Kyle Barber Ravens Miss 'A' Grades in End of Season Report Card
In an effort to critique the Ravens' 2022-2023 season, The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec offered a final report card, covering each position, special teams, coaching and the front office. The grades were a reminder of the lofty expectations at the season's beginning.
Beginning with the quarterbacks, Zrebiec gave credit for the MVP-worthy start by Lamar Jackson, but after the offense cooled and Jackson was ultimately sidelined, the quarterbacks finished with a "C" grade.
"Both of these things can be true: The Ravens needed Jackson to be a little more consistent when he was healthy and Baltimore also put far too much burden on Jackson to be Superman in order to win," Zrebiec wrote. "All in all, it was a challenging year for the Ravens quarterback and the offense he leads. The knee injury was unfortunate, but there was mounting evidence of offensive regression before he went down."
The highest grade of the season was earned by the offensive line, a "B+."
"It wasn't perfect by any means. Short-yardage situations were problematic. There were a few games when Baltimore's quarterbacks were under too much pressure," Zrebiec wrote. "However, the Ravens' offensive line played well for much of the season and may have been the team's most consistent position group. It certainly was the most improved. The starters stayed mostly healthy, and when there was a need, reserve Patrick Mekari stepped in and did a commendable job."
The lowest grade went to the wide receiver unit, with the lone "D" of the report card. Zrebiec wrote "pretty much everything" needed improvement, and noted the impact of Rashod Bateman's season-ending injury.
"It's fair to ask what the Ravens really expected from a group of receivers populated by young players who hadn't proven themselves and older guys who didn't look like they had much left," Zrebiec wrote. "Still, it's reasonable to think that an NFL receiver should be able to get open, catch the routine ones and not fumble the ball. That didn't always happen. Bateman's injury crushed Baltimore."
Ravens Stick with Kyle Hamilton and Tyler Linderbaum in 2022 NFL Re-Draft
After an exciting rookie class brought forth new talent in the NFL, Bleacher Report's David Kenyon conducted a first round re-draft of the 2022 class. But at No. 14 and No. 25, familiar faces landed once again in Baltimore.
No. 14 - Kyle Hamilton
"Baltimore has an obvious and compelling need to consider a receiver, such as Jahan Dotson or Treylon Burks," Kenyon wrote. "However, the Ravens added a gem in Kyle Hamilton. He steadily earned a larger role this year, totaled 62 tackles and allowed just 5.7 yards per target."
No. 25 - Tyler Linderbaum
"Perhaps the most frustrating part of this exercise is not adding a receiver for Lamar Jackson," Kenyon wrote. "The problem is Baltimore nailed the evaluation of both Hamilton and Tyler Linderbaum, a couple of All-Rookie selections. As he'd done in college, Linderbaum thrived as a run-blocker. On a run-first Ravens offense, he still makes a ton of sense."
If the problem is being perfect in evaluating rookies that become All-Rookie selections, the Ravens will welcome a few more "problems" in 2023.
Roster Changes Abundant, But Keeping Offensive Line Largely Intact Is a Benefit
The Ravens face a critical offseason with the hiring of a new offensive coordinator, a contract negotiation with Jackson and the annual roster changes. But one thing that will remain mostly intact is the offensive line. This, according to Baltimore Positive's Luke Jones, shouldn't be overlooked.
"...the Ravens still have much going for them on the offensive side of the ball, which will help whoever is playing quarterback, calling plays, running the ball, and catching passes for Baltimore in 2023," Jones wrote.
If the Ravens were to see a change, the lone expectation would be at left guard, where Ben Powers is set to become a free agent. But if Powers finds a new team in 2023, Jones thinks the Ravens have options already on the roster in Ben Cleveland, Trystan Colon and Mekari.
The continuity is key for the Ravens, according to Jones. Building the offensive line was such an emphasis only two seasons ago, and it has quickly become a strength.
"Most importantly, an offensive line that was a source of frustration over the previous two seasons finished 2022 as one of the roster's greatest strengths and one of the NFL's top groups, according to multiple outlets," Jones wrote. "Pro Football Focus ranked the Ravens as its second-best offensive line by year's end - they were 21st in 2021 - while ESPN ranked Baltimore sixth in team pass block win rate and first in team run block win rate for the 2022 season."