John Harbaugh’s team slumped down the stretch in 2021. And the Baltimore Ravens’ playoff streak ended at three straight years. What changes are ahead?
After a three-year absence from the playoffs, the Baltimore Ravens returned to the postseason in 2018 thanks in large part to the play of their rookie signal-caller. A year later, the Ravens owned the best record in the NFL with a 14-2 mark. And explosive quarterback Lamar Jackson was the league MVP.
But as was the case the previous year, there was playoff failure in Baltimore. The top seed in the AFC playoffs was pummeled by the Titans and Derrick Henry. A year ago, Baltimore earned a playoff spot for the third straight year. While they avenged their postseason loss to Tennessee, they were knocked out a week late at blustery Buffalo.
In 2021, the Ravens were cruising with an 8-3 record. But a combination of injuries, inconsistency and game management resulted in a season-ending six-game losing streak and a last-place finish in the AFC North.
So where does the team go from here? And what notable veterans could be elsewhere sooner than later?
3. CB Tavon Young
The secondary was a four-letter word in Baltimore in 2021. Before the season began, star cornerback Marcus Peters was lost due to injury. During the season, standout cornerback Marlon Humphrey went down.
Traditionally, the Ravens are one of the better defensive teams in the league. In 2020, Don Martindale’s unit allowed only 22 scores through the air. They were tied with the Rams in allowing the fewest 40-yard pass plays (4) in the league in 16 games that season. And Martindale was fired at season’s end.
This year, with one additional contest, there was quite a falloff. Baltimore allowed 31 touchdown passes and the most 40-yard pass plays in the NFL (16).
Talk about a comeback. Cornerback Tavon Young was a fourth-round pick in 2016. And despite playing in all 17 games this past season – finishing with 34 tackles, two sacks and one interception – he’s had a history of injuries.
He missed all of 2017 and ’19 and played in just two contests in 2020. Does he actually figure into the team’s 2022 plans? And who knows what the Ravens’ secondary will look like going forward?