Ravens

Quick Links

Pats rookie defensive end won't rest on success

201210031414512471810-p2.jpeg

Pats rookie defensive end won't rest on success

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Chandler Jones never seems satisfied.

The New England Patriots rookie defensive end made an immediate impact in his first professional game four weeks ago, recording five tackles and a strip-sack that was recovered for a touchdown. Not enough.

The 21st overall pick out of Syracuse jarred another ball loose the following week and has a sack in three of his first four NFL games. Not content.

Jones on Thursday was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September.

And guess what? There's still room for improvement.

``I feel personally that it's not good enough,'' he said as the Patriots (2-2) continued preparations for the Denver Broncos (2-2). ``Even though they say I'm the rookie of the month for September, we still have a .500 record. That's just not good enough.''

Jones has provided a much-needed menacing presence along the New England defensive line - something that has been lacking. Along with his trio of sacks, which leads all rookies, the 22-year-old has collected 17 tackles in helping stabilize New England's run defense. The Patriots are tied for the seventh at 85.2 yards per game after ranking 17th last season, allowing more than 117 yards a contest.

Perhaps even more impressive, though, is the rate at which he has been on the field, lining up for more than 90 percent of the defensive snaps.

``I have a lot of work to do,'' Jones said. ``For me personally, I feel like I have a long way to go. I'm still a rookie, it's a long season ahead of me and we got a lot more games to play. Each week I'm trying to get better. You take it one day at a time and you let those days stack.''

Sunday's test likely will be more challenging than anything he's faced thus far, too.

After chasing down the likes of Jake Locker, Kevin Kolb, Joe Flacco and Ryan Fitzpatrick - not exactly a star-studded cast - Jones now is tasked with wreaking havoc on Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, a certain Hall of Famer who first entered the league when Jones was just 10 years old.

``Definitely been watching him since I was a little kid, but you take this game with the same approach that you would take it from Week 1 to Week 2 to Week 13,'' he said. ``I don't try to play the name game, who I'm going against. It's a quarterback out there and it's my job to get after him.''

Veteran linebacker Rob Ninkovich isn't the least bit surprised at Jones' swift learning curve, or the way he handles himself.

``I think really he came in ahead of many rookies that come into this league,'' Ninkovich said. ``A lot has to do with what you learn in college and the techniques and stuff that are coached to you in college. Whoever was coaching him obviously gave him some good stuff to where he's able to come in and make an impact right away.''

Ninkovich pointed toward Jones' innate ability to diagnose plays as a primary reason for his early success.

``It takes time to just get comfortable on the field and know when to go, and when to play the run, when to pass rush,'' he said. ``I say just him just having the awareness of the situations and able to really get after the quarterback and also play the run as well.''

Despite obvious support from his teammates, who speak highly of him on a regular basis, Jones still believes he has something to prove, especially to the veterans like four-time Pro Bowl standout Vince Wilfork.

``I want those guys to not have to worry about what I'm doing and make sure I have my playbook down,'' Jones said. ``That's the biggest thing that I want to do is just show these guys next to me that I can do it and I can step my game up for them.''

And has he done that yet?

``There's a quote that goes, `You never are doing as good as you think you are and you're never doing as bad as you think you are,''' he said. ``So, if you just stay humble and level-headed throughout the whole process, you should be pretty good.''

While Jones has been rather tight-lipped about his early accolades, he did reveal one key component to his game.

``I'm having a lot of fun,'' he said. ``That's the one thing about football that you can't take away from. This being my job, but you got to have fun.

``Got to.''

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

hurst-otas-usat.png
USA TODAY Sports

Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 

MORE RAVENS NEWS: 

Quick Links

Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

flacco-jackson-ap.png
AP Images

Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."

MORE RAVENS NEWS: