Opinion: TE Mark Andrews is still the best player on Baltimore’s offense
Baltimore, MD — Ah yes, the Baltimore Ravens are 2-0 and off to one of the best starts in the NFL. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is being praised as the best QB in the league to start the season. Running back Mark Ingram’s new impression on the team has fans in all smiles. Rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown is said to be the answer to the Ravens’ recent wideout struggles. The two dominating wins has the city of Baltimore chanting “Super Bowl”.
The reality is, Baltimore has played the worst two teams in the NFL. That is changing.
Never fear, Mark Andrews is here
However, there is one murmur about the success of the Ravens offense that isn’t changing. Tight end Mark Andrews is the golden gleam that has shown the most success and is Baltimore’s best bet to have consistency throughout the season no matter the opponent.
Andrews has caught eight passes in each of the first two games and topped the century mark both times. He also has one touchdown in each game. Last season, the most Andrews was targeted in a single game came with six against a loss against Pittsburgh at home, and he hauled in just three of those balls. Additionally, the highest yardage totals he had in a single game was 83 in week 15 against the Los Angeles Chargers, but he had just two catches. Andrews was unreliable when it came to catches and yards, but in his sophomore season, it has been AND will be the complete opposite.
Without Brown’s two long TD grabs against Miami, he finished his first NFL game with two catches for 17 yards. No one would be talking about him without those. Many fail to realize that came against a Dolphins defense who had 24-percent of their 53-man roster sign a contract the week before. There are sound bites of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick introducing himself to Dolphins players in the huddle in their Friday practice leading up to the game. Not to mention, that defense had to be on the field a lot longer than a majority of other defenses due to the lack of QB and offensive weapons the team has. If I was Brown, I’d be wide open too.
To go along with that, of course Ingram had wide open running lanes. The middle. The left. The right. The sweep. The dump and pass. Take your pick. Ingram has been consistent in carries the first two weeks, with 14 and 13 respectively, but Arizona is one of the worst teams in the NFL and its defense is also poor. While better than Miami’s, they stifled Ingram and held him to just 47 yards. Granted, Jackson ran for more than 100 yards and was the lead rusher, but some of that comes based on Baltimore’s offense utilizing Jackson in different ways now that his arm exists. He finally has given them that option.
Baltimore didn’t do so well against Arizona
While the up-and-downs are happening around him, Andrews is staying consistent. The Cardinals made the game a lot closer than many predicted on Sunday. One cannot deny either of these two facts. Where were the highlight reel long TD passes or the highlight reel long RB runs? Arizona’s defense is better than Miami’s, but it’s still ranked 31st out of 32 teams. Where is the Dolphins’? 32nd.
Yet Baltimore only beat Arizona by six? With how good everyone claims the Ravens are on both sides of the football? Yikes.
The answer to the equation? Andrews.
But who was there as Jackson’s most reliable receiver in the first two weeks? Andrews. Who played some snaps as a blocking TE to aid in the rushing lanes for Jackson, Ingram and the other backs? Andrews. Who made the best in-game adjustments to move the chains, keep drives alive and score TDs? Andrews.
Baltimore takes on Kansas City on the road next week and its overall defense sits only at 19th in the NFL so far. However, the Chiefs have such a powerful offense that they don’t win by relying on their defense. But, while Kansas City allows plenty of yards to opposing teams, they don’t come on the ground.
You know who doesn’t get their yards on the ground? Andrews.
Kayla Morton is a Sports Contributor for MSB Ravens