Lamar Jackson expects to be nervous before a big game like Sunday's AFC championship, but he has learned how to handle those emotions.
Jackson said last week that he was feeling antsy prior to the divisional round playoff game against the Texans. Yet, Jackson kept his composure and dominated the second half, running for two touchdowns and throwing for another as Baltimore pulled away for a 34-10 victory.
There's even more at stake this weekend with Jackson one victory away from reaching his first Super Bowl. However, Jackson knows dealing with nerves is part of the process and has learned how to cope with it.
"I've been in games where it's one of the games of the week and I'm hyped, everyone else is hyped, and when I get on the field, I'm tired," Jackson said. "I'm pretty much being cool, calm and collect until the ball is snapped and the whistle is blown."
Jackson also leans on his faith to stay calm.
"Because of my faith, knowing that God is with me through whatever I'm going through, I just put my trust in Him and pretty much go with the flow," Jackson said. "I really don't have pressure, or overthink anything."
All-Pro safety Kyle Hamilton said the team usually feeds off Jackson, and he's putting out positive vibes.
"I have only been here two years, but I feel like there is a little something different there," Hamilton said. "This year, Lamar is a big leader for us. Everybody on this team looks to him for energy and good vibes, and he brings that every single day. No matter what is going on in the building, no matter what is going on in the game, he is going to be the same Lamar."
Jackson and John Harbaugh Sense City's Excitement
The Ravens have been laser-focused on practicing and preparing for the Chiefs, but they're not oblivious to how excited fans are in Baltimore and the surrounding area for the biggest football game in more than 50 years.
"I'm kind of in a cocoon, but I think people are probably excited is my guess," Harbaugh said. "I'm excited for the town. I think of someone like (former Baltimore Colt) Tom Matte and his wife. They went to high school with my mom. When we came to town, they were the first ones to reach out, Tom and Judy Matte. I think what this would've meant to him, to have this game in Baltimore. Things like that, they're meaningful."
Jackson said he can feel the excitement with the Ravens being one of the last four teams remaining in the playoffs.
"I mean, I'm excited," Jackson said. "I see it on social media – all the fans. I'm getting tagged every day, all day, so I'm definitely seeing it. I know what's going on. I understand what's at stake for the city and how everyone feels about the team, so definitely."
Jackson Is Aware of His 'Johnny' Buzz
It was Oct. 14, the day before the Ravens took on the Tennessee Titans in London, when Jackson answered a social media riddle with the correct answer – "Johnny."
Since then, Jackson has lost just one game and social media has had plenty of fun with the streak.
"Yes, I did (notice)" Jackson said chuckling.
Joe Hortiz Completes Second Interview With Chargers
Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz has completed his second interview for the Chargers general manager position. The Chargers hired Jim Harbaugh as their new head coach earlier this week.
Hortiz has spent his entire career with the Ravens, starting in 1998 and climbing the scouting ranks. He's been the Ravens' director of player personnel since 2019.
John Harbaugh will coach against his brother next season when the Ravens visit Los Angeles and would have rather seen Jim join an NFC team. However, he has no doubt the Chargers will be successful with his brother at the helm.
"The Chargers just got themselves a great, great football coach," Harbaugh said. "The players are going to love him. The city's going to love him, and they're going to be very formidable."