Dec 31, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) enters the field before the game against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson on 20-day layoff, ‘antsy’ for playoffs

Lamar Jackson ends a 20-day layoff and the Ravens open the playoffs in their divisional round matchup with the Houston Texans on Saturday in Baltimore.

Baltimore and Jackson served a statement victory on New Year’s Eve, whipping the Miami Dolphins, 56-19.

Jackson was rested during the Week 18 loss to the Steelers, followed by a bye week, and spent down time looking at the first matchup with the Texans, a 25-9 win for the Ravens in Week 1.

Houston “didn’t give me a chance to run” and sacked Jackson four times in the opener. The Ravens had only 265 yards total offense, 18 first downs and averaged 3.4 yards per carry on 32 rushing attempts. That was all part of a first effort under new coordinator Todd Monken, and the lack of cohesiveness showed in the form of 13 penalties.

What did Jackson see when he reviewed recent footage of the Texans?

“They are playing lights out ball right now,” he said.

Jackson described his energy as “antsy” on Tuesday, and isn’t thinking about past postseason shortcomings.

He wasn’t available for the 2022 playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals due to a knee injury. That 24-17 defeat was started by Tyler Huntley.

And while the Ravens didn’t reach the postseason in 2021, Jackson’s two-game playoff run after the 2020 season wasn’t memorable. He had a 68.1 passer rating, zero touchdowns and two interceptions over two games: a 20-13 win at Tennessee over the Titans and a 17-3 loss to the Bills in Buffalo.

On the heels of a 14-2 regular season in 2019, Jackson threw for 365 yards but lost to the Titans (28-12) with Tennessee harassing Jackson with four sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

But Ravens coach John Harbaugh said there’s no player more prepared for these playoffs than Jackson.

“Lamar’s ready to go. The guys are ready to go,” Harbaugh said.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens  quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) warms up prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson puts vice-grip on second MVP award

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh hasn’t decided if Lamar Jackson will play in Week 18, but it likely doesn’t matter when it comes to the NFL Most Valuable Player award.

Jackson all but locked up his second MVP in five years with his five-touchdown performance in Sunday’s 56-19 dismantling of the visiting Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Jackson, who assumed the lead in the MVP race following last week’s win at San Francisco, is now the -10000 favorite at BetMGM and -20000 favorite at DraftKings.

His closest competitors are Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, who is +1800 at both books, and 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, who is being offered at +2500 by BetMGM and +3000 by DraftKings.

Jackson’s main wart on his MVP resume had been modest passing stats, which included 19 touchdown passes through the first 15 games. He squashed that by throwing five against the Dolphins. That brings his total to 24, which would match the lowest total for an MVP-winning quarterback set by Tennessee’s Steve McNair.

Whether Jackson will have an opportunity to build on that total in the regular-season finale remains to be seen. The Ravens have clinched the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

For his part, Jackson wants to play. Baltimore has a bye week ahead of its first playoff game, and Jackson recalled last week that the Ravens were upset in their playoff opener in his first MVP season in 2019.

“I’ve given a lot of thought to it, and it was all hypothetical until just now,” Harbaugh said about Jackson’s status for Week 18 following the Dolphins’ game. “I’m sure I’ll talk to Lamar, and I’m sure he’s going to want to play. But, we’re going to have to talk about that and decide what we want to do. You can only take six players out of the equation. There’s going to be injuries anyway, so it’s not like the preseason. You’re playing your team except for whoever you end up taking out.

“We’re going to have to have the conversation. We have not made any decision there yet.”

In addition to 24 touchdown passes and 3,678 passing yards, Jackson has rushed for 821 yards and another five scores through 16 games.

Ironically, it was the Steelers that Jackson sat out against in the 2019 regular-season finale, only for the Ravens to struggle offensively in an AFC Divisional Round upset to Tennessee.

“We remember 2019. It’s not something we’re going to forget,” Harbaugh said. “You’re not going to take it for granted. Not that we ever would, but it’s one more thing that makes you who you are at this point in time. We haven’t forgotten that.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 12, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice (4) is hit by Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson (22) during the fourth quarter at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Broncos release CB Kareem Jackson

The Denver Broncos released cornerback Kareem Jackson on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Jackson has served two suspensions for a total of six games this season due to hits deemed unnecessary roughness by the NFL.

