This time Lamar Jackson said he was sure.
The last time quarterback Voronov spoke in public, he felt great after Friday’s training session in preparation for the Chicago Bears. The illness that had kept him out of the field for the previous two days seems to have receded.
Later that night, he returned with a vengeance, leaving Jackson to sweat and flinch in his sleep. When game day came in Chicago, he was out of shape to play. He wrapped himself in a heavy coat and watched from the training room as his stunt double Tyler Huntley led the Ravens to a 16-13 comeback win.
Jackson returned to his routine on Wednesday, practicing and making upbeat statements to reporters.
“I’m positive. I’m sure. No relapses,” he said, laughing when he mentioned his health week on the roller coaster before the Bears game.
He said he has no doubts that he will be ready to start the match against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium. “I don’t want to talk about the disease,” he said. “I’m fine. … I think I have completely returned to my normal life. I want to go out and just go. ”
This season was unusual for Jackson, who started off brilliantly but missed four workouts due to three different cases of illness. He seems bewildered by his health problems and admitted that his battle with COVID-19 at the start of training camp may have made him more vulnerable, although he doesn’t know if that’s true.
“This is a good question; I have no answer,” he said.
Jackson has tested positive for the virus twice, first during week 12 of the 2020 season and then in July.
He reiterated that until this year he had rarely fought the disease, saying, “I don’t worry about it because I have been healthy all my life.”
Despite missing the Bears game, Jackson is ranked 13th in the NFL in passing and ninth in speed. He led the Ravens to four comebacks in the fourth quarter and finished first at AFC North.
His encounter with the Browns will be his first since the Ravens won 47 42 in Cleveland last December. Jackson disappeared during the second half, struggling to overcome debilitating convulsions, but exited the tunnel just in time to finish the Browns with a pair of assists. Even by Jackson’s great standards, he put on a real show for the football audience, Monday Night Football.
“Convulsions,” he said when asked what he remembered from that evening. “My whole body shrank. [Then] both teams score back and forth. It was just a competitive game to remember. ”
He will resume his personal rivalry with Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was picked 31st in the 2018 draft. While Jackson battled his immune system, Mayfield suffered a long list of injuries, including a torn upper lip and a fractured shoulder that did not lead to a throw. He lashed out at Brown this week after completing just 15 of 29 assists and throwing two interceptions in his team’s tight Sunday win over the losing Detroit Lions. He added that he was “disappointed” with his poor performance.
NBC analyst and former Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees said injuries changed Mayfield’s shooting mechanics.
“It absolutely affects it,” Brice said during a conference call on Tuesday. “I saw him – the game he returned to after the injury, I remember what I saw just before the game, they looked at him a lot, talked about his return and he had shoulder straps. And I just watch him throw, and I’m like, man, this is a different throw motion. It’s like his mechanics have changed a bit due to the fact that he doesn’t have the same range of motion as he would normally do with his front side, with his left side. ”
The former # 1 overall pick is ranked 27th on the ESPN QBR, an all-around quarterback figure, and some Browns fans have called for backup Kees Kinum to step in.
“Baker Mayfield – Opening Back; that’s who we’re going to prepare for, ”said Ravens Coach John Harbaugh. “We respect him immensely and what he is capable of, what he has done.”
Breeze hasn’t spent as much time studying Jackson’s play this year, but has admired the Ravens quarterback ever since he joined the league, in part because Breece’s eldest son, Baylen, is a No. 8 fan.
“I have admired his travels so far and seeing how this attack is built around him and his skill set,” said Brice. “He has such a unique skill set, and with everything they went through early in the season, having lost so many guys to injury, especially running defenders, I think that suggests that this attack revolves around him. And you can plug in many other parts. As long as you have him, he can make it work. ”
Jackson tormented himself watching the Ravens take the field without him in Chicago, but he calmed down watching Huntley, his former high school rival in South Florida, successfully take the reins into his own hands.
“I watched the game wrapped around me in a big old jacket,” Jackson said. “And then, when he made this last trip, I felt that I was no longer sick.”