Eagles seek to extend Ravens QB Jackson’s slow start
Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has a healthy respect for Lamar Jackson, and that has not waned even though the speedy Baltimore Ravens quarterback has been slow out of the blocks to start this season.
Schwartz will hope to keep Jackson in neutral — or perhaps at least in a slower gear — on Sunday afternoon when the Ravens (4-1) visit the Eagles (1-3-1) in Philadelphia.
“Jackson is probably the most dangerous player in the league,” Schwartz said. “Because there are times you can do everything right on defense and can’t catch him, or he can throw a ball sidearm underneath of a free rusher and complete a pass.
“I think that you’ve got to have a resilient attitude when you play him, and you know that a playmaker like him is going to make some plays. You just have to limit his big plays, and you have to stay resilient. You can’t hang your (head) if he ends up making a play.”
Jackson completed just 19 of 37 passes for 180 yards in Baltimore’s 27-3 romp over Cincinnati last Sunday. Perhaps the more important numbers to digest were that the reigning NFL MVP rushed two times for a career-low 3 yards, although those numbers came on the heels of him missing two practices last week with a sore knee and a stomach bug.
“I’m good. I’m way better than I was last week,” Jackson said Wednesday.
Coach John Harbaugh said he isn’t overly concerned with the team’s offense, however.
“We’re just trying to move the ball and score points by any means necessary,” Harbaugh said. “There really are no rules in terms of what direction we go. We just want to find ways to get it done and we’re searching for those things on offense right now and we always will.”
While Baltimore’s 31st-ranked passing offense has barely gotten off the ground, its NFL-best scoring defense (15.2 points per game) has stepped up — namely rookie Patrick Queen. The AFC Defensive Player of the Week had a pair of fumble recoveries last week, including one that he returned 53 yards for a score.
Queen also had one of the Ravens’ seven sacks versus the Bengals, and that probably is a sore spot for Carson Wentz. The Eagles quarterback, after all, has been sacked an NFL second-most 19 times this season.
Wentz wasn’t spared in last week’s 38-29 setback to Pittsburgh, as he was sacked five times. In addition, he was picked off twice to boost his interception total to a league-high nine on the season.
A makeshift offensive line is partly to blame, and the Eagles didn’t exactly receive good news on that topic with three-time Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson this week soliciting a second opinion on his surgically repaired ankle. His status for this Sunday’s game remains in question.
Philadelphia’s offense saw both highs and lows last week. Wide receiver Travis Fulgham recorded career-high totals in receptions (10) and receiving yards (152), although three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz had just one for 6 yards.
Perhaps the return of some familiar faces will aid the Eagles, and we’re not talking players. A limited capacity of 7,500 fans will be allowed inside Lincoln Financial Field.
“We have been working very closely with state and local officials, public health experts, and the National Football League on a number of scenarios to safely bring Eagles fans back to Lincoln Financial Field,” Eagles president Don Smolenski said. “After many thoughtful and active discussions, we are thrilled to announce that the fan experience will return to Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday.”
Eagles wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (foot) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring) joined cornerback Avonte Maddox (ankle) and tight end Richard Rodgers (neck) in being limited in Wednesday’s practice.
Three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay (concussion) joined Johnson, defensive tackles Fletcher Cox (personal) and Hassan Ridgeway (illness) in sitting out practice on Wednesday.
Ravens cornerbacks Marcus Peters (thigh) and Jimmy Smith (knee) joined defensive end Calais Campbell (not injury related) and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley (shoulder) in failing to practice on Wednesday. Wide receiver/special teamer Chris Moore (finger/thigh) was limited.
–Field Level Media