NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier Wednesday that Dixon was expected to miss several weeks. Dixon can be designated to return from IR after Week 8.
For all the speculation about whether Joe Mixon would actually be the guy in the Bengals backfield, Week 1 may have put that to rest. Mixon played 44 of 56 snaps and carried the ball 17 times while adding five catches on seven targets. He out-touched Giovani Bernard 22-2. (Bernard also only played 12 snaps). If this is any indication for the season, the Bengals are ready to ride the Mixon train.
Dixon paced the Ravens ground attack against Buffalo with a game-high 44 rushing yards and a score. Baltimores other tailbacks, Javorius Allen and Alex Collins, combined for 30 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
Dixons injury is an unfortunate setback for a promising player with terrible injury luck. The running back has missed 20 of a potential 33 regular-season games due to knee injuries or suspension. He sat out the entirety of the 2017 campaign.
At times on Sunday, Dixon looked like the Ravens most explosive back, offering a tantalizing complement to Baltimores remade receiving corps. Now the Ravens will have to regroup quickly with a clash with the division rival Cincinnati Bengals approaching on Thursday night.
The Ravens have to love how much attention rookie quarterback Lamar Jacksons role in the offense is getting.
Jackson was only on the field for five plays with the first-team offense Sunday against Buffalo, but plenty of pundits have taken notice. More importantly, the Cincinnati Bengals are paying attention leading up to Thursday nights Week 2 matchup.
During a conference call with Baltimores media yesterday, Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis was asked about Jackson, and what he saw against the Bills.
Phillips was in a rotation with the rest of the defensive tackles and really failed to make much of an impact with his limited time on the field. While the game was still competitive in the first few quarters, Baltimore tended to avoid him on run downs and the former Stanford Cardinal only had a few opportunities to rush the passer, which were largely ineffective.
Hes a good athlete and hes a good football player, Lewis said. Theyre going to utilize him a little bit in the offense, and we have to respond.
Lewis isnt the only Bengal focused on Jacksons role, as defensive end Carlos Dunlap spoke about it with NFL Networks Omar Ruiz.
Thanks to the blowout, Foster saw time on offense, playing 25% of the teams offensive snaps. He was targeted twice but failed to come down with a reception.
Carlos Dunlap told me what stands out about this 2018 version of the Ravens offense is that limited Lamar Jackson role, Ruiz said. He told me as limited as it might be, this is the NFL. If they dont stop it, the Ravens are going to continue to go to it.
Ruiz also spoke with Bengals linebacker Preston Brown, who added, That will be a priority – preparation for Lamar Jackson.
After a game in which the starting offense scored 40 points, it must be music to the ears of the Ravens that the Bengals have to, on a short week, prioritize planning for a package that didnt result in any scores or much yardage against the Bills.
This was, of course, one of the bonuses of involving Jackson in the first team offense. While the Ravens definitely want those plays to gain major yards, having Jackson on the field means defenses will have to dedicate time to stifling him, compared to previously when they only had to focus on stopping starting quarterback Joe Flacco.
What the Ravens are putting on film with Jackson now can set up things later as teams try and get a read on how the team will use the fast and athletic rookie quarterback, The Athletics Jeff Zrebiec wrote.
WNSTs Luke Jones was less complimentary of the plays involving Jackson with the first-team offense.
None had a negative impact, but the Ravens didnt get much of a return on the five offensive snaps Lamar Jackson played before relieving Joe Flacco in the second half, Jones wrote. Its something for which opponents must prepare, but you sometimes worry about upsetting the overall rhythm of the offense.
NFL Networks James Palmer thinks the Ravens could give Jackson more touches against Cincinnati if running back Kenneth Dixon is unavailable. Dixon is dealing with a knee injury, and hasnt practiced this week.
Evans serves a crucial role as the Bengals primary coverage linebacker, especially while Vontaze Burfict serves his latest suspension. Evans played well in the December meeting between these divisional rivals, but had an inconsistent season overall. He can be exposed in coverage against tight ends and tailbacks.
The Ravens could bring up running backs Gus Edwards or DeLance Turner from the practice squad to replace Dixon Thursday night, but they would have to cut a player from the 53-man roster, which they may not want to do. With Jackson in the fold, Palmer thinks it could be possible for the Ravens to just have running backs Alex Collins and Javorius Allen on the active roster to play against Cincinnati.
Allen is quietly emerging as a reliable chain-mover out of the backfield. Buck appears quicker and more elusive this season and may eventually lead the team in receptions. Assuming the Bengals pass rush comes to play, Baltimore will need Allen in the short passing game to help the offense stay on schedule.
Not to say Jackson is going to be a running back on this team by any means, but its an added element that the Bengals are going to have to prepare for on a short week, Palmer said. What they wanted to show with him is that its not just a threat – it is a realistic goal for them to make Jackson a part of this offense, and carry the ball.
There's not enough time really to get a RB in the building and get him ready for a Thursday game so you'd have to think the Ravens will either go w/2 RBs Thursday or call up Gus Edwards or De'Lance Turner from the practice squad. Going w/just 2 RBs seems more unlikely scenario.
PennLives Aaron Kasinitz thinks its possible the Ravens will actually give Jackson less touches on Thursday than he got on Sunday because Flacco did so well in the opener, which left the offense with little need for gadget plays.
Will the Ravens keep mixing in calls for Jackson or might they move away from that strategy and stick with what worked Sunday? Kasinitz asked. Perhaps some clues to their long-term plan will materialize Thursday.
In the wake of Baltimores 47-3 victory over the Bills on Sunday, Pro Football Focus gave Flacco an 86.8 rating, which was the third-best amongst quarterbacks for Week 1. PFFs Gordon McGuinness took a closer look at why Flacco was able to go 25-for-34 for 236 yards and three touchdowns, which tabulates to a 121.7 quarterback rating.
