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Jackson ready for his chance

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Jackson ready for his chance

The beginning of his NFL career hasn't exactly gone as Asa Jackson would have liked.

Drafted in the fifth round by the Ravens this past spring out of Cal Poly as a cornerback and return specialist, Jackson has yet to see the field in a regular-season game. Buried on the depth chart, he has been declared a game-day inactive in all six games thus far.

That could change, though, after the season-ending knee injury to cornerback Lardarius Webb.

With Webb down, Jimmy Smith will slide into a starting role opposite Cary Williams. The first nickel back now is expected to be Corey Graham, with Chykie Brown and Jackson both sliding up the depth chart as well.

"Obviously, I don't know anything about what my role is going to be," Jackson said on Wednesday. "This is why they put me in the position that I've been in this whole time. In case something like this happens, then it's my turn to step up. This week I'm going to show (the coaches), give 'em some confidence in me so hopefully on Sunday I'll be able to do something good in the game."

Jackson showed glimpses of his potential in the preseason, including some heavy hits and a highlight-reel 85-yard punt return touchdown against the Lions, though it was called back by a penalty.

But his NFL career to date has been "frustrating;" each game so far, he's been one of the seven players on the 53-man roster dressed in sweats, rendered inactive for the game.

"Shoot, up to this point, or up to the point I'm at, being a rookie coming in," he said, "everyone was 'the man' where they were coming from."

Indeed, Jackson set school records for interception return touchdowns (3), punt return average for a career (14.7) and was a four-time, first-team all-conference player at Cal-Poly.

"Going from like me being a big fish in a little pond, or being that dude at Cal-Poly, to coming here and just being a scout player, obviously that's frustrating," Jackson said. "But at the same time, knowing how long the NFL season is, and just knowing how the NFL works, you always gotta be ready."

Jackson said other friends in the NFL, such as former Redskins cornerback Brandyn Thompson and Rams receiver Austin Pettis, helped him "make sure that I have my head on straight and I wasn't letting that frustration get in the way of me doing my job Monday through Saturday."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that with the injuries to Webb and linebacker Ray Lewis, it is indeed next man up.

"It’s an opportunity," Harbaugh said at his Wednesday news conference. "You know the old saying: ‘When one door closes, another door opens,’ right? We’ve all heard that since we were kids, and that’s true. There are going to be opportunities for guys to [step up]."

If Jackson is called upon to be one of those guys, he says he's ready.

"Football is football," he said. "Obviously it's a little faster, some guys are a little bigger, but it's the same game I've been playing since I was 9 years old out in the rec fields in Sacramento."

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Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

We've known the Ravens' 2018 preseason and regular season opponents for some time now, but the NFL finally released their full schedule with exact dates and times.

As they do every year, the Ravens will be seeing the Bengals, Steelers and Browns twice. 

For the ninth consecutive year, Week 16 and 17 will be divisional games with playoff implications.

The Ravens will also be playing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game against the Chicago Bears in Canton, Ohio, bringing an extra preseason game to their schedule.

In the regular season, the birds will be flocking south to take on the Panthers, Falcons and Titans. They haven't seen the Panthers or Falcons since 2014 - both ending in wins - and came up just short against the Titans in their 23-20 loss last season.

The Ravens will only have to travel to the west coast once when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers, who they last saw in 2015 and earned a 29-26 win.

Not including AFC North rivals, the last time the Ravens saw their remaining five home opponents they came away with wins. Hopefully history will repeat itself.

Prime-time games, which the Ravens have two of, will kick off at earlier times than in the past. Monday Night Football will now start at 8:15 p.m. while Thursday and Sunday Night Football will start at 8:20 p.m.

Ravens 2018 Regular-Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 2: Thursday, 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.

Week 5: Sunday, 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 6: Sunday 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7: Sunday, 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.

Week 8: Sunday 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sunday 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Saturday 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD

Week 17: Sunday 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.


PRESEASON 

Hall of Fame Game: Thurs., 8/2, vs. Chicago Bears (Canton, OH), 8:00pm (NBC).

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 2: Mon. 8/20,  at Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night Football, ESPN).

Week 3: at Miami Dolphins*

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30 at Washington Redskins

* - Game date and time not yet determined

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER