The Baltimore Ravens came up one game short of making the Super Bowl this year, but there is something that they share in common with both the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers: all three teams have elite tight ends.
Travis Kelce (1,416) and George Kittle (1,377) are No. 1 and No. 2 for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season all time, but slotted in at No. 3 is Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews at 1,361. What's crazy is that the Ravens' best tight end might be Andrews' backup, Isaiah Likely, who the team needs to better incorporate into the offense this off-season.
This year, Baltimore lost Andrews for a good portion of the season, but in his absence, Likely lived up to the hype he'd earned from a spectacular pre-season game his rookie season, which put him on fans' radars.
In seven games as a starter, Likely averaged 50.1 receiving yards per game and had six touchdowns while Andrews was out of the lineup. To contextualize that, in 2022, Andrews averaged 56.5 receiving yards per game, had five receiving touchdowns across 15 games, and made the Pro Bowl.
Where things went wrong for the Ravens was when the team tried to bring back its No. 1 option in Andrews for the AFC Championship against the Chiefs, and suddenly, the production from the tight end room cratered, with both combining for a mere 31 yards after each finding success without the other.
Two-time MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson has shown that he loves passing to his tight ends. Which is precisely why, for him to get over the hump and make it into the Super Bowl next season, the team needs to figure out how to best utilize both Andrews and Likely on the field at the same time because, alongside wide receiver Zay Flowers, they're the premier weapons in Baltimore and key to the Ravens success.