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Despite uneven playoff performance, Ravens predict bright future with Lamar Jackson

Despite uneven playoff performance, Ravens predict bright future with Lamar Jackson

It was shaping up to be a storybook ending. The Baltimore Ravens, led by the youngest quarterback in the history of the NFL to start a playoff game, was surmounting a comeback with only minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

Rewind about 50 minutes, however, and the outlook was much different.

After going 6-1 as a starter and leading his team to the playoffs for the first time in four years, Jackson entered the fourth quarter of Sunday's 23-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers three-for-nine for 25 passing yards and 40 rushing yards on seven attempts.

Chants for Joe Flacco's return to the field began in M&T Bank Stadium while Jackson's future with the Ravens became a hot topic on Twitter. Cornerback Jimmy Smith was taken back by the negativity.

"They're booing the guy that got us here," Smith said after the loss. "Are you a fairweather fan that quickly? They turned their backs on him, and that got under my skin a little bit. But for the record I want to say our fans are a lot better than that. There's a few of them in there that, you know, fair weather. But overall our fans are great."

It was an interesting turn of events for a guy that reignited a fire in the city of Baltimore. 

After the game, Jackson's head coach and teammates made their faith in the 2018 first-round pick crystal clear.

"I mean, Lamar [Jackson] is our quarterback going forward — no question about that," John Harbaugh said postgame.

"He's the future. He is the future," safety Eric Weddle added. "As you guys can tell, he's devastated right now, and that's what's going to drive him in the offseason. And, he'll come back 10 times better than he was this year. For what he did, and to the belief that he gave not only our team, but our city, this organization, is pretty special."

In seven starts in the regular season, Jackson threw for 2,465 yards and 12 touchdowns while adding 695 rushing yards and five touchdowns. The speed he presented kept defenses on their toes, but his room for improvement throwing the ball and his lack of ball control remained a mark on his reputation.

That problem was apparent in Sunday's loss and will remain a question throughout the offseason. Jackson knows he has room for improvement, but within the Ravens organization there's no doubt what he brings to Baltimore.

"I am proud of him," cornerback Brandon Carr said after the loss. "Once he finally took over the team, his composure, his demeanor says a lot about him. The game was not too big for him. Once he got on the field you could see his talent. I think his future is bright. That's great for us as a team. Once he gets this offseason, he'll take the next leap. Once he gets his eyes set, his mechanics will improve, and let's see what we got with Lamar." 

And despite the fans' restlessness throughout Sunday's game, the only rookie quarterback to make a postseason appearance knows his teammates, and the fans of Baltimore, deserve better.

"We still love the fans," Jackson said. "They're going to come fill up seats for us. It was a hard finish. They were looking for better in us. We didn't perform well. It happens sometimes." 

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: 20 prospects linked to Baltimore at No. 22

Baltimore Ravens Roundup: 20 prospects linked to Baltimore at No. 22

We've made in to NFL draft week. Here's the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. The 2019 NFL Draft is Thursday night in Nashville, Tn. While the chances of pundits predicting each team's first-round pick accurately is about the same as picking the Powerball numbers, we can't seem to stop ourselves from looking at them. Here's a look at 20 prospects mocked to the Ravens at No. 22, courtesy of the Ravens' website.  


2. One of the many exciting parts of the NFL draft is waiting to hear which organizations trade forward or backwards to acquire a pick. Just last year, the Ravens traded back from their No. 16 pick several times to select Hayden Hurst at No. 25, before trading back into the first-round to pick Lamar Jackson at No. 32. But which trade in Ravens history was the most impactful? ESPN's Jamison Hensley selected the Ravens' trade for running back Jamal Lewis.


"In 1999, the Ravens traded their second-round pick (No. 43) for Atlanta's first-round pick in 2000, which they used to land running back Jamal Lewis," Hensley wrote. "The Falcons selected tight end Reggie Kelly, and the Ravens got what turned into the No. 5 overall pick in the 2000 draft. Baltimore drafted Lewis, who carried the offense during the team's 2000 Super Bowl championship season and recorded the NFL's fifth 2,000-yard season in 2003."


3. As Marlon Humphrey enters his third year in the league, the cornerback will not only be expected to take on a leadership role within the Ravens' new look defense, but top his impressive sophomore season. In 2018, Humphrey contested 35% of targets thrown into his coverage marking the second-best rate in all the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. 


Looking Ahead:

April 25-27: 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tn.

May 3-6 or May 10-13: Potential three-day rookie mini camp

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get long-term deal done with designated franchise tag player

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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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Steve Bisciotti donates $100,000 to rebuilding historically black churches

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Steve Bisciotti donates $100,000 to rebuilding historically black churches

One more week of the NFL offseason in the books. Here's the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

Player/Team Notes:

1. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti donated $100,000 to help rebuilding efforts for three historically black churches in the Louisiana area that recently burned down by an alleged arsonists. An effort led by former tight end Benjamin Watson, Bisciotti reached out to him Sunday committing his donation. 

2. The GOAT gene has transferred from Justin Tucker to his son, Easton. The kicker posted a video on his Instagram Thursday of the little guy kicking a (mini) field goal right down the middle, just like his dad. 

Looking Ahead:

April 19: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets

April 25-27: 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tn.

May 3-6 or May 10-13: Potential three-day rookie mini camp

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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