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The view from Philadelphia


The view from Philadelphia

Philadelphia-areamedia covering the Ravens' 24-23 loss at Philadelphia had plenty of reaction tothe officiating and to the chippy play overall. And, just to show it's all amatter of perspective, at least one writer lays the blame for the extracurricular activity squarely on theRavens.Here's the takeon the game from some Eagles' media: Les Bowen,Philadelphia Daily News"When pushcomes to shove, (Michael) Vick believes in himself, as he showed us again on a10-play, 80-yard drive for the winning points ...The Ravens hadtime after that to get within range for kicker Justin Tucker, who'd already hitfrom 56 and 51, but back-to-back incompletions on third- and fourth-and-1 fromthe Baltimore 46 ended the visitors' day. The Eagles hurriedly left the fieldbefore any of the befuddled replacement refs could write a new chapter of theiradventures by calling a penalty kick or a goaltending violation....The Eagles wonthe second half, 17-6. After watching Ray Rice rumble for 78 yards on 7first-half carries, they allowed him just 21 yards on nine carries afterhalftime, perhaps contributing to Baltimore coach John Harbaugh's reluctance torun in short yardage late. ...It was a chippy,choppy game, marred by several scrums and the puzzled, overmatched officiating,which treated the crowd to a pair of 2-minute warnings in the second half, incase anyone was stuck in a stadium bathroom line."Bob Brookover,Philadelphia Inquirer"No man witha brain could witness what took place at Lincoln Financial Field Sundayafternoon and come to the conclusion that "the replacements" didanything close to a credible job. They were, in fact, embarrassingly bad in avariety of ways and if (NFL Commissioner Roger) Goodell allows the folly tocontinue deep into the season he will be eroding his own shaky credibility. ...We suspect AndyReid and other NFL head coaches have been warned by the league to recite theparty line on the issue of replacement officials. That's what the Eagles coachdid after his team's 24-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens that was turnedaround by a questionable offensive pass interference penalty in which a flagwas never thrown.Had the call notgone the Eagles way, Jacoby Jones would have celebrated a 25-yard touchdownthat probably would have sealed a Baltimore victory."
Kevin Callahan,Wilmington (Del.) News-Journal"Once again, theEagles showed they could turn over the ball with the best of them. Surprisingly,Andy Reids fumbling and bumbling bunch showed once again they could still win,too, while giving the ball away like Santa Claus at a sporting goods store. ...The Eagles were morethan generous to a Baltimore team that needs no gifts.The Eagles alsobrought their bark, bite and fight to their home-opening and crowd-pleasing24-23 comeback win over the Ravens.Now, this wasnta bare-knuckle backyard brawl between these I-95 brothers, but only becauseboth teams wore helmets and didnt want to break their hands. Still, there wereenough skirmishes to make the Hatfields and McCoys envious."Paul Domowitch,Philadelphia Daily News"The Eaglesheld a Ravens offense that looked unstoppable last week in a 44-13 win over theCincinnati Bengals to 325 offensive yards and 17 first downs.Held Joe Flaccoto a puny 5.5 yards per pass attempt. Held him to eight second-half completionsin 25 attempts. Held Rice, who led the league in yards from scrimmage lastseason, to 21 yards on nine carries in the second half.And they closedthe deal in the fourth quarter after Mike Vick shook off two more interceptionsand the loss of two of his starting offensive linemen and engineered his secondstraight game-winning drive."Reuben Frank,CSNPhiladelphia.com "Late hits. Cheapshots. Stuff after the whistle. Stuff long after the whistle.Playing theBaltimore Ravens is 50 percent NFL and 50 percent WWE.
They doeverything short of secretly bringing a folding chair in the huddle to startwhacking the other team with.For the EaglesSunday, keeping their composure -- when the Ravens were hitting guys late andstarting fights after virtually every play -- was a big part of their 24-23 winin the season opener at the Linc. ...
The Ravenscertainly can be intimidating, with legendary future Hall of Famers Ray Lewisand Ed Reed leading that world-class defense. But the Eaglesstood toe-to-toe with them for 60 minutes and emerged with a win that not onlyshowed who was the better team but also who was the tougher team."

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Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson made Ravens quarterback change as low-drama as a move like that could be

Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson made Ravens quarterback change as low-drama as a move like that could be

Lamar Jackson has every reason to have a big ego.

In the past two years he's won a Heisman Trophy, was a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and just beat out a Super Bowl MVP in the middle of the season for the starting quarterback job.

Who wouldn't have a bit of extra confidence after all of that? 

On Wednesday, the 21-year-old took to the podium at the Under Armour Performance Center to answer questions as the Ravens' newest leader in 11 seasons. He was the exact opposite of cocky. 

 “It’s ‘our’ team – all of us together," Jackson said on if he's able to call the Ravens his team now. "It’s our team. I don’t go out there and block. I don’t go out there and catch the ball. I don’t make tackles. I just do my part. It’s all of our team.”

The response should be of no surprise. Since arriving in Baltimore and slowly earning his way to the starting job, Jackson has been appreciative as has let his performance on the field do all the talking. 

“I pretty much didn’t really have a reaction to when [coach Harbaugh] was telling me. All it made me do was … I know I have to focus on everything a lot more – just bettering myself and trying to join with everybody around me even more. That’s about it.”

