Red Flags: AFC North

The biggest remaining issue for the Ravens, Browns, Bengals and Steelers

Originally Published: May 7, 2013
By Rob Weintraub | Football Outsiders
Jacoby JonesHarry How/Getty ImagesWith Anquan Boldin no longer on the team, the Ravens need Jacoby Jones to step up.

Welcome to the 2013 version of Insider's offseason staple series: Red Flags. This is the second of an eight-part examination in which Football Outsiders identifies the biggest remaining issue for every NFL team, division by division, after the NFL draft.

The series continues Tuesday with Outsiders' look at the AFC North.


Baltimore Ravens: Wide receiver

Joe Flacco is a rich man today mainly because a) Anquan Boldin was exceptional in the playoffs, and b) poor safety play by Denver and San Francisco made Jacoby Jones look like a starting wideout. Well, now Boldin is suiting up for the 49ers, and Jones is being counted on to step up. Let's remember that before his postseason heroics, Jones had all of 30 grabs in 2012 for 406 yards, with a middling catch rate of 55 percent. Football Outsiders' DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above average) metric ranked him just ahead of Jeremy Kerley. There was a reason, after all, that Jones was jettisoned by the wideout-desperate Texans last offseason. Regular work at wideout could also diminish his superior kick-returning ability.

The days and nights of Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome (a dramedy that would get good ratings in Baltimore, at least) have been occupied by rebuilding the defense, and his work on that side of the ball this offseason was exemplary.


To read the rest of Football Outsiders' analysis of the biggest remaining issue for AFC North teams, you must be an ESPN Insider.