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Dak Prescott overlooked by many in draft, but Ravens won't overlook him Sunday

Dak Prescott overlooked by many in draft, but Ravens won't overlook him Sunday

OWINGS MILLS – The NFL underestimated Dak Prescott in this year’s draft.

The Ravens say they won’t underestimate Prescott on Sunday when the two teams meet in Arlington, Texas.

When Prescott fell to the Cowboys in the fourth round, the successor at quarterback to Tony Romo fortuitously fell into their lap. Prescott entered the league with a chip on his shoulder, determined to prove that he should have been selected much higher.

After Romo suffered a back injury during the preseason, Prescott seized the reins of the Cowboys’ offense and has refused to look back.

“I can’t tell you the theories of why everybody bypassed me,” said Prescott during a conference call.

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“I think it could be a couple of different things. But yes, I am a guy that always had a chip on my shoulder. I feel like I have always been doubted all the way throughout my life – at the quarterback position, specifically, yes, especially coming into the league. I am thankful to have the opportunity to play, but it definitely made that chip grow.”

Leading the Cowboys to an NFL-best 8-1 record, Prescott is having a terrific season, not just for a rookie quarterback.

Prescott has completed 66.8% of his throws, with 14 touchdown passes, two interceptions, and a 106.2 quarterback rating.  After watching film of Prescott this week, Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees hopes to contain Prescott, but he does not expect to rattle him.

“I don’t know after nine games if he’s considered a rookie anymore,” Pees said. “You can say he’s a first-year player. But I don’t think he’s a rookie anymore. This guy’s seen a bunch of stuff. They’ve played three (AFC North) divisional teams that you know throw everything they have to throw at him, and nobody’s rattled him.”

Several weeks before the draft, Prescott was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, a red flag for some teams. However, Prescott was found not guilty of the charges in July, and the Cowboys have sworn by Prescott as a leader, both on and off the field.

“Those are the reports that we got from people at Mississippi St. who were around him every day,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett in a conference call. “The coaches that coached him there were just so impressed by the approach that he took, how much he loves football, how much he is a natural leader.”

Prescott hopes to lead the Cowboys to their ninth victory on Sunday. The Ravens know they can’t approach Prescott like a typical rookie quarterback.

“No, and then he’s a big kid on top of that, and he is strong,” said Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.

“He can run. They are doing a great job at putting him in positions to make plays. He definitely has to be accounted for.”  

RELATED: TERRELL SUGGS PRANKS DAK PRESCOTT AS REPORTER

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Former Ravens Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg denies wanting to move Lamar Jackson to wide receiver

Former Ravens Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg denies wanting to move Lamar Jackson to wide receiver

According to a report from former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi, former Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg wanted to move Lamar Jackson to wide receiver. 

Mornhinweg, and the Ravens, claim that’s not true. 

Tuesday morning, Mornhinweg and the Ravens released a statement that claims the conversation Lombardi reported never happened. 

“That didn’t happen,” Mornhinweg responded, according to the release. “Never said that. My thoughts before the draft, and even more when we started working with Lamar, was that this young man was going to be a special quarterback. Very early we saw that along with all of his throwing and escape abilities, he reads the field as well as any young quarterback I ever worked with.”

Mornhinweg, who was the Ravens’ offensive coordinator for three years and with the organization for four, left the organization after last season ended.

The original report from Lombardi, which was on the GM Shuffle podcasts that he hosts, stated that Mornhinweg wanted to move Jackson to wide receiver. 

“Here’s what happened,” Lombardi began. “The first time he (Lamar Jackson) comes in, Marty Mornhinweg — remember, we’re building the team around him — Marty says to the coaches, this is fact, ‘When are we gonna move him to receiver?’”

Lombardi was a scout for the 49ers and Browns before working for the Eagles, Raiders, Browns (for a second time) and the Patriots. He was the general manager and VP of the Browns in 2013-14. He currently works for The Athletic.

“Organizationally, we were on the same page with Lamar, and I thought Ozzie (Newsome) and Eric (DeCosta) did a great job to take him where we did,” coach John Harbaugh added in the release. “Marty was excited from the beginning to coach Lamar and was instrumental in helping him progress through his rookie season.”

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Ravens don't have to worry about Rob Gronkowski returning for the NFL Playoffs

Ravens don't have to worry about Rob Gronkowski returning for the NFL Playoffs

Sitting atop the AFC North and East divisions at 8-2 and 9-1 respectively, the Ravens and Patriots could face each other again in January for either the divisional round or AFC championship.

One thing is for sure -- even if Baltimore has to face the Patriots in Foxborough, the Ravens will not have to worry about crafting a game plan for retired tight end Rob Gronkowski.

The five-time Pro Bowl receiver is guaranteed to be in Miami for Super Bowl LIV, but not to play football -- instead, throwing a party off the field that he calls Gronk Beach.

Gronk told ESPN that a return to playing for the NFL is "always an option in the back of my head. It's not like I'm not staying in shape and not doing anything."

"I wouldn't say 'never coming back,'" Gronk told ESPN after announcing his Gronk Beach festival, that includes performances by Diplo, Kaskade, Rick Ross and Flo Rida. "I'm feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off, man."

Baltimore already bloodied New England 37-20, handing the Pats their first and only loss of the season thus far when they visited M&T Bank Stadium in Week 9, but both teams should almost certainly anticipate a postseason meeting. Arguably the greatest tight end in league history, Gronk knows his team could use his talents again.

"With the offense, they're finding ways to make it work like they've always done, putting guys in the right situation to make plays," Gronkowski told ESPN about watching the Patriots games closely this season. "But man, they're missing some guy who is 6-6, 260 [pounds]," referencing himself.

Baltimore, you're in the clear this year. But that's all Gronk can guarantee.

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