Two years ago, the 14-2 Baltimore Ravens posted the best record in the National Football League, largely because quarterback Lamar Jackson exploded into superstardom. In just his second professional season, he not only broke the NFL record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback with 1,206 but also led the league in touchdown passes with 36 while throwing for 3,127 yards with a 113.3 passer rating.
The 11-5 Ravens made the playoffs again last year, but both Jackson and the team took a step backward throwing the ball, fielding the worst passing offense in the NFL. Remedying that glaring weakness was Baltimore's biggest priority in the offseason, and while the team did a good job of adding some passing-game weapons and addressing personnel losses on the offensive line, there's a flip side to those additions.
They increase the pressure on Jackson to get Baltimore's passing game on track.
The Ravens' aerial deficiencies were laid bare for all to see in Baltimore's lopsided loss to Buffalo in the divisional round. Facing a middle-of-the-pack Bills pass defense, Jackson couldn't get anything going through the air with 14 completions in 24 attempts for 162 yards and an ill-advised pick-six.
The Ravens managed just three points.
At Baltimore's postseason press conference in January, head coach John Harbaugh stuck up for his quarterback while allowing that there was work to be done.