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News & Notes: Lamar Jackson Is Working Hard, But 'You Can't Rush Mother Nature'

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson is staying involved with the Ravens' weekly preparation while he rehabs the knee injury that has kept him sidelined for three consecutive games.

Jackson missed his 11th straight practice Thursday, but he's staying involved with the game-planning heading into Baltimore's matchup on Sunday Night Football against the Steelers. Jackson and Tyler Huntley talk on a daily basis, providing Baltimore's backup quarterback with a valuable resource as he prepares for games.

"He's definitely engaged. He and Snoop are real tight," Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said. "With our backup quarterback, we've been able to go 3-1. I'm sure Lamar in his own way is contributing to that. I think he's a great teammate. They root for each other.

"Lamar's doing good. He's working hard, getting his rehab done. The way we feel, the sooner we can get him back, the better. Especially heading into the playoffs, let him get some work in before then. But you can't rush Mother Nature. We've got to make sure he's right at the same time."

Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews said the Ravens are confident Jackson will be fully prepared to play well whenever he returns.

"Lamar's been great," Andrews said. "You know they type of character he has, the spirit that he has. He's been handling his business, doing everything the right way, the Raven way. We all love him and excited for him to be able to get back."

Baltimore's O-Line Keeps Adding Wrinkles to Run Blocking

The versatility of Baltimore's offensive line is a key factor that makes the unit so effective. Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses are agile enough to make pulling blocks from the tackle position. Rookie center Tyler Linderbaum has the power and speed to attack both defensive linemen and linebackers. Guards Kevin Zeitler and Ben Powers are often involved in solo blocks or combination blocks that create holes for Baltimore's running backs.

Roman loves to get creative with the running game, and the talent of Baltimore's offensive line gives him plenty of tools to work with.

"These guys are doing a great job. They have a lot of fun with it, they're taking ownership in it," Roman said. "Every week it evolves, different little keys, different things. It's a real credit to those guys; they're really bought in. The one thing I can tell you is this: you can draw up all those plays, but if you can't have people that can block them, if you don't have guys that can actually do it, they're not going to work. The fact that they're able to do that is kind of why we've gravitated in that direction." 

Moses has been Baltimore's highest-graded defensive player by Pro Football Focus the past two weeks. Signed as a free agent this offseason, Moses seems to be raising his game late, settling into Roman's scheme even more as the season has progressed.

"We have a pretty extensive system," Roman said. "For a guy coming in, it's a little bit like, 'Woah,' not that he did that, but there's a natural evolution in getting comfortable with everything and being able to make the adjustments on the fly."

Containing George Pickens Will Be Focus for Ravens Defense

The Steelers have another talented young receiver in rookie George Pickens (47 catches, 700 yards, three touchdowns), who had the game-winning touchdown in Pittsburgh's Week 16 win over the Raiders. Pickens had three catches for 78 yards against Baltimore in Week 14, and watching him on film has gotten Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald's attention.

"He is a really good player," Macdonald said. "He's a guy that we have to account for at all times. Up until last game, [he] was doing most of his damage on the outside, on 50-50 go-balls and kind of all of the routes that come off of that. So, you can see his game start to diversify and evolve as it goes. He's a great a player, but we'll account for him wherever he's at."

Ravens Sixth-Round Pick Tyler Badie Signs With Broncos Practice Squad

The Denver Broncos announced they have signed running back Tyler Badie, Baltimore's sixth-round pick in this year's draft, to their practice squad.

Badie spent the season on Baltimore's practice squad before he was waived this week. He did not appear in any regular season games.

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