Before the Ravens kick off their 2022 season, here are my thoughts in 50 words or less:
Not going to dive deep into the lack of a Lamar Jackson extension except to say he has always been very confident in his abilities and doesn't play scared. When people said he couldn't play quarterback, he proved them wrong. When they said he ran too much, he kept running.
I'm still very confident that the two sides will reach a contract extension at some point. The most important thing is that Jackson is in a Ravens uniform and both parties still want a future together. The Ravens have been down this road before with Joe Flacco. That worked out.
Speaking of quarterback running, watching the Bills' Josh Allen take on linebackers in Thursday night's opener is another reminder of the double standard Jackson plays under. Jackson would be getting crushed on social media if he did that. Let players play and enjoy their passion instead of worrying for them.
Plenty of folks said Allen is better suited to play like that because he's much bigger than Jackson. Allen is three inches taller, but now only seven pounds heavier (237-230). Jackson will keep avoiding hits with his quickness, but I wonder if he'll lower the shoulder a little more now.
It remains to be seen which of the Ravens' three players returning from major injuries – Ronnie Stanley, J.K. Dobbins, and Marcus Peters – will play Sunday, but all deserve props for getting this far. We don't get a glimpse into the back room for rehabs, but it's grueling.
The Ravens have been consistently patient in bringing back their rehabbing stars. Dobbins pushed hard to practice ASAP, but even he was held back. Baltimore knows that to have the championship season everyone hopes for, the long game matters. Having those players as close to top shape is paramount.
The Jets' issues at offensive tackle remind me of where the Ravens were last season when Alejandro Villanueva practiced at right tackle but had to go back to left after Week 1. That's George Fant this week after the Jets lost two starters (Mekhi Becton and Duane Brown) to injuries.
Odafe Oweh knows there's obvious history between the Ravens and Flacco, but he said his sole focus Sunday is to sack the quarterback. Given the Jets' offensive line issues and Flacco's lack of mobility at this point, Oweh has a golden opportunity to get off to a hot start.
Many expect Flacco will let it rip Sunday against the Ravens, but we've all seen his proclivity for check-downs as well. With the tackle issues, Flacco will probably look to get the ball out quick to speedy receivers Elijah Moore and rookie Garrett Wilson. Baltimore needs to tackle well.
Another reunion that has flown under the radar this week is going against C.J. Mosley, who was on injured reserve when these teams met in 2019. It seemed like Mosley would be in Baltimore for a long time after he sealed the AFC North crown with an interception in 2018.