The Baltimore Ravens are 3-2 this season with a pair of divisional losses, but that doesn't deter former Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson from thinking Baltimore can be one of the best teams in the league by the end of the season.
"This team is extremely talented," Johnson
on Glenn Clark Radio Oct. 8. "Going down the stretch, it can potentially be a top-five team in the NFL, no doubt."
The Ravens were held without a touchdown against the Browns, who won on a 37-yard field goal in overtime to clinch their first Sunday win since 2015. The loss left Baltimore fans wondering whether its team is closer to the one against Cleveland or the one that won at Pittsburgh on "Sunday Night Football" in Week 4.
For Johnson, though, it isn't much of a question at all. Johnson, a game analyst for 98 Rock, believes the offense's inability to execute Oct. 7 isn't an indication of what's to come.
"Joe [Flacco] is playing better than he's played since 2012, and finally he has a ton of weapons," he said. "I love both offensive and defensive schemes. They're very creative, they run all kinds of packages and motions and different things to give their star players what they need to succeed."
The Ravens are just outside the top 10 in the league in points per game (26.4) and yards per game (399.4). Baltimore has scored at least 20 points in every game this season except for the Cleveland contest. The Ravens averaged 30.8 points per game through the first four weeks.
Aside from execution, Johnson's only gripe about the Baltimore offense against the Browns was the lack of running plays. The Ravens produced a season-high 4.6 yards per carry, but ran just 25 times while Flacco threw 57 passes.
Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree dropped a pass in the end zone with a minute remaining the fourth quarter with the Ravens trailing by three. The 10-year veteran leads the league in drops through six weeks, but Johnson isn't particularly worried about Crabtree turning his woes around.
"I would just build his confidence," Johnson said. "Get him back into the short to immediate passing game, let him make some plays and get his confidence back up because he is a top-tier receiver."
The Ravens' defense has generated just six turnovers during five games this season, but that isn't much of a concern, either, according to Johnson. The former linebacker said takeaways come in bunches and the team has the potential to create a lot this season.
Johnson's biggest worry is the team's two losses -- a Thursday night road game and a second divisional game in consecutive weeks -- were challenging games successful teams need to prove they can win.
"Those are mentally tough, physically tough games that good teams should win," Johnson said. 'They are an extremely good team, but they have to start winning the ugly, tough games. I'm not saying they can't win them. I'm saying of the two, they haven't won yet."
Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox
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