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Ravens News 12/13: Lamar’s team, old school football and more

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Oakland Raiders v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson had the perfect take on the Ravens being ‘his team’ - Steven Ruiz

The torch has been passed in Baltimore. John Harbaugh announced Wednesday that despite Joe Flacco being fully healthy, Lamar Jackson will remain the starting quarterback for the Ravens.

“It’s our team. All of us together. It’s our team. I don’t go out there and block. I don’t go out there and catch the ball. I don’t make tackles. I just do my part. It’s all our team.”

Jackson is only 21, but that is an answer you’d expect from a seasoned vet. The Ravens’ future is in good hands.

Now backup quarterback Joe Flacco handled the demotion with class. John Harbaugh deserves praise for keeping his locker room focused during this tricky quarterback transition.

Zeus Jr. turns in Best Game Yet - Ken McKusick

Brown: Zeus had his best career game to date versus one of the NFL’s most productive pass rushers. He allowed just a single full pressure to OLB Dee Ford, on the game’s final play. He surrendered a partial pressure to Ford by bull rush, but finished by pancaking him in the pocket (Q3, 14:03). He cut his missed blocks to 5, of which he was beaten at the LoS 4 times by Ford, but the ball was out quickly on each occasion. He made 7 of 8 blocks in level 2, had 3 solo pancakes, and pulled successfully on his only assignment.

Scoring: 68 plays, 61 blocks, 5 missed, 1.5 pressures, 58 points (.85 per play). That’s an A after adjustment. I love the way Brown is finishing blocks with contact to the whistle and using his size well to lean on opponents. That physicality will aid in tiring both edge rushers and LBs in level 2, particularly with elevated snap counts. If the Ravens continue to be a run-first offense for whatever remains of this season, his ability to line up and reach L2 targets could be a big factor in increasing the number of longer runs.

On the road against one of the top pass rushing fronts in the league, Orlando Brown Jr. was the Ravens best offensive lineman.

2018 PFF NFL Power Rankings – Week 15 - Pro Football Focus

BALTIMORE RAVENS

2018 Week 15 ELO Ranking: 10

Sometimes you just have to tip your cap. The Ravens pressured Patrick Mahomes on more than half of his dropbacks, were able to generate 24 points offensively and outplayed the Chiefs in the kicking game on the road in Arrowhead last week. It didn’t matter, and now the Ravens are in an all-out brawl for the sixth spot in the AFC, as well as for the AFC North. They’ll need Lamar Jackson to play as he did against the Chiefs as a passer (123.2 passer rating from a clean pocket) for them to achieve their dreams in 2018.

Through 13 games, the Ravens defense ranks first in points and yards allowed. Yet their dramatic rise to 4th best rushing offense may be the most impressive statistic.

NFL salary cap for 2019 projected at $187M-$191.1M - Austin Knoblauch

The NFL announced Tuesday that projections for the 2019 salary cap are in the range of $187 million to $191.1 million -- a decent increase over the 2018 cap of $177.2 million per club.

There has been a 40 percent increase in the salary cap since the 2014 season ($133 million) and it would be the sixth consecutive year the cap is projected to climb more than $10 million per club year over year.

The Ravens are projected to carry at least $30 million of salary cap space into the offseason before they shed the contracts of overpaid veterans. Eric DeCosta should earmark some of this capital for early contract extensions. Ronnie Stanley and Matthew Judon are worthy candidates.

Ray Lewis: AFC Doesn’t Want To Play Ravens Right Now - Norm Elrod

“The Ravens have a real chance right now. If Pittsburgh drops this one this week, and they beat the Bucs this week, the Ravens move into first place in the AFC North. That’s huge for them. Either way the Ravens win this week, because Pittsburgh and the Patriots can’t take a loss. The Ravens are right on their heals.”

“I just think it’s going to come down to the matchups. The Patriots don’t want to play the Ravens. Nobody in the AFC wants to play the Ravens right now. They’re running the ball like no other.”

“When Joe Flacco comes in, the run game is gone. That dynamic, what Lamar Jackson brings, it stops there. Now you’re not playing to your defense. Now you’re playing Joe Flacco football. It’s a tricky dynamic.”

After the offensive explosion in September and October, defenses are beginning to regain their footing. In Week 14, only four teams scored more than 30 points while six were held below 15.