Jackson’s second suspension just concluded and the Broncos didn’t activate him for Sunday night’s 26-23 loss to the New England Patriots.

If Jackson clears waivers, it is possible he will be signed to the Broncos’ practice squad.

Jackson drew a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Green Bay Packers tight end Luke Musgrave on Oct. 22. He later was suspended for four games, one day after a high blow to Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs on Nov. 19.

Overall, Jackson has been fined a total of $89,670 this season for four illegal hits. He also has lost more than $838,000 in missed game checks.

Jackson, 35, has 51 tackles, two interceptions and three passes defensed in eight games (all starts) this season.

Jackson is in his 14th season in the NFL and his fifth with Denver after nine with the Houston Texans. He has 952 tackles and 22 career interceptions, returning three for touchdowns. He also has seven fumble recoveries, one returned for a score.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson (22) celebrates after intercepting a Chicago Bears pass in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Suspended Broncos S Kareem Jackson to meet with Roger Goodell

Suspended Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson said he is meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in New York on Wednesday to discuss his latest punishment.

Saying he feels like a “poster child,” Jackson spoke Tuesday night for the first time since receiving a four-game ban on Nov. 20 for repeated violations of player safety rules.

“For me, I see a lot of the same things happening around the league where guys aren’t going through what I’m going through — no flags, no fines, no suspensions,” Jackson said.

“I’m not really sure why I’m being treated the way I’m being treated. I’m making regular football plays, nothing malicious, in my opinion,” Jackson said. “I just want to know why I’m the only person going through what I’m going through.”

Jackson had just returned from a two-game suspension when he was banned four more games without pay after his hit against Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs on Nov. 19.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan issued the suspension and detailed the violation in a letter to Jackson.

“With 13:38 remaining in the first quarter, you were involved in a play that the League considers a serious violation of the playing rules,” Runyan wrote in the letter. “The video of the play shows that you lowered your head and made forcible contact to Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs. You had an unobstructed path to your opponent and the illegal contact could have been avoided.

“Illegal acts that are flagrant and jeopardize the safety of players will not be tolerated. The League will continue to stress enforcement of the rules that prohibit using your helmet to make forcible contact with your opponent. On the play in question, you lowered your head and delivered a forceful blow to the shoulder and head/neck area of an opponent when you had time and space to avoid such contact. You could have made contact with your opponent within the rules, yet you chose not to.”

Jackson was not penalized on the play. Barring a successful appeal, he is not eligible to return to the active roster after the Week 15 game against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 17.

Jackson said he tried to get some answers from the league during his initial suspension but was unsuccessful.

“There’s no clarity, a lot of gray area,” Jackson said. “I asked them a ton of questions and told them I’ll be in the same situations. How am I supposed to play or how am I supposed to go about these situations?”

“So, hopefully, something comes from this meeting. I don’t think much will, because I don’t even think they know,” he added. “At this point, I feel like I’m the poster child for whatever they’re trying to get across or prove. So, we’ll see.”

So far this season, Jackson has been ejected from two games, suspended for six and fined a total of $89,670 for four illegal hits. The missed game checks are costing him an additional $837,000.

Jackson, 35, has 51 tackles, two interceptions and three passes defended in eight games (all starts) this season.

Jackson is in his 14th season in the NFL and his fifth with Denver after nine with the Houston Texans. He has 952 tackles and 22 career interceptions, returning three for touchdowns. He also has seven fumble recoveries, one returned for a score.

–Field Level Media

Feb 3, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) during AFC practice for the Pro Bowl at Las Vegas Ballpark.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick expects CB J.C. Jackson back after bye week

New England coach Bill Belichick expects cornerback J.C. Jackson to return to the team before the Patriots play the New York Giants on Nov. 26.

“Yeah, I think he’ll be available,” Belichick told reporters Friday in Frankfurt, Germany, where New England plays the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday before a bye week. “No, he’s not on the trip.”

Belichick declined Friday to explain the decision to have Jackson stay home this week.

