Lamar Jackson rarely begs officials to call roughing the passer. He leads all NFL quarterbacks in rushing yards, but when Jackson gets hit, he doesn't complain and moves onto the next play.
However, watching some of the questionable roughing the passer flags being thrown around the league in recent weeks may coerce Jackson into lobbying for more calls.
"I about to start," Jackson said with a wry smile when asked why he doesn't beg for roughing the passer calls. "We've been needing some penalties, too, now – on our side
"If they see it, hopefully they make the call. I'm going to play football, but I'm going to start throwing my hands up, too. No hard feelings to the refs out there, but we need some calls."
Defensive players understand that there's line you can't cross when it comes to hitting quarterbacks. However, the calls haven't been consistent. Flags against the Falcons' Grady Jarrett and Chiefs' Chris Jones in the past two weeks have been widely scrutinized.
The Ravens will face Daniel Jones of the Giants on Sunday, a quarterback who runs more than most. Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell said he can't worry too much about drawing a penalty for hitting quarterbacks. His strategy for Sunday will be to adhere to his tackling techniques and hope for the best.
"It's tough," Campbell said. "Go back to my rookie year, you could pretty much do anything you want to a quarterback. Times have changed a lot. We get it. They want to keep the game safe, you make the rules to protect guys. But it does make it hard. It makes you let up on the quarterbacks a little more, but that's part of the game."
John Harbaugh Discusses His Respect for Wink Martindale and His Departure
Giants Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale is one of the major storylines heading into Sunday's Giants-Ravens game. Martindale spent 10 years on Baltimore's staff, including the last four as defensive coordinator. He has quickly had a positive impact on the Giants (4-1), who rank No. 12 in total defense.
Harbaugh described Martindale's departure from Baltimore as a mutual decision on both sides.
"We had great conversations throughout," Harbaugh said. "We were talking all the time. We're close, so it wasn't like a specific meeting. It was just kind of an opportunity to talk about where we were both going and what was best. I think we both came to that decision together, that's how I would like to look at it. I feel that way about it, and I think it's turning out great for him. [I have] nothing but admiration for what he's doing."
Harbaugh is not surprised by the Giants' fast start on defense.
"He's a great coach," Harbaugh said. "I've known Don, we've been friends since we were kids in coaching, [and] I'm proud of him for what he did here, obviously. He's doing a great job up there; they're playing great defense. So, nothing but respect and love."
Josh Oliver's Blocking Has Been Improving
Tight end Josh Oliver has played at least 30 percent of the offensive snaps in all five games this season, earning a spot in the tight end rotation with All-Pro Mark Andrews and rookie Isaiah Likely.
Oliver has caught two passes for eight yards, but has made an impression with some devastating blocks that have added physicality to the run game. Three-time Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard knows good blocking when he sees it, and he gave Oliver props on social media for a pancake block against the Bengals.
Andrews has been equally impressed.
"It's awesome to see him grasp this offense and flourish," Andrews said. "He's a powerful dude, but an extremely athletic guy. He's someone the defense has to respect because he's so athletic and so good at blocking. He's a big piece of our offense, he does a lot for us. He's really getting it. I'm proud of him."
Patrick Queen Puts Saquon Barkley at the Top for Running Backs
Inside linebacker Patrick Queen is coming off an excellent game against the Bengals, and one of his main assignments against the Giants will be to track running back Saquon Barkley. A homerun threat as both a runner and pass catcher, Barkley leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage, and Queen thinks Barkley is special.
"Hats off to him, he's probably the top back in the league," Queen said. "You've got to get all 11 hats to him, you've got to play with fire."
Harbaugh said keeping Barkley from doing major damage would be a key to the game.
"He has to be public enemy No. 1 for us," Harbaugh said. "Then, public enemy No. 1a is probably Daniel Jones, then their offensive line is playing really well, and the young tight ends and the receivers.
"Saquon Barkley is definitely the main guy. You can tell; they try to get him the ball every way they can. He's in the backfield, he's out of the backfield, he's a wide receiver, he's in screens, he's in every kind of screen there is, he has about every run. Oh, and then he plays quarterback, too. So, he's pretty impressive."