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Ravens News 8/24: Rookie reports, preseason preview and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson’s big hits concerning Ravens staff - Kevin Patra

Jackson has rushed for 72 yards on 17 attempts with one touchdown this preseason. He hasn’t slid on any run and flipped over a defender during Monday night’s tilt versus the Colts.

“Yeah, that’s not good,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Wednesday, via “It’s just that simple.”

Added Mornhinweg: “We’d rather get down a step too early than a step too late. As you can see, that’s an ongoing process. Some of it is experience because he needs to have to filter through what he can get away with and what he can’t in this league.”

Lamar needs to connect on some deeper passes to prevent teams from stacking the box against him.

NFL previews for every matchup during preseason Week 3 - Pro Football Focus


Pair of productive pass-rushers

Terrell Suggs isn’t getting any younger, but the Ravens have themselves two effective pass-rushers waiting in the wings. Za’Darius Smith and Tim Williams have been very active in the preseason, ranking first and sixth in pass-rushing productivity among edge players with at least 35 pass-rushing snaps, respectively. Smith has racked up 10 total pressures on just 36 pass-rushing snaps while Williams has collected 12 total pressures on 76 total pass-rushing snaps.

Dolphins tackles Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James will undoubtably be challenged by the Ravens stable of edge rushers on Saturday.

Scramble for the Ball: 2018 North Over/Unders - Football Outsiders


Last Over: 2017 (9-7, Harbaugh/Flacco)

Last Under: 2015 (5-11, Harbaugh/Flacco)

Bryan: That has been a fairly decent template over the years, though it has cratered a bit as Flacco has, as well. They were just one play away from the playoffs last season, after all. It’s probably for the best that the defense didn’t prevent the miracle Andy Dalton completion, because that gave the front office the excuse it needed to do a little bit of offensive remodeling -- it’s a lot easier to see the flaws present on your own team when they’re not coupled with a playoff berth, cough cough Buffalo cough cough.

Bryan: The division feels like it’s going to be a bit tougher, in general. Matching up against the NFC South isn’t great for a team’s marginal victories. More importantly, I’m not sure that their skill position revamp actually improves the team -- at least, not in 2018.

Bryan: The defense should be good, as usual. The special teams should be astounding. I just don’t know if Flacco-to-Michael Crabtree, -Willie Snead, and -John Brown screams a successful season. It feels like the debris of other teams, coming together in Baltimore.

Andrew: Even accounting for that though, I see an absolute floor of about seven wins. Yes, the NFC South will be rough, but I would think 2-2 is entirely achievable. Cleveland still exists, and should still be coached by Hue Jackson at least in Week 5 (though surely not by Week 17). A split with Cincinnati is likely. Buffalo and Oakland are both at home. Clearly, we can’t predict every game’s result with 100 percent accuracy, but it’s really easy to see Baltimore in the territory of 8-8, 9-7 again. I’m not doing so with huge confidence, but as I refuse to push I think I’m talking myself once more into the Over.

Bryan: This feels like the sort of season where Baltimore’s going to stumble to, say, 3-6 out of the gates heading to their bye week, at which point they make the change to Jackson and finish, say, 4-3, boding well for the future. Four plus three, if I’m not too far mistaken, is seven, which is less than eight. I’ll take the under though, like you said, it’s close. If I’m wrong about the strengths of any of the other AFC North teams, this could easily flip.

With the NFC South on tap, Baltimore’s slate appears more demanding than last season when the Ravens faced the second easiest schedule in the AFC.

Seven quarterback moves needy teams should make before Week 1 to improve their depth - Jason La Canfora

Robert Griffin III to the Cowboys

How about adding some spice to a tepid Skins/Cowboys rivalry? Dallas currently has Cooper Rush and Mike White fighting it out to back up Dak Prescott. Um, nice try. Good luck with that. Remember how they went with guys like Brandon Weeden trying to save the season when Tony Romo got hurt? Jerry Jones fancies this a playoff team (I don’t, for the record), and he better beef up at QB if so. The Ravens may opt to keep three quarterbacks, though Griffin may have played well enough this summer for some to forget just how miserable he was the last time he played in the regular season.

Another strong performance against legitimate NFL defenders should boost Griffin’s trade value.

1 thing we’ve learned about Lamar Jackson, other Ravens rookies through 3 preseason games - Aaron Kasinitz

CB Anthony Averett

Pick: 4th round, 118th overall

What we’ve learned: Wide receivers will have a tough time intimidating him

Skinny: Averett’s showcased his toughness on a routine basis at practices and didn’t back down Monday when the Colts targeted on him on several pass attempts near the goal line. He even wrestled one ball away from a receiver in the end zone. Averett has an uphill climb to earn playing time in a crowded secondary, but he doesn’t seem likely to shy away from a challenge.

ILB Kenny Young

Pick: 4th round, 122nd overall

What we’ve learned: He has a real chance to start Day 1

Skinny: Defensive coordinator Don Martindale turned heads when he said in training camp that Young was competing with incumbent Patrick Onwuasor for the starting inside linebacker job next to C.J. Mosley. Young has validated the support of his coach with strong showings this summer. He’s leading the team with 16 combined tackles through three preseason games.

S DeShon Elliott

Pick: 6th round, 190th overall

What we’ve learned: Aggressiveness isn’t an issue

Skinny: Elliott drew attention early in training camp by walloping a couple receivers, which drew the ire of coaches who want to avoid unnecessary roughness penalties and keep the team healthy during practices. Overall, though, coaches seem encouraged with Elliott. He’s made 10 combined tackles in the preseason and is regularly around the ball. If he can improve on special teams, he’ll have a good shot to make the 53-man roster.

In Averett, Young, Elliott and Zach Sieler, it appears the front office landed four defensive gems on Day 3 of the draft.