Sports Illustrated reported earlier this week that Jackson was late to the team hotel on Nov. 4, resulting in him being benched to begin New England’s game against the Washington Commanders.

The Patriots could turn to cornerbacks Jonathan Jones, Jack Jones, Myles Bryant, Shaun Wade and Alex Austin to play in place of Jackson, who was acquired by the team in October. Bryant (chest) and Jonathan Jones (knee) have been limited practice participants and are questionable for the game.

Jackson, who turns 28 on Nov. 17, played for New England from 2018-21. He signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Chargers in March 2022 but played only five games that season due to injury.

He has recorded 190 tackles, 61 passes defensed and 26 interceptions in 74 games (49 starts) with the Patriots and Chargers. He won Super Bowl LIII with New England and made the Pro Bowl in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Brendan Sorsby (15) passes in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana still deciding on QB1 for Rutgers game

Indiana coach Tom Allen has not named a starting quarterback for this weekend’s home game against Rutgers.

The Hoosiers (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) rotated Tayven Jackson and Brendan Sorsby in Saturday’s 52-7 loss at No. 2 Michigan.

Allen said Monday that the coaching staff is still evaluating who will start against the Scarlet Knights (5-2, 2-2).

He added that whoever starts this Saturday will be under center for the rest of the season.

“This person will be the guy,” Allen said, per the Indianapolis Star. “I’m not going to rotate them back and forth.”

Jackson completed 7 of 13 passes for 52 yards and two interceptions against the Wolverines, while Sorsby threw for 44 yards on 6-of-15 passing and was sacked three times.

“Both of them did some good things on Saturday, both of them made mistakes, but it’s about protecting the football, it’s about running the offense and being effective with that,” Allen said.

Jackson, a redshirt freshman, has completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 914 yards, two TDs and five picks in six games.

Sorsby, also a redshirt freshman, has completed 51.7 percent of his throws for 294 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in four games.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA;   Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) takes a pass into the end zone past Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) for a touchdown in the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Demoted CB J.C. Jackson asks Chargers for explanation

Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson is waiting for an explanation about why he was inactive last week at Minnesota.

“I’m still kind of confused and don’t have answers to why I’m getting treated like this,” Jackson said.

Los Angeles coach Brandon Staley, who was non-committal about playing Jackson this week against the Las Vegas Raiders, said the decision is about more than gameday. He confirmed Jackson was a healthy inactive against the Vikings.

“All options are open,” Staley said of the possibility of Jackson being a healthy inactive for a second consecutive game.

“It will just be determined by what he does — preparation, practice, all of that cumulative stuff.”

The Chargers allowed 18 pass plays of 15 or more yards in Week 1 to the Dolphins, a highlight-reel game for wide receiver Tyreek Hill. But Jackson did intercept a pass in the loss.

And in 2022, Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams had 18 receptions for 318 yards and three touchdowns in two matchups with the Chargers.

In three games this season, Los Angeles has yielded 1,011 passing yards, seven touchdowns and a completion percentage of 67.2.

Injuries are part of the complete picture with Jackson. He had surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon after the Week 7 injury last season.

But Jackson, in the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract, insists he’s doing everything he can and a little bit extra to try to return to the good graces of the coaching staff.

“I don’t know, what else do they expect me to do? I told coach what else do you expect me to do?” Jackson told NFL Network.

“I’ve been doing everything. I came back from my injury pretty fast. I’ve been putting in extra work after practice, even in meeting rooms.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 12, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Deon Jackson (35) against Buffalo Bills safety Taylor Rapp (20) in the first quarter of a pre-season game at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Colts releasing RB Deon Jackson

The Indianapolis Colts are releasing Week 1 starter Deon Jackson and signing fellow running back Trey Sermon from the practice squad, NFL Network reported Saturday.

Jackson rushed for just 14 yards on 13 carries and gained only 14 yards on five receptions in the season-opening 31-21 loss to Jacksonville on Sept. 10.

Zack Moss got the start in Week 2 at Houston and gained 107 yards from scrimmage on 22 touches and scored on an 11-yard run in the Colts’ 31-20 victory.

