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Upon further review, replacement refs are a problem

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Upon further review, replacement refs are a problem

We're halfwaythrough the preseason, and one thing that has become increasingly clear in justtwo weeks' worth of preseason games: The replacement officials are badlyovermatched, and the drumbeat is growing to get this labor dispute settled andget the regular officials on the field by Week 1. Look, by anymeasure, officiating is a hard job. Was there holding in that scrum? Was therecontact before the ball arrived? But as fans saw at M&T Bank Stadium onFriday night, with the replacement officials, confusion seems to be the rulerather than the exception. Frequently, questionable flags are thrown. The ballis spotted incorrectly. There are phantom touchbacks. Game clock management isunclear.
As Ravensreceiver Anquan Boldin told the Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck after the Lionsgame, "They've really got to do something about that. Some of the callsout there ... the way the game was being stopped. It just lookedunprofessional."Pro FootballTalk's Mike Florio was less diplomatic, saying the league is fixing theofficials problem with "duct tape and dried-up glue," using "acollection of third-tier-and-worse replacement officials."
And USA Today'sJarrett Bell said, "This has the appearance of a runaway mockery."Mike Pereira, theleague's former director of officiating who now works as a Fox analyst, toldBall that, "I'm even more concerned than I was before they started playingthe games. They're struggling, though it's no fault of their own. They'recompetent officials for the level they're on, like, in Division II."
Major collegeofficials are prohibited from working NFL games. So while the NFL and theregular officials continue their standoff -- which basically is about money andthe officials' pension -- the zebras blowing the whistles now come from lowercollege, high school and semipro ranks, or are coming out of retirement. This to officiatethe NFL's gazillion-dollar product.
To be sure, theregular officials aren't perfect, and they don't help their cause by pointingout the replacements' mistakes. By doing so, they are asking for increasedscrutiny and accountability when they return, which, frankly, should happenanyway. But the regularofficials seem to be gaining leverage with each preseason game. On Saturday,there was a critical mistake in the Cowboys-Chargers game that cost the Cowboyspossession deep in San Diego territory. The Cowboys lost the game, 28-20.
No, that gamedidn't count in the standings. But does the NFL want to have this mess on theirhands when the games count for real?

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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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