The Ravensspecial teams unit, which struggled at times last season, has been muchimproved this season. Through three games, the Ravens rank sixth in the leaguein kick coverage, allowing 19.6 yards per return. Yes, it's early, but that's asignificant improvement over last year, when the Ravens ranked 31st (29.2avg.). The Ravens rankninth in punt return defense (6.7 yards per return), also an improvement fromlast season (11.9). Both those unitsfigure to get a major test on Thursday night from Cleveland's Josh Cribbs. Theeight-year veteran holds the NFL record with eight career kickoff returntouchdowns, including a 92-yard score against the Ravens in 2008. He had an 84-yardpunt return touchdown last season at M&T Bank Stadium, one of three puntreturn touchdowns in his career. It was also one of the three return touchdownsallowed by the Ravens last year, tying the team record.Ravens specialteams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said on Tuesday that Cribbs "can change agame in a hurry. ... You have to make sure you go in and make sure that hedoesnt do that to your team. Our focus is being sound in our coverage lanesand being good tacklers, and its going to take a team effort by all involved,including our specialists.Cribbs, 29, hasbeen limited in practice this week by a knee injury but is expected to play.Thus far this season, Cribbs ranks tied for fourth in kickoff returns (mininum2 returns) with an average runback of 28.3 yards. His punt return average(14.5) ranks fifth. Rosburg actuallyhelped groom Cribbs. Rosburg was the Browns special teams coordinator from2001-06, so he was there when Cribbs broke into the league as a return threatafter a career as a do-it-allquarterback at Kent State. After spending two seasons helping Cribbs develop,Rosburg has spent the past six trying to stop him.One way, ofcourse, is to deny him the ball. Ravens rookie kicker Justin Tucker leads theNFL with 13 touchbacks through three weeks. "Any timeyou kick the ball out of the end zone, thats a plus when youre facing a guylike Joshua," Rosburg said. "Thatll beour aim again this week, but thats not always going to happen. ... We have toprepare like every kick is coming out. Cribbs will jump up and catch it withone hand and bring it down from nine yards deep if he has to. He wants the ballin his hands hes an aggressive returner so were going to cover every kicklike hes bringing it out."
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.
The #Ravens placed four players on the reserve/NFI list, including first-round WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and LB Jaylon Ferguson.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 18, 2019
Hollywood Brown is progressing well and should be back on the field in a few weeks, I’m told. As for Jaylon Ferguson, it’s a minor hamstring https://t.co/8ZZzK1zz1N— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 18, 2019
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.
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.
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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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- Getting a Head Start: Jackson organizes private workout with WRs
- Coach Trace: McSorely spends offseason brushing up coaching skills