The Ravens will see tougher tests in 2018, starting with a trip to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals on Thursday Night Football this week, McGuinness wrote. But this was the start they were hoping for and more.
McGuinness believes a couple factors led to Flaccos big game, the first of which was his success throwing the ball downfield. He had the lowest yards per passing attempt (5.7) last season in the NFL, as Flacco regularly relied on check-downs, especially early in the season when he was still recovering from a back injury.
On Sunday, Flacco was anything but conservative in the passes he was attempting. He finished 10-for-10 on passes of more than 10 yards, which included going 2-for-2 on passes of more than 20 yards. His numbers are even more impressive when considering the awful rain and wind conditions he had to contend with.
On those throws of 10-plus yards or longer, he produced a PFF passing grade of 91.2, which ranked fifth among quarterbacks this week, McGuinness wrote.
McGuinness was also quick to credit those around Flacco for his success, particularly the offensive line. Much was made of how effective the unit would be in 2018 after there was plenty of debate as to which personnel would occupy certain positions along the line, but the group dazzled against the Bills, giving Flacco a clean pocket to work in on 29 of his 35 dropbacks.
As Russell Street Reports Tony Lombardi pointed out, when Flacco did get pressure from the outside, there was room to climb the pocket in large part because [Alex] Lewis, [Matt] Skura and [Marshal] Yanda were solid at the point of attack.
Dunlap led the way with 79 percent of the snaps, right end Michael Johnson took 56 percent, Carl Lawson had 51 percent at right end, Jordan Willis had 48 percent bouncing between tackle and end and even though Hubbard played just nine percent he played up and down the line.
Though Lombardi was particularly complimentary of Yanda, writing it looks like he hasnt missed a beat, left tackle Ronnie Stanley caught the eye of McGuinness.
Stanley, a player whose development will be key for the Ravens this year, allowed just one total pressure over the course of the game, McGuinness wrote. On those plays, Flacco produced an adjusted completion percentage of 88.9 percent and a PFF passing grade of 88.1.
Adding proven veteran pass catchers in free agency is not a new strategy for Ozzie Newsome. Synergy among the play caller, quarterback and receivers within a refined scheme will hopefully produce better results this time.
Yesterday, LFW profiled where the Ravens stand in various power rankings being put out by the national media. Among the nine different power rankings considered, the Ravens finished between No. 15 and No. 8.
Fox Sports The Herds Colin Cowherd has since listed his Top 10 teams in the NFL, and placed the Ravens much higher than any pundit had previously – at No. 2 in the entire NFL.
Said it before the season started, but my dark horse to win it all is the Baltimore Ravens, Cowherd said. Theyre good on the lines, that was the most points scored in four years in the NFL. Held Buffalo to 153 yards.
As for why hes picking the Ravens, Cowherd was impressed with how the defense handled Buffalos offense, saying it had a Mike Tyson quality about it. But more than anything, Cowherd is buying into the Ravens because he expects a Flacco resurgence.
There is something about Joe Flacco. Joe Flacco when he feels a little heat is a different quarterback – he just is, Cowherd said. Remember that Super Bowl run? He was looking for a contract, and he was outstanding. Joe Flacco is 10-5 in the playoffs. Joe Flacco has gone into Foxborough and beaten Tom Brady.
This is quite a statement coming from Cowherd. He has the Ravens one spot ahead of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, and trailing only the Los Angeles Rams.
1. Rams2. Ravens3. Eagles4. Chiefs5. Patriots@ColinCowherd ranks the Top 10 NFL teams heading into Week 2 pic.twitter.com/10aZgsZv26
Though Jackson and rookie tight end Mark Andrews both stood out against the Bills, no Ravens rookie looked quite as impressive as linebacker and fourth-round pick, Kenny Young, according to Russell Street Reports Kyle Casey.
Young played 44 snaps Sunday, finishing with four tackles, including his first NFL sack. The majority of Youngs work came in the fourth quarter after the final result was already decided, but Casey saw enough to think Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale should find ways to get Young on the field.
Casey was particularly encouraged by how Young played in run defense. On one play, Young displayed the ability to quickly diagnose the ball carrier, shed a blocker, then beat the running back to the outside to make the tackle.
Possessing the instincts, agility and closing speed to shed a block and close off a run lane outside is a trait the Ravens defense desperately needs, and Young brings that to the table, Casey wrote.
Young later made a good play in pass defense, which resulted in his sack. To start, Young did a good job of remaining patient in tight pass coverage, and waiting for the play to develop.
As quarterback Josh Allen begins to leave the pocket, Youngs patience pays off, allowing him to follow the fellow rookie to the outside, Casey wrote. Youngs closing speed yet again impresses, as he beats Allen to the outside and takes him down in the open field for a sack.
Kenny Young shows great closing speed to chase down Josh Allen for a sack. Ravens coaches have raved about his speed to the ball all summer, and why he is competing for a starting job as a rookie
Veteran Patrick Onwuasor got the start next to C.J. Mosley as its a shared role right now, but Young could see more snaps if he continues to do well.
For his first meaningful NFL snaps, Young looked comfortable, instinctive, quick and confident, Casey wrote.
#Ravens were very creative with pre-and post-snap movement. Gave #Bills zone defenders a lot to process. Looked like a totally different offense than the stagnant one we saw last year.
Really hope we get to see a lot of Marlon Humphrey covering A.J. Green. Allowed just six yards in coverage against the Bills, but that would be a great test of his ability early in his second season.
On The Ballhawks 40th birthday, just remember: 2/3s of the Earth is covered by water, the rest is covered by Ed Reed. pic.twitter.com/KTbmJYLBCm