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NBC Sports' Peter King impressed by Lamar Jackson's leadership

NBC Sports' Peter King impressed by Lamar Jackson's leadership

NBC Sports' Peter King traveled to the Ravens training camp last week to take a look at second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson and is raving about the progression he's seen in the former Heisman Trophy winner.

"I love the fact Lamar Jackson wants the pressure on his shoulders," King told NBC Sports Washington. "He's not going to get freaked out by saying as you go, so will the Ravens."

With added weapons in his arsenal including veteran running back Mark Ingram as well as the team's first-round selection from April's draft in dynamic wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, the expectations in Charm City have been elevated for 2019.

"You know to be great in the NFL, I think you have to complete at least 62-63 percent," King said. "He's already proven he can win games with his legs. Now he's got to prove long-term that he can win games with his arm."

The AFC North has been a popular topic of discussion during the offseason with both Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell departing from the Steelers to Oakland and the Jets, respectively, as well as the Browns making the summers' biggest splash and landing superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the Giants. One of the more underrated moves of the offseason was the Ravens' acquisition of perennial Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas, who will bring an added edge to the team's already stifling defense. 

"This is not one team's division, this is a three-team race in the AFC North (Ravens, Steelers, Browns), King said. "The ceiling (for Baltimore) is an 11-5 record and winning the division. The floor for the Ravens is 6-10, but I don't see a John Harbaugh coached team going 6-10."

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How 'Big Truss' helped define the 2019 Ravens season

How 'Big Truss' helped define the 2019 Ravens season

For nearly two months, all anyone in Baltimore — and around the NFL — could talk about were the Ravens. Those conversations likely spanned from Lamar Jackson to the team’s 14-2 regular season. 

It wouldn’t be a surprise if someone said, “Big Truss,” during that conversation, either. 

In what started as a simple phrase between Jackson and Marquise Brown which originated from South Florida, the saying “Big Truss” grew to something much bigger than something between two people. It was something woven into the fabric of the 2019 Ravens, even if they didn’t know it.

“If they aren’t laughing at you, your dreams aren’t big enough,” coach John Harbaugh said after the team’s final regular season game. “So, we have big dreams, big goals, big ambitions, big faith, Big Truss — that was not planned, either."

As the phrase “Big Truss” graced signs and t-shirts and tattoos, it became a rallying cry for the NFL’s best team in the regular season. 

“Big Truss” was printed on doughnuts and used as names for fans on Twitter while everyone from Jackson to Mark Ingram to Harbaugh to Justin Tucker took their turns in the spotlight due to their play on the field. When they got the opportunity, they made sure to say “Big Truss.”

But what went under the radar about “Big Truss” was that the Ravens weren’t a fun team to follow simply because they had fun postgame. Rather, they were one of the most fun teams in the NFL on and off the field as well. 

Their quarterback had one of the most electrifying seasons an MVP player has ever had, they broke the single-season rushing record and they dominated talented teams each week during the regular season. The defense was opportunistic and boasts a likely future Hall-of-Famer in Earl Thomas and was pieced together by a handful of players that, as of September, were looking for work. 

The Ravens made football fun in 2019, as their personalities on the field shined just as bright, if not brighter, as they did off the field. 

“Big Truss” spread across the NFL and, as could be expected, was the source of mockery once the Ravens lost to the Titans. In the offseason, it even reached the presidency.

Make no mistake, the phrase wasn’t the reason why the Ravens were fun to watch in 2019. That was due to every Jackson spin move, Ingram touchdown and double-digit victory the team had. 

“Big Truss” just was the rallying cry behind it all. 

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Ravens held a moment of silence in remembrance of George Floyd

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Ravens held a moment of silence in remembrance of George Floyd

The Ravens organization held a team-wide moment of silence on Thursday to in honor of George Floyd, whose funeral took place on Thursday as well.

According to a statement released by the team on Twitter, the moment of silence took place at 3:45 p.m. ET and lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds. The timeframe was the same length as how long Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin was recorded kneeling on Floyd's neck, restricting him of air and ultimately causing him to die.

The gesture by the team was in accordance with the NAACP and other organizations that deemed Floyd's funeral on Thursday as a "National Day of Mourning." 

Ravens fullback Pat Ricard shared a message head coach John Harbaugh had written to the team informing them of the moment of silence. Taking place through Zoom, Harbaugh hoped that players and their families would join in to honor Floyd.

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