After thrashing the Houston Texans at home Nov. 17, the Baltimore Ravens racked up a sixth straight victory to move to 8-2 on the year. During the stretch, head coach John Harbaugh’s squad has looked like the best team in the AFC — if not the entire league — by defeating the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and now Houston.
This run of wins is the longest for the franchise since its 2000 Super Bowl season, and there seems to be no signs of slowing down. Hall of Fame quarterback and CBS analyst Dan Fouts, who was on the call for the Ravens-Texans game, is impressed by Baltimore. He sees the team clicking in every facet of the game.
“If you’re an opponent, [Baltimore] is probably the last team you want to be playing,” he said on Glenn Clark Radio Nov. 15, two days before the Ravens’ game against the Texans. “… They’ve got continuity on the offensive line. They have the ability to be very versatile with a three-tight-end attack, which gives you obviously a strong running attack but also a great play-action game.”
On offense, quarterback Lamar Jackson has obviously been a star all season long for the Ravens. But after his performances in Cincinnati Nov. 10 and against the Texans, the hype surrounding his Most Valuable Player candidacy is beginning to pick up real steam.
Fouts said much of the team’s passing game succeeds because play-action fakes to running backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards give Jackson time to throw. Jackson has thrown for 2,258 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions this year.
“It’s all working very well together, it would be great to see them get more out of their wide receivers,” he said. “Obviously those numbers are down, but the tight end numbers are way up and it just seems to fit Lamar Jackson’s game off the play action.”
“He’s really shown what type of competitor he is, but he also shows us all what a joy it is to be Lamar Jackson and to do the things that he’s doing,” Fouts added. “He’s very focused; he’s worked hard on his accuracy. I think a big part of that is [offensive coordinator] Greg Roman putting him in positions with the pass offense to be successful.”
In just his second year and at age 22, Jackson seems to be getting better and better with each snap. With that said, another former NFL star and current CBS commentator — Jay Feely — is shocked with what the former Heisman trophy winner is doing on the field at this point in his young NFL career.
However, the former kicker said what stands out to him the most is the humility Jackson possesses with his recent success.
“People didn’t know if he could handle NFL offenses, and not only is he handling an offense, he’s handling a very complex offense,” Feely said on Glenn Clark Radio Nov. 11. “He has not gotten caught up in his success. He continually defers any type of credit, talks about his teammates, talks about that offensive line and those tight ends and the way they block, talks about his receivers and just always has a team-first mentality.”
“He doesn’t care if he needs to run the ball or throw the ball, he doesn’t care if he gets the credit. He just wants to go out there and win, and that’s what you want from that position.,” he added.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens’ defense answered questions about its pass-rushing ability with a seven-sack performance against the Texans. That was led by Matthew Judon, who stuffed the stat sheet with a team-high seven tackles, two sacks, four quarterback hits and a forced fumble.
Feely acknowledges that Baltimore has plenty of talent and depth in its secondary after making a handful of additions earlier in the season. But despite a solid showing from the defensive line against the Texans, the pass rush will need to continually improve the rest of the season if the Ravens want to be playing for the Lombardi Trophy.
“When you get to the playoffs, if you’re playing Tom Brady, or you’re playing Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, you have to get pressure on them,” he said. “That defensive front has got to get after the quarterback, create pressure, because I don’t care how good you are in the secondary. If a quarterback like that has time and can sit in the pocket, a receiver is going to get open.”
For more from Fouts, listen to the full interview here:
For more from Feely, listen to the full interview here:
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