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NFL ready to replace replacements now?

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NFL ready to replace replacements now?

Sunday nights Ravens-Patriots match-up was a tight game decided in the last seconds for a 31-30 Baltimore victory, a fitting rematch to the AFC Championship Game, with an incredibly heartbreaking storyline of Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith putting in a huge performance less than 24 hours after learning his brother had died in a motorcycle accident.

But what were we hearing about through much of the NBC telecast? The officiating.

In the fourth quarter, when the Patriots were called for one of those phantom defensive holding penalties, NBCs Cris Collinsworth let the replay sink in for a moment before saying: Guys, keep negotiating.

Collinsworth was referring to reports that the NFL and its locked-out officials were in labor talks on Sunday, an encouraging sign. Certainly more encouraging than what we saw from the men in stripes at M&T Bank Stadium.

There were a total 24 penalties accepted 14 for 135 yards on the Ravens, 10 for 83 on the Patriots. Eight of New Englands 33 first downs came via penalty and five of the Ravens 28.

Patriots coach Bill Belichicks frustration boiled over after the game ended, and he grabbed at an official as the ref was running off the field. Perhaps he wanted to protest that Justin Tuckers game-winning field goal had missed wide right. Belichick told the media he didnt want to talk about the officiating. "I'm not going to comment on that," Belichick said. "You saw the game. What did we have, 30 penalties called in that game?"

Belichick also said he didnt think hed be fined by the league for making contact with an official. Its hard to believe hes right about that.

Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes vented on Twitter after the game: Can someone please tell these ------- zebras foot locker called and theyre needed Back at work!!!! BreakingPoint

The officials did not have control of the game for a big chunk of the first half similar to what we saw during last weeks Ravens-Eagles game. The Ravens and Patriots were pushing and shoving and tugging at each other after the whistle multiple times.

Though the pass interference against Jacoby Jones that set up Tuckers final field goal was indisputable, little else was when it came to calls in pass coverage. The wild inconsistency was maddening. Muggings that drew no flag. Tag-youre-it contact that resulted in yards marched off. Illegal contact or defensive holding or pass interference all mixed up.

In the NBA, we know the refs arent going to be consistent, but at least we understand how it works: If youre LeBron, you get the call, but if youre Kris Humphries, you dont. We defy anyone to explain how the replacement refs are making their calls.

The crowd in Baltimore was loud throughout the night and loud and clear in the second half when the fans responded to a call with what euphemistically is termed a barnyard epithet. It came across clearly on television.

So, do you think the NFL is happy about any of this happening on their biggest stage of the weekend? If any game can at least nudge the needle toward a settlement with the NFL Referees Association, this was it.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens place Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson on reserve/NFI list

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens place Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson on reserve/NFI list

With training camp just six days away, here is the latest news surrounding the Baltimore Ravens.

1. Ian Rapoport reported that the Ravens have placed Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson and two others on the reserve/NFI list. He later added that Brown is still recovering from Lisfranc surgery but is "progressing well" and Ferguson is dealing with a "minor hamstring" injury.

2. The entire Baltimore Ravens class is officially under contract after the signing of wide receiver Miles Boykin. Boykin was a third-round pick out of Notre Dame.

3. Michael Vick joined The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Friday morning and when asked which young quarterbacks in the NFL most emulate his style, he answered: "Lamar Jackson" along with Kyler Murray and Cam Newton.

Looking Ahead:

July 24: Ravens training camp begins. Rookies are set to report a week earlier on Wednesday, July 17. 

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

The number eight is sports royalty in the city of Baltimore thanks to Cal Ripken Jr.

If Lamar Jackson has the career many are hoping for, he’ll be another reason for that one day down the road.

For now, he’s a young, athletic quarterback entering his second season in Charm City. But his successful rookie year hasn’t been reflected in Madden NFL 20’s newest ratings.

Jackson came in with an overall rating of 76, tied for 24th among all quarterbacks. Unsurprisingly, his athleticism is highly-regarded, as he leads all signal-callers in speed, acceleration, agility, and elusiveness.

Questions abound about his throwing abilities, leading to the low rating. But that’s not a concern for Jackson himself.

“I can’t feel no way,” the quarterback told media members prior to throwing out the first pitch at the Orioles-Nationals game Wednesday night. “You know, I don’t make Madden. That’s them. But I feel like our team, we’re going to show ‘em this season.”

Jackson continued to praise the Ravens roster. When asked about the high ratings for teammates like Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Earl Thomas, Jackson put his thoughts quite succinctly: “We look stacked!”

Of course, with speed and acceleration ratings like Jackson has, it’s fun to imagine how he might fit in on a baseball diamond as well.

“Whew, somewhere in the middle, to make a play,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde decided when asked where the Ravens quarterback might play on his roster.

“I’m looking forward to meeting him. I’m a big football fan, so watched him play a lot. And if he wanted to play center field or up the middle, it’d be great,” Hyde continued.

The speedy quarterback agreed, though it came with a caveat.

“Probably,” Jackson quickly answered when asked about his best fit being center field. “But you know, I’m the Ravens QB right now, so I’m good.”

He doesn’t know what his walk-up song would be if he played baseball, but Jackson was definitive about one thing at least: his hot dog preferences.

“I don’t really eat mustard,” he emphasized. “So I just put ketchup, relish...I just go from there. Pretty standard.”

When he’s not eating hot dogs, Jackson is working hard to build chemistry with his new receiving corps, and he seemed optimistic about the results it will bring on the field.

“Looking pretty good,” he described. “You’ll have to see for yourself.”

Knowing how many dual Orioles and Ravens fans there are in Baltimore, Jackson was also happy to provide a little hope as the city’s attention starts to shift from baseball to football. He gave a message to O’s fans who have sat through months of losing baseball and are looking to the Ravens to bring winning back to the city.

“Look forward to us coming out and balling,” he said. “Can’t say too much right now, [the] season’s not here!”

The Ravens season will be here soon enough, and when it is, Jackson will be ready to go out and show both local and national fans what he can do, regardless of what his Madden rating says.

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