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Ravens News 10/6: Well Positioned and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

‘Just crazy:’ Ravens want everyone to stop thinking Lamar Jackson can’t throw - Jamison Hensley

The Ravens (3-1) are tied atop the AFC North largely because of Jackson’s arm. Considered the best running quarterback in NFL history, Jackson is throwing the better than ever. He’s passed for over 275 yards in back-to-back games after only doing so once in his first 40 starts.

After Sunday’s games, Jackson currently ranks 11th in the league with 1,077 yards passing after finishing 22nd in each of the past two seasons.

“It’s important to be able to win multiple ways and whatever is required,” Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell said. “We know if we have to throw the ball for 300 yards, we can. If teams are going to stack the box and make it hard on us to run, which is good football, we know that Lamar can get the job done.”

The Ravens knew the Broncos were going to dare them to pass by stacking the box. In scouting the Broncos, Jackson noticed how Denver’s linebackers were right behind the defensive line.

“We watched it on film over and over again,” Jackson said. “We knew we had to beat them with these kinds of passes and these types of play calls, and we did.”

Keeping Lamar Jackson Healthy Is Everything - John Eisenberg

We’re finding out the Ravens are resourceful enough to keep winning despite losing multiple key contributors to injuries, but losing Jackson is their nightmare scenario, the one they most want and need to avoid. Keeping him healthy means pretty much everything.

He has not experienced major physical issues since he became a starter in 2018, which is pretty ironic. Many experts were convinced his brilliant running eventually would result in an injury, but it seems everyone else on Baltimore’s roster has suffered injuries while Jackson has remained a steady, sturdy presence. He has never missed a start because of an injury. Only twice has he missed consecutive practices for that reason.

Heading into Denver, Jackson had absorbed more hits than any player in the league. Sunday, he thought defenders hit him late and/or low without being flagged. As Harbaugh said yesterday, it’s the NFL’s rules that protect quarterbacks in the pocket – not so much his own decisions. If Jackson throws more often moving forward, his safety is more in the hands of the referees.

The Ravens are optimistic going forward. It’s a physical sport and the injury threat level is constant, but Jackson has made it through high school, college and four years of pro ball without a major issue. One of his underrated talents is knowing how to stay on the field.

Calais Campbell Highest-Rated Ravens Player Through Four Games - Todd Karpovich

Defensive end Calais Campbell has been dominant and is the Ravens high-rated player through four games, according to Pro Football Focus.

Campbell is ranked sixth on the team with 13 tackles. including two for a loss. He is also the leader of the defense and has played a key role in keeping the front seven organized.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson is ranked second and has put the team on his back over the first quarter of the season. J

Marquise Brown is ranked third and leads the Ravens in almost every statistical category for receiving,

NFL Rookies: Top 15 highest-graded players through Week 4 - Michael Renner

7. EDGE ODAFE OWEH, BALTIMORE RAVENS

PFF overall grade: 75.3

While Oweh still isn’t much of a pass-rusher one-on-one, he’s still found ways to make plays. He’s a weapon in space, whether he is left unblocked or if he’s used in a stunt. He’s produced multiple pressures in every game so far this season.

Kyler Murray and Joe Burrow stand tall, while Trevon Diggs continues to ball: NFL Week 4 superlatives - Larry Holder

Pass rushers of the week

Ravens linebacker Tyus Bowser deserves a shoutout as well. He pressured Broncos quarterbacks on six of his 20 pass-rush snaps (30 percent pressure rate), ending up with two sacks.

Despite injuries and tough schedule, Ravens are positioned well nearing quarter mark of season - Mike Preston

“It’s kind of hard to explain, I was talking to guys about it,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “To be 3-1 and playing three games on the road in some really tough environments — very challenging environments — is quite an accomplishment. Now we have got to come home and take care of business. Add on the adversity that we have faced, that’s just part of it, but that adversity is still there. We still have got to keep working through that and hopefully, we’ll get some guys back as we go. Those are our guys — that’s who they are and it’s what makes you love them.”

Part of the optimism stems from the Ravens dominating the previously unbeaten Broncos in every phase of the game. The key was balance. The Ravens had 406 yards of total offense and held Denver to 254. It was a strong effort by a defense that entered the game ranked No. 24, having allowed 314.7 passing yards per game.

The Ravens still need to improve. Their linebackers have no physical presence inside, and the team lacks a quality, top pass rusher on the outside. The entire defensive unit needs to tackle better. The offensive line has suffered numerous injuries and the Ravens have already shuffled tackles. The running game lacks a No. 1 rusher, but the Ravens survive because Jackson is the best runner on the team.

Regardless, there is time to improve even though the Bengals and Chargers have been playing well and Minnesota has been unpredictable so far.