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Ravens News 11/2: Taking Full Advantage and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens CB Anthony Averett Has His Chance … And He’s Taking Full Advantage - Bo Smolka

Until this season, Averett had played only sporadically on defense, a backup to players such as Humphrey, Peters, Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr. Averett started seven games during his first three seasons.

This year, Averett is playing virtually every defensive snap.

“There’s nothing like game reps,” Averett said. “You can practice all the time, but the game reps, that’s what gets your mind going.”

Smith, whose transition to safety was made possible in part by Averett’s development, said, “We talk a lot about [how] being in a full-time role is a little different than spot playing. You kind of have to up your game in a lot of ways. You have to be a little bit more savvy. … He’s starting to learn and understand more and more things about playing corner every single play.”

“Ant has always been a great player whenever I’ve been out there with him,” Humphrey said. “Any time I look over, I’ve always trusted he was going to do his job. … It’s cool to play with a guy you played with in college.”

Every Team in the NFL Has a Flaw - Ryan Mink

They’re having trouble running the ball consistently unless it’s in the hands of Lamar Jackson. A banged-up offensive line is trying to keep its head above water. They’re giving up too many big plays on defense and have the 32nd-ranked pass defense in the league.

The NFL season must be taken one week at a time because any team’s flaws can be exposed any given week and new ones arise. It’s a game of whack-a-mole. Whoever can keep clubbing down whatever issue pops up will win.

Under Harbaugh, the Ravens have proven adept at that game. Whatever ills Baltimore has moving forward, it still has Harbaugh and Jackson. As I’ve stated before, those are two strong building blocks that can help them overcome what most other teams cannot.

Reversal: Ravens Have Leaned on Pass to Gain Yards - Todd Karpovich

This season, the Ravens had the league’s fourth-ranked passing offense and ninth-ranked running attack heading into the bye.

However, the team needs the running game to perform better to keep the offense revved up.

“I think their deep coverage is pushing out pretty deep, and the linebackers are playing play-action because they’ve seen it a lot, so they’re recognizing it pretty well and playing it,” coach John Harbaugh said. “If you don’t run the ball really well, your play-action pass doesn’t get as much respect. So, it all goes together. You have to run the ball to throw the play-action; you have to hit passes and spread them out to run the ball. Executing across the board makes everything better, and we have to get better.”

Inside the Ravens: 8 players who make sense as trade additions, upcoming roster activity and news, notes, opinions - Jeff Zrebiec

There was a time when Ravens’ defensive free agents would get big deals elsewhere and ultimately become huge disappointments. Za’Darius Smith poked a hole through that narrative when he had 26 sacks and five forced fumbles in his first two years with the Green Bay Packers after leaving Baltimore. Judon’s career-high in sacks with the Ravens was 9 1/2 and he’s well on his way to breaking that in his first season in New England. Then, there’s Ngakoue who just never seemed to fit after the Ravens acquired him before last year’s trade deadline. Now a Raider, Ngakoue entered last week leading all NFL players in quarterback hurries. Would they have put up the same numbers in Baltimore? Maybe not. The Ravens ask a lot of their outside linebackers beyond just rushing the passer. However, in a year in which the Ravens’ pass rush has been sporadic, it’s certainly notable what Judon and Ngakoue are doing,

Speaking of pass rushers, Jaylon Ferguson has practiced the past couple of weeks after a bout with COVID-19. The Ravens held him out the past two games to give him a chance to get his conditioning back and that’s understandable. However, assuming Ferguson is ready physically, it’s probably time to see if he can have an impact. Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale recently called Ferguson an “enforcer,” referring to the dirty work he does in setting the edge and getting a piece of running backs and tight ends. The Ravens defense could use a little more enforcing … and some fresh legs.

Ravens LB Malik Harrison Hit With Stray Bullet in Calf - Ryan Mink

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Malik Harrison was hit with a stray bullet in the left calf Sunday night while attending a gathering in Cleveland, the team announced Monday.

Harrison received medical care for the non-life-threatening injury at a local hospital and returned to Baltimore today.

“I don’t think it’s severe at all,” Harbaugh said. “I’m optimistic that it’s going to be OK. I feel bad for the situation, happy that he’s OK. I’m very grateful that he’s OK and not hurt worse. Anything can happen. It’s just a tough situation.”

Harrison will miss some time on the field, as he’s been placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list.

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Kayvon Thibodeaux goes No. 1 to Detroit Lions, Ole Miss QB Matt Corral lands in Washington at No. 5 - Michael Renner


The 6-foot-7, 321-pound Penning is a horse in the run game. He can be the people-moving presence the Ravens haven’t had this season after trading Orlando Brown Jr. Penning has also been pretty dominant in pass protection in 2021, surrendering only five pressures on 212 pass-blocking snaps.