Eisenberg: 50 Words Or Less


Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak jumbling their schedule, the Ravens are in a third straight "short week" of practice heading into Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at M&T Bank Stadium. It'll be their fourth game in 18 days. Remember when some were suggesting they somehow benefitted from the outbreak?

I can't remember the Ravens having a more forgiving late-December schedule with their last three opponents sporting a combined 8-30-1 record. But I still expect at least one of the games to prove scarier than anticipated. That's how the NFL is built, on the concept of "any given Sunday."

Among the many reasons why the Ravens are looking to their rushing game to carry them, don't forget this: It takes advantage of what their reshuffled and injury-depleted offensive line does best, i.e., run block, as opposed to pass protect. Those guys are literally crushing it right now.

Please note: Although the Jaguars are 1-12, quarterback Gardner Minshew has generally played well when healthy. He has tossed 14 touchdown passes to five picks, averaged 254 passing yards per game and generated a 93.4 quarterback rating. Their defense, ranked last in the league, has been a bigger problem.

Trace McSorley's opportunity didn't last long Monday night in Cleveland due to the knee injury knocking him out, but he was rising to the occasion in many respects before that. He exhibited poise and mobility, threw the ball on target and wasn't cowed by the high-stakes situation.

At that crazy, not-to-be-forgotten moment when McSorley went down, Lamar Jackson was still in the locker room and you wondered who would take a potentially decisive snap in a critical game, my guess was punter Sam Koch. I should have remembered that Willie Snead IV was a high school quarterback.

Limiting penalties continues to be a struggle for the Ravens, as only three teams have accrued more penalty yardage over the season. But one of those teams is the Jaguars, who also have hurt themselves with turnovers, as their minus-7 season ratio indicates. The Ravens (plus-4) fare much better there.

Defensive lineman Justin Madubuike's rookie season has included injuries and a stint on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, which made his strong performance against the Browns all the more impressive. He experienced a lot of adversity but persisted and came up big when needed. A good sign.

Few Ravens are more statistically predictable than Gus Edwards. After rushing for 718 yards as a rookie and 711 last season, he is on pace to rush for 714 this year. And after averaging 5.3 yards per carry in 2018 and 5.2 last season, he is averaging 5.0 this year.

For a vivid lesson in what it means to be a good teammate, check out Mark Ingram II's mic'd-up video from Monday night. Although he didn't see the field after the Ravens' first snap, he roamed the sidelines encouraging his teammates during a wild, back-and-forth game. That's a pro.

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