Ravens Reportedly Sweeten Chuck Clark's Contract in Restructure
The Ravens reportedly restructured Chuck Clark's contract, which not only opened up $750,000 in cap space, but also rewarded the veteran safety for his professionalism and leadership.
"The Ravens adjusted Chuck Clark's contract to get him [a] bit more this year and added some incentives to his deal," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec tweeted. "It's a nod/show of appreciation for how professionally Clark handled difficult situation this offseason."
The "difficult situation" Zrebec's referring to, of course, is that Clark's future in Baltimore appeared uncertain after the Ravens made a splash in free agency when they signed safety Marcus Williams and then drafted safety Kyle Hamilton with the 14th-overall selection.
Clark, who has started every game the past two seasons but one, admitted during training camp last month that he had requested a trade. When that didn't happen, Clark did what he has always done since the Ravens selected him in the sixth round in 2017: show up and work hard.
Rather than being the odd man out, Clark remains an integral part of the defense. His versatility is a valuable asset and allows the Ravens to implement three-safety looks.
Clark played a key role in last week's 24-9 win over the New York Jets. He had nine tackles and a forced fumble, played every snap, and wore the green dot as the unit's signal-caller.
"[He was] all over the field, all over the field. Chuck was instrumental in everything we did," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He was communicating the defenses out there. … Chuck played an excellent football game; pass defense, run game, organizing us. Excellent game."
Dolphins Beat Writer Says Ravens' Offensive Line Could Be in Trouble Sunday
Reporter Daniel Oyefusi knows the Ravens and the Miami Dolphins well. He covered the Ravens for two years with The Baltimore Sun and now is the Dolphins beat writer for The Miami Herald.
Oyefusi spoke with his former colleagues at The Sun to preview Sunday's game and gave his thoughts on where the Dolphins have the biggest advantage over the Ravens and where they are the most vulnerable.
"You never want to overreact to one game, especially a Week 1 game. But the Dolphins' defensive line looks like it could again give the Ravens' offensive line trouble," Oyefusi said. "Miami has a deep front, led by players such as Emmanuel Ogbah, Christian Wilkins, Jaelan Phillips and old friend Zach Sieler. Newcomer Melvin Ingram looked really good in his first game as a Dolphin. A lot of pressure will be on players such as center Tyler Linderbaum, left guard Ben Powers and potentially Patrick Mekari at left tackle to create push up front and give [Lamar] Jackson enough time in the pocket.
"Meanwhile, the Dolphins' upgraded offensive line looked solid but still appears to be a weak link in the new-look unit. The Dolphins rushed for only 65 yards, and protection broke down at times. Right tackle Austin Jackson left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. [Head Coach Mike] McDaniel said the injury is serious enough that it's something they'll have to monitor throughout the week. New additions Terron Armstead and center Connor Williams should steady the young group, but left guard Liam Eichenberg will need to play better than he did in Week 1, or in last season's matchup, for that matter. The Ravens got a good interior pass rush against the New York Jets, so that could be a key matchup Sunday."
There's been much talk this week about whether the Dolphins will unleash an all-out blitz assault on Jackson the way they did in last year's shocking 22-10 upset of the Ravens, and if they do, will the Ravens will have answers for it.
Oyefusi said: "I wouldn't expect much to change: Crowd the line of scrimmage, key on the Jackson-led run game and get the Ravens into third-and-long situations, where they can unleash 'Cover 0' again. With a full week of preparation, as opposed to last season's short turnaround, the Ravens should be better prepared, and the Dolphins will need to have counters ready. But why go away from what worked so well?"
Harbaugh said yesterday that the Ravens will be prepared if the Dolphins repeat their blitz-heavy approach.
"We would have been negligent if we hadn't worked on it," Harbaugh said. "It was something we needed to get a lot better at, and we studied it the whole offseason. We'll have a plan for it and hope it works, because these guys are probably the best in the league at doing it right now. They do it more than anybody, they do it better than anybody and it's just something they're committed to."
Lamar Jackson Rises in QB Rankings
After throwing three touchdown passes against the Jets, Jackson moved up one spot in two sets of quarterback rankings.
Jackson is ranked No. 6 by NFL.com and No. 7 by The Ringer.
"I care little about the slow start against the Jets. Lamar found his way into the game when it mattered most," NFL.com's Marc Sessler wrote. "He airmailed a piece of art in the form of a 55-yard laser to Rashod Bateman. He looked off the safety on a gorgeous scoring strike to Devin Duvernay. He utterly befuddled the Jets on a third-and-8 scramble to move the chains. I see an improved thrower inside a critical bet-on-yourself campaign."