With 2021 NFL rushing champion Jonathan Taylor still on the physically unable to perform list, Moss will remain the RB1 for the Colts (1-1) in Sunday’s game in Baltimore against the Ravens (2-0).

Jackson, 24, rushed for 281 yards and two touchdowns and caught 35 passes for 223 yards and one score in 27 games (three starts) over the last three seasons in Indianapolis. He was undrafted out of Duke in 2021.

Sermon, 24, was a third-round pick by San Francisco in 2021. He has rushed for 186 yards and one TD and has three receptions for 26 yards in 11 games (two starts) with the 49ers (2021) and Philadelphia Eagles (2022).

–Field Level Media

Indiana's Tayven Jackson (2) passes during the first half of the Indiana versus Indiana State football game at Memorial Stadium on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023.

Indiana chooses Tayven Jackson as starting QB

Tayven Jackson has been named Indiana’s starting quarterback after sharing time with Brendan Sorsby over the first two games.

Hoosiers coach Tom Allen noted that the offense played with more energy during Jackson’s time on the field so he opted to end the splitting time method leading into Saturday’s game against Louisville at Indianapolis.

Jackson went 18 of 21 for 236 yards in last Friday’s 41-7 victory over FCS program Indiana State. Sorsby was 9-of-16 passing for 108 yards.

“We’ve got two quarterbacks I believe can both successfully lead our program and do great things on game day,” Allen said on Monday. “I felt like we needed to get full game evaluation because it was so close and to be able to see, ‘OK, who moves the ball down the field and scores points?’

“That’s really what it comes down to at the end of the day, and there’s a field presence you have during games.”

Sorsby started the Sept. 2 season-opening 23-3 loss to then-No. 3 Ohio State and completed 8 of 16 passes for 58 yards. Jackson was 1 of 5 for 24 yards in relief. Both players are redshirt freshmen.

Jackson is the brother of former Indiana basketball All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis. He initially chose Tennessee and opted to transfer to Indiana after last season.

Sorsby got into one game last season and went 3 for 6 for 8 yards and an interception against Penn State.

“I know they both want to be the guy, I get that,” Allen said. “You’re competitive. You want to be in this position. But Tayven knows he’s got to perform, and Brendan knows he’s got to be ready. That’s the reality of competition and performing at an elite level.”

–Field Level Media

Jul 27, 2023; Owings Mills, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) smiles at a fan with Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken standing in the background following training camp practice at Under Armour Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

New Ravens OC taking input from Lamar Jackson on routes, plays

In his first season as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, Todd Monken is making sure to build some rapport with his star quarterback.

Lamar Jackson, fresh off signing a five-year, $260 million contract in the offseason, said he has shown Monken plays and receiver routes he likes and Monken has implemented them into Baltimore’s offense at training camp.

On the TV broadcast of Baltimore’s preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday, Jackson spoke about his budding relationship with Monken in an interview.

“It’s great,” Jackson said. “I’ve been sending him plays of stuff I’ve been seeing, and he’s been putting them in practice, and they’re working. So it’s like, I’m glad he’s listening to me, man.”

Come Tuesday, after a joint practice with the Washington Commanders, Jackson told reporters Monken and the coaching staff have been receptive to using some particular routes he saw online.

“I was just on social media, and I saw a couple of routes, and I sent it to (quarterbacks) Coach Tee (Martin) and he was like, ‘I’m going to relay the message to Coach (Todd) Monken,’” Jackson said, according to ESPN. “Coach Monken liked the play, so he put it in practice. We didn’t show it today, but I feel like it will be good for us.”

Jackson, who won NFL Most Valuable Player honors in his second season, is no longer a fresh face in the league. He enters his sixth NFL campaign with his contract situation settled — and rising expectations to bring the Ravens further into the playoffs. Baltimore has won one playoff game since drafting Jackson in 2018.

Due to injuries and illness, Jackson has not finished the regular season in either of the past two years.

Head coach John Harbaugh encourages Jackson interest in suggesting plays.

“He’s a guy (who) thinks about football a lot — it’s on his mind — and I think he always had his ideas,” Harbaugh said Tuesday. “He had a couple good ones, I can tell you that.”

–Field Level Media