Jaguars at Ravens
Comcast SportsNet, 7:30 p.m., Thursday
M&T Bank Stadium
History: Jags lead the regular season series, 10-7.
Rewind: Jags won the last meeting 12-7 on Oct. 24, 2011 in Jacksonville.
Recap: The Ravens are 1-1 in the preseason, with the first unit only scoring one touchdown in a 31-17 win in the opener at the Atlanta Falcons. QB Joe Flacco looked more comfortable in the hurry-up offense in last week's 27-12 loss to the Detroit Lions, but the success of it will be measured by how many touchdowns he can generate -- not field goals. ... The Jags are 2-0 in the preseason and have surprisingly done it with offense. They won 32-31 vs. the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants and 27-24 at the New Orleans Saints.
Key matchups: Without Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jags are riding with RB Rashad Jennings (5.1 yards per carry). He could test the strength of the Ravens' run defense. Top draft pick, WR Justin Blackmon, will be facing a lot of one-on-one coverage from the Ravens' secondary which has allowed the Falcons' Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson of the Lions to have big games.
The skinny: Expect some risk-taking, particularly with play-calling as Flacco declared he wanted the team to take more chances in the red zone. The defensive line hasn't achieved much pressure on the opposing quarterback, so that will be looked at especially closely with the next round of cuts coming Monday. ... QB Blaine Gabbert, coming off a miserable rookie campaign, has gotten the Jags off to quick starts by leading them on touchdown drives to open each game. Gabbert has a 126.1 passer rating. And they've done it without Jones-Drew, the NFL's leading rusher last season with 1,606 yard who has held out all of training camp for a new deal even though he has two years left on his contract.
Prediction: Ravens 28-14
Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.
1. The Ravens are hopeful Earl Thomas will be a leader for their new defense which Thomas called "very complex." "This defense is very complex compared to what we were doing in Seattle,” Thomas said to Ravens media. “We were just playing Cover-3 all the time. Now, we’re making calls on the fly. That’s the biggest adjustment for me.”
Additionally, Thomas told media members after practice that he's made "fast friends" with quarterback Lamar Jackson. "He's a very funny guy, I don't know if you all know that," Thomas said.
2. Speaking of Lamar Jackson, he reportedly had his best day of practice so far this offseason according to Ravens media. Jackson's throws looked much better and he was quick in the pocket.
July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.
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: Baltimore Ravens and Rotoworld for news points.
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Like most athletes, Robert Griffin III was empathetic towards Kevin Durant when he first went down, taking to Twitter on Monday night to voice his concern.
Today, the Ravens' veteran quarterback told ESPN's The Undefeated that he's all too familiar with Durant's decision to play and subsequent injury. RG3 likened it to his own brief playoff stint in 2013. Just four weeks removed from an injury to a knee that required reconstructive surgery in college, RG3 started – only to get hit late in the fourth and watch both his season and career come to a screeching halt.
But that's not how RG3 views it.
"I was looking at it like I'm out for here for my brothers. I'm out here for my team. And that was the only place I wasnted to be."
And Griffin doesn't believe he's alone in that thought process, suggesting it was KD's mindset ahead of Game 5 as well.
"Most of us are built to fight. So whenever we get a situation where we’re a little injured or a little banged-up, our first reaction isn’t to get out of there and rest. Our first reaction is to figure out how we can keep going. That’s what makes a guy like Kevin Durant great."
It remains to be seen whether KD's recovery will be smoother than RG3's. The former Heisman Trophy winner never came close to matching his breakout rookie season, eventually losing his starting job in Washington in 2014.
Durant will miss all of next season, meaning the former Montrose Christian star's next NBA appearance would be as a 32 year-old.