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Ravens pile up team-record 11 sacks against former defensive coordinator

Ravens pile up team-record 11 sacks against former defensive coordinator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Baltimore Ravens swarmed around their new defensive coordinator, Don "Wink" Martindale, celebrating after a game that will go down in the record books.

Getting 11 sacks along with a shutout against the man Martindale replaced makes this mark even sweeter.

Za'Darius Smith had a career-high three sacks as the Ravens piled up the franchise-record Sunday in routing the Tennessee Titans 21-0 in the rain, just missing the NFL record shared by five teams by one.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh called it an "historic defensive performance."

The Ravens (4-2) smothered Tennessee, allowing just 106 yards of offense while they turned Marcus Mariota's day into the worst of his NFL career. Eight different Ravens sacked Mariota, and four got their first sack this season at his expense. The Titans never got closer to the end zone than the Ravens 37, each time pushed back with yet another sack.

"We want to be something special out there," Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon said. "For Wink, it's great to go against his predecessor, and he stepped up and we came through and pitched a shutout. You don't ever talk about unicorns while you're doing it, but we got it done. We got it done for him, and we celebrated after."

Martindale was promoted to defensive coordinator when Dean Pees retired after last season. His retirement lasted less than a month with first-year coach Mike Vrabel luring Pees to join him as the Titans' defensive coordinator.

Asked about Pees, Smith only said that the coordinator told him at his pro day at Kentucky that the linebacker would be a Raven.

"Love him to death, but hey, we won tonight, so we're going to leave it at that," Smith said with a smile.

The Titans (3-3) had not been shut out at home since the franchise relocated to Tennessee.

"That's the headline: The `Tennessee Titans didn't do nearly enough on all levels to win the football game,'" Vrabel said. "Or even make it competitive."

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With 3-year extension for Tavon Young, Ravens begin stockpiling young talent

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With 3-year extension for Tavon Young, Ravens begin stockpiling young talent

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens defensive back Tavon Young has signed a three-year contract extension, part of the team's effort to retain budding talent.

The 24-year-old Young had one year left on his rookie contract, but first-year general manager Eric DeCosta wanted to get a jump on keeping the slot cornerback.

DeCosta says he "talked a few weeks ago about keeping our best young players, and Tavon is the definition of that."

After spending the entire 2017 season on injured reserve with a torn ACL, Young played in 15 games last season despite being bothered by a groin injury. He had 34 tackles, an interception and two fumble returns for touchdowns.

“To see him last year overcome the knee injury in the manner that he did, the work ethic his intensity and desire to be the best, is really impressive,” DeCosta said. “We look at what we think of the player and how he approaches his job day-to-day. We see him in the building. For me personally, seeing Tavon, watching him rehab, spoke volumes.”

The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Young was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft after playing at Temple.

In his two seasons as an active player, Young has 86 tackles, two sacks, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

Young's contract extension will make him the highest paid nickel in the NFL, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. As to how he's going to celebrate? The Oxon Hill, Md native is going to keep it close to home.

“Just go out with my family, probably – take my mom and my dad out,” Young said. “I’m just happy for them. I called my mom [and] she couldn’t believe it. She was like, ‘Are you lying? Are you for real?’I’m like, ‘Yes, mom!’ I’m just so happy I can just take care of them now. It’s a blessing.”

NBC Sports Washington's Lisa Redmond contributed to this story.

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Ravens think concerns about Lamar Jackson injuries are 'overrated'

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Ravens think concerns about Lamar Jackson injuries are 'overrated'

Those concerns about Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson injuring himself when he hits the gas pedal in the open field are "overrated."

At least that's how new offensive coordinator and former assistant head coach & tight ends coach Greg Roman feels.

"It’s a little overrated, the whole danger thing," Roman said Tuesday. "Why? Because, and this is empirical data here, over the years you kind of realize that when a quarterback decides to run, he’s in control. So now [if] he wants to slide, he can slide. If he wants to dive, he can dive, get out of bounds -- all of those different things. He can get down, declare himself down. A lot of the time, the situations that [have] more danger are when he doesn’t see what’s coming -- my eyes are downfield, I’m standing stationary from the pocket, somebody is hitting me from the blindside."

Roman was promoted at the start of the offseason as the team begins shaping their offense around Jackson's run-heavy style of play. A style of play - that with the help of Roman - led the Ravens to the postseason for the first time in three seasons.

After Joe Flacco - a pocket-style quarterback - injured his hip after getting hit against the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 9, Jackson eventually earned the starting job, and over seven games finished the season with 147 rushing attempts for 695 yards and five rushing touchdowns. Those 147 rushing attempts set the record for most attempts by a quarterback in a single season since the 1970 merger.

His speed is undeniable. His lack of fear as well. But how long he'll be able to sustain that immortality has been a talking point since he took off running Week 11.

The Ravens have a prime example of what can go wrong in backup QB Robert Griffin III, whose rookie season with the Washington Redskins was headlined by what would be a career-altering knee injury. Jackson's coaches, however, find the reward greater than the risk. 

"Every player is one play away from being hurt, and every quarterback standing in the pocket is one hit away from being hurt, too," head coach John Harbaugh said in January. "But the fact that he gets out and runs and scrambles ... I get it; I think it’s fair to consider that, but you can’t live your life in fear. I think there’s just as much fear on the other side that he’s going to take the thing to the house if he gets out and runs, too. So, we’ll live in that world as opposed to the other world."

Education was key last season and will continue to be going forward. During his press conference Tuesday, Roman mentioned that providing Jackson with the proper decision-making techniques is already in the works. 

"My experience, and I kind of learned this, is that when the quarterback takes the ball and starts to run, there’s not a lot of danger involved in that relative to other situations," Roman added. "Now, how does he handle those situations, to your point? Yes, last year, for example, was a learning curve for him on how he would handle a situation. Do we really want to take those hits? Why would I cut back against the grain when I could take it out the front door into space? All of those things started last year."

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