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Ravens News 10/31: Confidence, roster evaluation and more

Baltimore Ravens Portraits Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

With Lamar Jackson on Their Side, Ravens Feel Confident vs. Patriots - Ryan Mink

“We’ll see how good they are once we play them,” tight end Nick Boyle said. “I don’t think they’ve seen anyone like our offense or like Lamar. They’re a good team and we’ll need to bring our ‘A’ game.”

“With Lamar, it changes the nature of the game,” veteran guard Marshal Yanda said.

“I feel like he brings a whole new dynamic to our offense. He’s a baller,” [Brandon] Williams said. “And with him, they have a lot of stuff to work on. They have a lot of things to try to get ready to play him. So, that’s definitely to our advantage, where they’re worrying about him and not us.”

“I’m excited to see what they come up with to stop him and how Lamar beats it,” cornerback Jimmy Smith added.

Bye Week Roster Evaluation-Offense 2019 - Ken McKusick

Young Producers (8): Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, Orlando Brown, Gus Edwards, Lamar Jackson, Patrick Ricard, Matt Skura, Ronnie Stanley

These are players on their first contract who are already starting (or should be) and are playing well. A team needs as many of these players as possible to continually outperform the salary cap.

More amazing than the total of 8 players in this category is the fact none will be UFAs after 2019. Only Ricard, Skura, and Stanley will be UFAs after 2020.

Veterans Playing for Market Value (9): Nick Boyle, Morgan Cox, Robert Griffin III, Mark Ingram, Sam Koch, Seth Roberts, Willie Snead, Justin Tucker, Marshal Yanda

Ravens Know They Must Protect the Football vs. Turnover-Happy Pats - Clifton Brown

“The interceptions have been remarkable, especially with pressure,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “They have guys who know how to make plays on the football. It’s just good football in my mind. I don’t think it’s anything that’s new to football. They’re just doing it at a really high level.”

“They’re just fundamentally sound,” [Lamar] Jackson said. “A lot of veterans on the defense, all 11 at the ball at all times. That’s how they’re getting so many turnovers.

“They’ve got 19 interceptions? That’s crazy.”

The Seven Single-Season NFL Records That Could Be Broken in 2019 - Riley McAtee

Rush Yards by a QB

Current record holder: Michael Vick (1,039, 2006)

2019 contender: Lamar Jackson (576, on pace for 1,316)

It’s time to start talking about Jackson as the greatest rushing quarterback ever. Lamar is averaging 82.3 rushing yards per game, which is ninth most in the league for any position. He’s on pace to smash Vick’s QB rushing record from 2006 by over 250 yards—and that’s including his Week 1 performance against Miami when he tallied just 6 rushing yards. He’s exploded on the ground since that game, though, and has eclipsed 100 yards rushing in three games.

Crucially, Jackson is thriving as a passer, too. Whereas Vick in 2006 needed to run to supplement his mediocre passing line (52.6 completion rate, 6.4 yards per attempt, 20 touchdowns to 13 interceptions), Jackson has done damage through the air as well. He’s completing 63.3 percent of his passes (averaging 7.7 per attempt) and has 11 touchdowns to five interceptions.

Much has been said about Jackson’s speed, and it’s true: On any given play, he can be the fastest player on the field. But his ability to stop on a dime is just as noteworthy. It’s the 60-to-zero-and-back-again ability that allows Jackson to run roughshod over defenses—and also prevents him from taking too many big hits.

Meet the Patriots’ Week 9 opponent, the Baltimore Ravens - Bernd Buchmasser

The new faces of the franchise

Four of them have shaped the 2019 iteration of the team: running back Mark Ingram is the number one back on one of the league’s best rushing attacks, first-round rookie receiver Marquise Brown is one of Jackson’s favorite targets, safety Earl Thomas III has further solidified a defense that already played some outstanding football last season, and in-season addition Marcus Peters added another big-play cornerback. Jackson’s development is a big reason for Baltimore’s success, but so are those four additions.

Three players to know

DT Michael Pierce: While Jackson and the offense have made most of the headlines so far this season, the contributions of the 16th ranked defense cannot be underestimated either. One player who stands out is defensive tackle Michael Pierce, a starter along the Ravens’ interior line that is strong against the pass but even better versus the run. If the Patriots want to get their running game going this week, they need to find a way to contain Pierce and limit his impact.

What to watch this week

For the second straight week, the Patriots will go against a team coming off its bye. Considering how talented Baltimore is in all three phases of the game, this could prove to be a major advantage for the club: John Harbaugh is one of the league’s best head coaches, and giving him and his staff an additional week to prepare certainly could hurt New England’s chances at improving to 9-0. Then again, the opposite sideline is manned by Bill Belichick...