NFL, but these days the league is booming with mediocre teams that can keep their fan bases interested for an entire season.

With ravens, they have little extra that can put them near the top. This is not a safe bet, but it will be interesting to see how far they can go. They win ugly, but more importantly they win an ugly league.

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