Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun and ESPN’s Field Yates both highlighted instances where multiple defenders were assigned to cover Adams before the snap.
The strategy worked, to an extent. Adams was held to six catches for 44 yards, his lowest yardage total of the 2021 season, leading some to wonder if the Ravens would deploy a similar gameplan for Bengals rookie Pro Bowl wideout Ja’Marr Chase, who torched a much healthier Baltimore secondary back in Week 7.
But Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale told media on December 23 that he won’t go to such extreme lengths to contain Chase.
“Davante Adams, he’s one of the Top 2 receivers in the league, and he’s not No. 2,” said Martindale, who said that “the same plan against Ja’Marr Chase” would be “going down the wrong street.”
He also noted that Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is not yet at the level of Packers superstar Aaron Rodgers.
“Aaron Rodgers is a Hall of Fame quarterback,” continued Martindale, “and I don’t think we’re ready to buy a gold jacket for Joe yet.”
Unclear Who Will Play CB For Ravens
But Martindale will still need a top-tier game plan to contain Chase, who went off for 201 yards and two touchdowns in Baltimore on October 24. The Ravens have since lost All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey to a season-ending injury, with Chris Westry and Jimmy Smith still on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Tavon Young left the Packers game with a concussion and did not return, though he appears to have cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol after practicing as a limited participant on December 23, per the Ravens’ official injury report.
That leaves Anthony Averett and Kevon Seymour as the only healthy, active cornerbacks on the Ravens roster, with Robert Jackson, Mazzi Wilkins and new arrival Daryl Worley all available as practice squad elevations.
Westry and Smith both went on the COVID list before the Packers game, so they should have a good chance at taking the field in Cincinnati if they are vaccinated, needing only two negative tests to play.
Ravens Had Unique Playcall For Adams
Davante Adams found out from the Ravens after the game that Baltimore had a specific coverage call for him, entitled “17 Bulldog” as an homage to Adams’ uniform number and his college team, the Fresno State Bulldogs.
“We had a plan for you!” said Ravens running back Latavius Murray to Adams, “How [are] you butt naked though?”
“That was one time!” responded Adams, who scored a touchdown against Ravens practice squad cornerback Robert Jackson despite the heavy coverage.
Adams also could have had another big gain if Aaron Rodgers didn’t overthrow him after getting wide open.
“That was some crazy coverage,” added Ravens special teams coordinator Chris Horton.
Aaron Rodgers also reacted to Baltimore’s Adams-focused gameplan, telling his receiver after the game, “That’s like the biggest respect you could possibly imagine.”