Since filling in for an injured Joe Flacco, Jackson is 52 of 89 for 600 passing yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in addition to 67 rushing attempts for 336 yards and two touchdowns. He's also led the Ravens to a 3-1 record in those starts and back into playoff contention. 

The decision to switch starters mid-season could have led to an uncomfortable locker room. Each player who spoke on the matter gave off the vibe that it was no big deal.

And when Flacco spoke to the media on Wednesday for the first time in five weeks, the 33-year-old faced what every starting quarterback fears with nothing but kind words about Jackson. 

“I thought he’s done a great job," Flacco said on how Jackson is handling himself. "I’m really happy for what he’s been able to go out there and do. We’re winning football games. He and this team have put themselves, and ourselves, in position to go out there and do some big things for the rest of the year, and that’s definitely exciting.”

“Joe’s been handling it great," wide receiver John Brown added. "He’s been in Lamar’s corner. I’ve seen him the whole time. Every time he comes off the sideline, Joe is talking to him, telling him what he sees, trying to help him out. He’s been a great teammate.”

Jackson refraining from calling the Ravens "my team" is a rarity in a league where players are constantly trying to prove their authority, and even more so  for those with a title that only 32 guys hold. 

Possibly the class Flacco has had for 11 seasons as the leader of the Ravens has projected itself onto the rookie now in control. 

"Joe [Flacco] is still part of the team," Jackson said. "It’s his team still – just like it’s mine. It’s all of our team. We’re brothers. We’re here together, each and every day. We’ve been here since camp putting our life on the line. It’s still his team, man – nothing [has] changed.”


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Joe Flacco disappointed about losing starting job, but decision wasn't a surprise

Joe Flacco disappointed about losing starting job, but decision wasn't a surprise

It's been a lingering question around the Under Armour Performance Center over the last five weeks as rookie Lamar Jackson has filled in for an injured Joe Flacco.

At some point this season we knew that Flacco would be healthy enough to get back to football.

We also knew at some point this season the Ravens would have to make the tough decision on who their starting quarterback would be in the aftermath of Jackson leading the team to three straight wins.

That question was finally answered Wednesday when head coach John Harbaugh announced Jackson would be starting Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Flacco would be the backup for the first time in his 11 NFL seasons.

"Obviously disappointed that I can't be apart of this team in the same capacity that I have been for a long time," Flacco said Wednesday on learning the news.

"It's out of my hands. I got hurt. They drafted Lamar in the first round. At some point something was going to happen between the two of us. Who knows what that was going to be. This is just what it is at this point. I've obviously had five weeks to think about it and prepare myself for this situation and the possibility of it. I'm disappointed that, like I said, I can't be in that locker room in the same capacity that I've always been. But this is my situation right now and I'm going to do my best to handle it the right way."

The news, however, shouldn't come as a surprise to many.

In his first four games as the starter, Jackson is 52 of 89 for 600 passing yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in addition to 67 rushing attempts for 336 yards and two touchdowns. His 30 rushing first downs ranks second among NFL QBs behind Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (33), and his 475 rushing yards in 2018 ranks second behind Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen (490).

Prior to suffering the hip injury in their Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Flacco was 232 of 379 for 2,465 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Ravens had lost their last two games under him and it looked like another playoff-less season could be on the horizon for the fourth year in a row.  

When the weeks continued to pass without Flacco and the Ravens record continued to improve with Jackson, the writing to many was already on the wall. 

"It's part of the game," Flacco said on losing the starting job after his injury. "I've talked about it plenty of times. Every time you take the field, there's obviously the risk of something like that happening and it just is what it is."

"I can't say I was surprised. The bigger thing is just even though I'm disappointed, like I said about I guess my different role and all that, is just trying to stay excited about what my role is and the possibilities that they bring."

The leader of this team for 11 years, Flacco had missed just six games and started in his last 41 appearances before Week 10. While Flacco is admittedly not a sentimental guy and many have criticized him for his lack of emotion over the years, standing on the sideline the last four weeks has not been easy.

"It was really tough for me," Flacco said. "It wasn't even about the possibilities of something like this happening, you know, as a starting quarterback — which I've been for a long time for this team— you play through things throughout a course of a 10-year career. I definitely wanted to get out there and be there for my guys that next week, and it's definitely one of the hardest things I've done in my career is standing on the sidelines, being inactive and not being apart of it the way you want to." 

There was no denying the resurgence the Ravens experienced under Jackson. His 336 rushing yards in his first four starts is the most by a quarterback in the Super Bowl Era and his running back-like speed continues to be tough for defenses to stop.

What Jackson offers in speed Flacco can compliment in the passing game. Ever since the first-round pick rushed for 119 yards in his first start against the Cincinnati Bengals, the narrative has been that Jackson will never be able to sustain that in the NFL. Now with two quarterbacks to use at their discretion, the Ravens' last three games could get very interesting even though Harbaugh would not divulge how much the team would utilize the Super Bowl MVP in Sunday's game. 

"Anything can happen in this league very quickly and were right in the middle of a really good playoff run and we have a lot of important games ahead of us," Flacco said. "I'd firstly be doing my team a big disservice by not preparing the same way I always do, and after that I would be doing myself a big disservice, too, because you never know what's going to happen and when you're going to have to be called on."