Week 3 Preview: The Josh Allen Way vs. the Jared Goff Formula, This Time Lamar’s Arm Can Beat K.C. - Gary Gramling
Monday night marks Round 3 of Mahomes vs. Lamar, with Mahomes taking the first two rounds if you go by things like final score.
However, the difference this time could be Jackson himself, and the fact that he continues to improve at an exponential rate as a passer. His presence in the pocket and touch as a passer continue to be outstanding. While he’s taken few cracks at the kind of outside-the-numbers throws that he struggled with last year, he’s playing with a wider base in the pocket that should provide better velocity on those throws. (It might ultimately come down to better understanding the timing of those throws as he attempts more of them.) The Ravens, of course, will continue to feature him in the run game because he’s special with the ball in his hands and it would be foolish not to. However, if you were to travel the infinite timelines of the multiverse until you find the reality where everything is exactly the same as it is here except Lamar Jackson is currently dealing with a sprained MCL, I think the Ravens still have a functional offense, and possibly a very good one.
Baltimore hasn’t played from behind very often in the past year, and many will point to Jackson’s failings in last year’s playoff loss to the Titans. But it wasn’t because the Ravens couldn’t move the ball (my goodness, they put up 530 yards of offense against the Titans). The issue that night seemed to be that Jackson was playing with too muchurgency, unable to calibrate just how fast they had to put up points because it was such an unfamiliar situation. He forced a throw on an interception and got reckless with the ball on a strip-sack on back-to-back third-quarter drives.
On Monday, Baltimore might have to play from behind the Chiefs again. With Jackson’s continued improvement as a passer, plus the lessons learned last January, they should be much better equipped to do so.
50 Words or Less - John Eisenberg
If there’s one statistic the Ravens can use as a source of optimism heading into Monday night, it’s that the Kansas City Chiefs are ranked No. 28 in the league in rushing defense through two games, yielding an average of 4.6 yards per carry and 150.5 yards per game.
The Ravens obviously will need a blend of running and passing to beat the reigning Super Bowl champions, but I’d list controlling the clock with the run as their top priority because the best (possibly only) way to limit Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is to keep him off the field.
Other priorities for the Ravens include limiting the number of chunk plays Mahomes generates (because he will generate some) and staying in touch on the scoreboard one way or another (because Baltimore has fallen too far behind in both losses to the Chiefs with Lamar Jackson at quarterback).
Chiefs’ Andy Reid, Ravens’ John Harbaugh Bring Mutual Respect Into Monday Night Clash - David Ginsburg
Harbaugh used much of the knowledge he absorbed during his 10-year run as an Eagles assistant under Reid to become a successful head coach with the Baltimore Ravens.
“I learned so much from him, and I continue to,” Harbaugh said. “We talked quite a bit (in the) offseason and during the season. We haven’t talked lately, but we’ll probably resume those conversations after the game.”
“Harbs is a phenomenal coach,” Reid said. “They have really good football coaches and really good players, so that normally means you’re going to have a good team. They do it the right way.”
“Andy is always looking for a play, always looking for a big play,” Harbaugh said. “Anything he does, pretty much all the time, the play is designed to try to score. That’s what you understand about Andy. That’s just the way he looks at the game.”
Anthony Averett wants to step up for a Ravens team with title hopes. Luckily, that runs in his family. - Aaron Kasinitz
“It’s kind of obvious,” Averett said. “It’s my opportunity.”
His uncle, Bryant McKinnie, spent the 2012 regular season on Baltimore’s bench before taking over as the starting left tackle in time for the playoffs. He blocked a parade of the NFL’s best pass rushers week after week as the Ravens knocked off the Colts, Broncos, Patriots and 49ers en route to the franchise’s second Super Bowl championship.
“Anthony is somebody I know very well,” said Humphrey, who started opposite Averett at Alabama. “He’s shown us a lot in practice, and I know I definitely trust in him.”
“It’s Season 3, so it’s about time for him to step up,” McKinnie said. “You really want to kind of seize the moment, and really take advantage of the opportunity given to go out there and put together some good game film not only for your team but for other teams to see you play, because that can help you in the long run.”
“I’m following in the footsteps a little bit,” Averett said. “He won a Super Bowl with the Ravens team that I’m on now, and I’m trying to do that. I’m trying to win a Super Bowl. That’s the goal.”
After entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and bouncing around, there were times Fort wondered if he’d ever reach this point. However, joining the Ravens brought out the best in Fort, a player who finally found the right fit.
“It’s been a grind,” Fort said. “When you’ve been on P (practice) squad and you’re getting cut multiple times, there’s always doubt in your mind that you’ll be able to find a home. Just kept sticking to it, working hard. Fortunately, I found a home here in Baltimore. I’m loving it.”
Fort will be focused on trying to contain rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Monday night’s matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. Edwards-Helaire is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has the speed to score from anywhere on the field.
“From what I’ve seen he’s a tough runner and he’s shifty,” Fort said. “It’s definitely going to be a group effort. He’s been most impressive to me, being a rookie and showing up.”