OWINGS MILLS, Md. Baltimore Ravens midfielder Lamar Jackson made it look easy on his MVP season, leading the NFL in touch passes and setting the league record for most pitches with one midfielder.
Jackson has faced more difficulties in the first eight weeks of this season, ranking 27th in passes (1,343) and 30th in completion rate (60.5%). He made four of his worst career wins in the 28-24 defeat to Pittsburgh Steelers.
How did Jackson handle adversity?
“He still has a lot to learn, but the great thing about Lamar is that he realizes it,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh on Friday. “He understands that people are making him the focus. He has to find a way to tighten his game and beat those things with precision and his own mind. They are doing everything. it is possible with so many smart and talented people to stop Lamar Jackson the week they play him. “
Baltimore̵7;s offense plummeted to 22nd in total yardage, and not all of Raven’s problems fell on Jackson’s head. The attackers have been injured all season, and two starting players (Ronnie Stanley makes a save and right-back Tire Phillips) are on the bench due to injuries. The Raven has almost reduced the number of passes this season’s seven (eight) times over all previous seasons (NFL-low 10).
“It’s not 11 vs 1. It’s 11 vs 11,” Harbaugh said. “They can focus 11 on 1 if they want. But there are 10 other boys out there. I think that’s what we try to work towards our boys.”
Jackson’s supporting cast will not include Dez Bryant, who served as Pro Bowl’s extensive record holder for the Dallas Cowboys, who finished the second week of the Baltimore training team.
This week, Jackson praised Bryant for his long run and strong hands. But Bryant, 31, hasn’t played a game since December 2017.
Harbaugh was irrational when asked when Raven would knock Bryant out of the training team.
“When we feel he’s ready to get back in shape and understand the offense and afford Lamar on enough of the game, then we’ll get him up,” Harbaugh said. “When it happens, I think it’s going to happen. I don’t think that’s what you want to force feed there. So we’ll have to watch as we go.”
Harbaugh is more optimistic about the return of part of his defense. On Tuesday, Ravens placed six defensive players – defenders Patrick Queen, LJ Fort, Malik Harrison and Tyus Bowser, secure DeShon Elliott and winger Terrell Bonds – on the reserve / COVID-19 after they was identified as a “high risk” relationship closely with Marlon Humphrey after the All-Pro tested positive for coronavirus.
Harbaugh said none of the people in close contacts showed symptoms. If the players pass their tests on Saturday morning, they can take a walk before accompanying the team for Sunday match at Indianapolis Colts (5-2).
“That’s what you have to deal with. It’s part of life right now,” Harbaugh said. “Every person in the country has to deal with these things in their lives. The interesting thing about football is that. [it’s] a microcosm of life. There are certain rules that apply, and you do your best to follow them. Sometimes, you are down.
“I really think the metaphor here with the NFL is a good metaphor in the sense that you do everything you can to keep each other safe from this virus. life’s challenges and try to excel at what you do. “
The Raven (5-2) won nine straight line games, but they never won in Indianapolis, losing all six trips as guests there, including the play-offs.