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Avoiding the Hits

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Lamar Jackson flex OTA

Lamar Jackson won’t be taking any hits in the preseason.

The Ravens aren’t going to take any chances and will keep him sidelined for the upcoming games against the Arizona Cardinals and Washington Commanders.

Smart teams don’t put their franchise quarterbacks in harm’s way.

Jackson’s contract situation makes the situation even trickier.

When asked whether he would play in the preseason, Jackson replied: “I don’t know yet. I don’t know yet. I don’t know yet. I don’t know yet. I don’t know yet – that’s my answer.”

The Ravens have an answer: No.

Jackson is basically playing under a one-year deal with the team picking up his fifth-year option while the two sides negotiate a contract.

He has gotten better since he came into the league in 2018 when it comes to wanting to extend plays but not open himself to a serious injury.

Jackson also added more muscle this offseason to better take the brunt of those hard hits.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh feels Jackson has a solid grasp on staying healthy.

“I really think he’s always understood it. In all honesty, I feel like Lamar [Jackson] has always been really good about avoiding getting hit hard,” Harbaugh said. “The only time he really gets hit is if he doesn’t see it, and that’s pretty rare, too. I know we see that … And you’re going to be concerned about that with any quarterback – quarterbacks can get hit in the pocket – but he’s got a knack.

“He’s done it his whole life; I think he’s just good at it, and he doesn’t really get hit that much and that hard.”

Last season, Jackson missed one game with an illness and then the final four games after suffering a bone bruise in his ankle against the Cleveland Browns. That mishap occurred while Jackson was in the pocket looking downfield, as opposed to running the ball.

“Do you know how the injury happened? Trying to pass in the pocket,” Jackson said. “I’ve been good [with] how I’ve been playing. But when I tried to shed and stay in the pocket, I got hurt for the first time. So, yes, I think it speaks for itself.”

The Ravens invested heavily in the offensive line this offseason to better protect Jackson.

Their playoff lives hinge on him being healthy.

“Of course, it’s football, and I think he’s going to have to manage and play the long game that way, certainly, but he’s done a good job of that thus far, and I kind of trust him with that,” Harbaugh said.

With Jackson on the sidelines, the Ravens will turn to Tyler Huntley to run the offense in the preseason. The snaps will be beneficial for him.

Huntley played well in the first preseason game against Tennessee, completing 16 for 18 passes for 109 yards with a touchdown for a 110.4 QB rating despite dealing with tendinitis in the shoulder.

“Just more taking [things] play-by-play,” Huntley said. “Really dialing in every play and taking everything that I could get out of the play. So, instead of looking at what I did bad or what’s next, or what’s coming up, I’m looking at the play we’ve got ahead. I feel like I’ve grown there, and that feels better.”

The Ravens’ other backup quarterbacks also had solid games against the Titans.

Anthony Brown was 10 of 15 for 117 yards with a 90.1 rating. Brett Hundley completed both of his passes for 42 yards.

However, the team will go as far as Jackson will take them.

We’ll probably have to wait until the regular season to see the beginning of that journey.

The post Avoiding the Hits appeared first on Russell Street Report.



Source: https://russellstreetreport.com/2022/08/15/street-talk/avoiding-the-hits/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=avoiding-the-hits


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