Andrew Gillis

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Ravens lead all teams in Pro Bowl votes, but still have bigger aspirations

Ravens lead all teams in Pro Bowl votes, but still have bigger aspirations

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The unique aspect of the Pro Bowl is that no player on a contending team actually wants to play in the game. 

That’s the position the Ravens are in, as they top the league with six players on the roster currently leading in Pro Bowl voting. 

Quarterback Lamar Jackson, fullback Patrick Ricard, tackle Orlando Brown Jr., guard Marshal Yanda, kicker Justin Tucker and cornerback Marcus Peters all lead their position groups in voting. 

Jackson leads all vote-getters by nearly 30,000 votes, ahead of second-place quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

But the Ravens, while flattered by the voting, aren’t ready to concern themselves with the Pro Bowl.

“Yes, I've seen it, but I'm not really worried about the Pro Bowl voting or Pro Bowl,” Jackson said. “I'm trying to win games. That's all I can say. I'm trying to win, trying to get to the Super Bowl. Pro Bowl, if it comes, it comes, but I want to go to the Super Bowl. That's my goal.”

Jackson is currently an MVP candidate in an apparent two-quarterback race between Russell Wilson and him. 

Ricard, Brown and Yanda are part of perhaps the NFL’s best offense, while Tucker has missed just one field goal and one extra point all season. Peters has two defensive touchdowns in four games with the Ravens.

“Obviously it's a blessing, but what's important to me is making it to the Super Bowl,” Brown said. “And obviously, that's a long way away. I understand that individual accolades come with winning, but ultimately, I want to do what's best for this franchise and this team and bring home a Super Bowl.”

Since the Pro Bowl is played the weekend before the Super Bowl, players on Super Bowl teams don’t participate in the game. 

So while the Ravens might add to their list of six with players like Mark Andrews, Marlon Humphrey and Ronnie Stanley, the goal is to have them not play at all.

“I think at the end of the day it’s cool, it’s definitely cool for guys to be getting voted in,” Andrews said. “I think it speaks to the team, it speaks for everybody in the locker room being able to play. It’s a team game. For me, I think it’d be awesome to be voted to the Pro Bowl, no doubt about it. But at the end of the day, there’s only one goal in my mind and that’s to win a Super Bowl.”


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Eric Weddle claims he won’t give up Ravens’ secrets to Rams

Eric Weddle claims he won’t give up Ravens’ secrets to Rams

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Eric Weddle, at least publicly, claims he won’t give up intel about his old team. 

Weddle spoke with ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry and said he won’t give up any of the Ravens’ secrets to the Rams. Weddle played for the Ravens for three seasons prior to leaving for Los Angeles last offseason. 

"I could tell them a lot of stuff, but that's just not who I am," Weddle told Thiry. "So we're going to play it on the field, and the best team is going to win."

Weddle has a good relationship, even still, with Ravens players and coaches. But for at least this week, there’s been radio silence.

John Harbaugh isn’t concerned about whether or not Weddle will give up information either way. 

“I don’t think it’s that big a deal,” Harbaugh said. “Everything is on tape. It’s not anything that they can’t figure out just by watching the tape.”

In Baltimore, Weddle was praised for his ability to put the defense in the right spots and was known as one of the smartest players in the secondary. 

Weddle, a 13-year veteran, signed a two-year, $10.5 million contract with Los Angeles after being released by the Ravens in March. Weddle was replaced with Earl Thomas. 

On the other side, the Ravens have new cornerback Marcus Peters, who was traded from the Rams to the Ravens in October. Peters was vague about if he’d make the same commitment Weddle did.

“I’m just focused on us,” Peters said when asked about giving intel to the Ravens. “We’re going to go down there. We have a game to play on Monday night and we’re just going to go out there and do our best.” 

As for how much his knowledge would help the Rams defense, Harbaugh said he’s more concerned with Weddle the player than Weddle the informant.

“Eric is a great guy,” Harbaugh said. “Much ado about nothing, to be honest with you. It’s more of a story than it is an issue. Eric is a great guy. He knows a lot of football. Just watch him play.”


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Ravens players lead campaign for Lamar Jackson’s MVP push as season winds down

Ravens players lead campaign for Lamar Jackson’s MVP push as season winds down

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Mark Ingram’s offer for anyone to meet him in Baltimore, should they feel that Lamar Jackson shouldn’t win MVP, still stands.

Ingram joked Thursday that since he took the podium after Sunday’s 41-7 win over the Texans and proclaimed Jackson the league’s MVP, he’s heard from a few people about their opinions of who should win MVP.

“I think a couple people have been on my social media thinking they wanna pull up outside ‘The Bank’ (M&T Bank Stadium),” Ingram said with a laugh. “They got they own little argument about who should be MVP. I ain’t seen nobody yet.”

Jackson, now seemingly in a two-horse race with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson for the MVP award, is now getting a push from his teammates.

Over the past few weeks, various Ravens players have voiced their support for Jackson to win MVP. 

“Everyone in this locker room, everyone in this city, this state, we know what Lamar means to us,” Mark Andrews said. “He’s all that and more. All the praise he’s gotten, all the MVP stuff, it shouldn’t even be a question. There’s nobody else in the NFL that’s making as big an impact for their team than this guy.” 

Jackson is currently on-pace to finish with 3,613 yards passing, 30 passing touchdowns and eight interceptions with a 66.3 percent completion percentage. He’s also nearing the NFL’s rushing record (1,039 yards) for a quarterback in a season and is on-pace for 1,261 yards and nine touchdowns. 

Those stats would mean he’s end the season with 4,874 yards from scrimmage, 39 touchdowns and eight turnovers.

“We’ve been believing in him since he’s been here,” Orlando Brown Jr. said. “He’s somebody that comes in every day, works hard at practice, works hard in the film room, goes hard on Sunday’s. To me, his energy is so contagious it’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to win.”

With the organization behind him, Jackson has routinely stated he’s not after individual accolades, but he appreciates the respect his teammates give him. 

“You don’t want to be in a building where guys hate you,” Jackson quipped. “It’s a family thing going on here. I love my guys. We go to war with each other. It’s been going on since I’ve been in the building.”

Naturally, it’s not surprising that teammates of a quarterback the MVP race thinks he deserves the award. But Ravens players are jumping at whatever opportunity they can to voice their opinions.

“He deserves all of it,” Andrews said. “All of his teammates backing him up, that’s just trust in him. We all believe in him, he’s our leader.”

Nearly every Raven, though, also directs praise towards Jackson’s off-the-field persona. Marlon Humphrey told a story of Jackson coming into the facility on an off-day, specifically to just talk to people and shake hands around the building.

So while the Ravens are biased, clearly, they’re not afraid of talking about who they think should win MVP.

“At the end of the day, he’s a great player, but he’s a better teammate and better friend,” Andrews said. “You get support by being a good person, being a good teammate.”