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Friday, December 3, 2021

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is feeling ‘much better’, aiming to catch up for game vs Bears after returning from illness

There was no long secret as the Ravens began practice on Friday. Lamar Jackson cut around the field in his familiar black No. 8 jersey, spiraling despite the foggy cold at Owings Mills.

Jackson was back and feeling “better than I was a few days ago” after missing the team’s last two practices due to an illness which he described as “like a cold”. He was joined by two of his top targets, Marquis “Hollywood” Brown and Rashod Bateman, who missed preparation for Sunday’s road game against the Chicago Bears.

His presence dispelled short-term fears that the Ravens would face the Bears with a less aggressive arsenal. Jackson nonetheless faced questions about the impact of his periodic absence, especially as the team tries to bounce back from a disappointing 22-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

“I definitely feel less prepared, because I want to be out with my guys,” he said after practicing on Friday. “I know I’m behind, because those guys were still out on the field, which they should have been doing, getting better every day. I’m probably 2% behind them right now. I have to catch up.”

When Jackson missed practice on Thursday, it was the fourth time this season that he has been absent due to an illness. He also missed two exercises due to back pain and was not on the field at the start of the training camp as he tested positive for COVID-19.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Jackson looked good in practice, but acknowledged the difficulty of trying to fix coordinator Greg Roman’s offense when key players are in and out.

“It’s not ideal,” Harbaugh said. “It would be better if those people are practiced there,” he said. Practice is very important. That’s how you become good at what you are doing. That’s how you stuff things with oil. So that’s a factor.”

Jackson’s bouts with the disease have turned Ravens fans into a community of amateur nurses, speculating about the welfare of the 24-year-old athletic phenom.

“They are showing concern,” Jackson said. “I appreciate it, the fans are showing concern for their QB. I love him. I love him.”

He speculated that sudden temperature changes may have contributed to his illnesses, saying, “Usually, I don’t get sick. I used to eat my Flintstones vitamins when I was a little kid; my immune system must be good.”

Teammates have downplayed the importance of Jackson’s absence.

“I really don’t think it’s a big deal,” said center Bradley Bozeman, who missed practice Wednesday because of an illness. Need to. He is watching the drama, he is getting everything right at home. When he comes back in, he doesn’t miss a step. They’ve done it week in and week out. They’ve continued to build on that, stepping up to the plate whenever they need to, so I don’t see that as an issue.

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So far, that approach has been correct. The Ravens are 3-0 this season after weeks in which Jackson missed at least one practice, and that includes some of his better performances in those games.

The Ravens, on the other hand, have struggled to get their offense back on track in the first half of recent games, and are coming off their worst offensive of the season against the Dolphins. Jackson’s absence, coupled with his top two wide receivers, Brown and Bateman, made it more difficult for him to work the kinks ahead of his Sunday matchup with the Bears.

Brown missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a thigh injury, and Bateman was absent on Thursday due to an illness.

Despite being hit repeatedly as a ball carrier, Jackson has been a durable player, missing just two games in four seasons – one for rest and the other after testing positive for COVID-19 last November.

The Ravens have been relying on him more than ever this season, and have moved up to finish ninth in the league and eighth in running.

The loss to the Dolphins, in which Jackson repeatedly struggled to counter the cover 0 blitz, was an exception. He said the only thing he can do is “move on.”

“If we see them again, it will be different,” he said. “The coaches got it right. We got it right. We’ve all gotten into it, and we’re going to do something if we see Cover 0 again. We will have the answer.”

He quickly turned the page, traveling to Louisville two days after the Dolphins game to see his alma mater retire his college number. He reunited with former teammates and shed some “man tears” as a video tribute to commemorate the occasion.

Then, he fell ill again. Jackson said that when he misses drills, he’s not as concerned about falling behind on a game plan as he is about losing his collective sharpness with teammates.

“I try to stay in it, reaching out to the coaches, the coaches contacting me to see what’s going on,” he said. “It’s just chemistry, being with my guys, hitting them out on numbers, throwing the ball at them and things like that, getting the ball downfield and just continuing our chemistry. Maybe it is.”

injury report

Offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuhi, wide receiver Miles Boykin, defensive linemen Brandon Williams (shoulder) and Kallis Campbell, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee), linebacker Christian Welch and cornerback Anthony Everett were not present for Friday’s practice.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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