Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:
The Ravens have come to view Patrick Mekari as part of their O-line solution, as his contract extension illustrates, mostly because he is a determined technical craftsman who can play all five positions. But it's also important he is just 24. The team desperately needs to get younger up front.
If Tyler Huntley starts Sunday (my hunch), the Rams will throw plenty of star power at him between Aaron Donald, Von Miller, Jalen Ramsey, etc. But I still like Huntley's chances of making plays against a defense ranked No. 22 against the pass and No. 16 in total defense.
I've been around long enough to remember Michael Jackson amassing 1,201 receiving yards for the Ravens in their first year in Baltimore. No one thought it would stand as a franchise record for 25 seasons. And certainly, no one thought a tight end would be the one to break it.
Mark Andrews shouldn't have much trouble getting the 15 yards he needs to pass Jackson Sunday. I'm guessing the Rams will cook something up to try to limit his impact, given how well he is playing. But I wouldn't want to be the one responsible for trying to limit Andrews.
Having grabbed just six interceptions so far in 2021, the Ravens could really stand to up their game Sunday in particular. Their chances may hinge on their ability to force a mistake or two out of Matthew Stafford, who has thrown an interception in five of his past seven games.
Hearing Huntley say Friday that he experienced some "tough" symptoms while dealing with COVID-19 last week, it's worth remembering that coming off the Reserve/COVID-19 list is one thing, being able to play is another and being able to play well is yet another. These guys are not robots.
My John Madden reminiscence: I interacted with him quite a bit in his broadcasting days. He always returned a phone call, always gave thoughtful answers. I'll remember his great sense of fun, a quality we all could use right now. And I'm quite sure no one loved football more.
As we near the end of a season when injuries and illnesses have done so much harm to the Ravens' prospects, let's salute the players who have survived the onslaught and started every game – linebackers Tyus Bowser and Patrick Queen and O-linemen Bradley Bozeman, Alejandro Villanueva and Kevin Zeitler.
It's too bad tackle Ja'Wuan James was unable to play this season, despite his best efforts to recover quickly from an Achilles tear suffered earlier this year. But his signing was always about 2022, and for sure, he'll be in the mix for a spot in the starting five.
To be clear, the Los Angeles Rams have never played a regular-season game in Baltimore. They were the St. Louis Rams when they visited in 1996, 2007 and 2015. They did share joint practices with the Ravens and played a preseason game here as the Los Angeles Rams in 2019.