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News & Notes: Anthony Averett Has Opportunity to Show His Talent

CB Anthony Averett
CB Anthony Averett

As part of a secondary as talented as the Ravens', it has not been easy for Anthony Averett to earn playing time.

However, Averett's role is about to increase in the aftermath of Tavon Young's season-ending torn ACL suffered Sunday. Averett will move into the cornerback rotation behind starters Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters and veteran Jimmy Smith.

Averett played 23 of the team's 59 defensive snaps against the Houston Texas and Head Coach John Harbaugh liked what he saw from the third-year cornerback, who was a fourth-round pick out of Alabama in 2018.

"I thought he played well," Harbaugh said. "They were looking at him a little bit and he played well. They called him one time for illegal contact, I didn't see it on the tape. Can't fault the coverage there at all and he was running to the ball, had a couple of tackles.

"Anthony's not a concern for us. He's practiced really well, he's played well when he's played. He's kind of biding his time. This will certainly be his opportunity to step in there and show what he can do. He's played really well on special teams this year. We're not concerned about Anthony. We're excited to see him play."

Harbaugh confirmed that Young tore his ACL, but there was no other damage to his knee. This is the third season-ending injury for Young, who tore his ACL in 2017 and missed last season following neck surgery. However, Harbaugh expects Young to rehab with his normal tenacity.

"It's only an ACL, so that's a positive," Harbaugh said. "He'll have surgery and go into rehab. He'll fight his way back, there's no question about it. Our hearts go out to him on that. We'll be supporting him all the way."

Lamar Jackson's Accuracy Continues to Impress

Lamar Jackson is completing 77.6 percent of his passes through two games, making him the second-most accurate among NFL quarterbacks who have thrown at least 45 passes. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks (82.5 percent) is the only quarterback whose completion percentage is higher.

With each season, Jackson keeps changing the narratives about his game. Those who expressed concern about his accuracy are watching Jackson make throws that are dissecting defenses even when coverage is tight.

Jackson is a perfectionist, and following Sunday's game he talked about two throws he wanted back – a low throw to Patrick Ricard that he still caught for a touchdown and a pass that was too high for Marquise Brown in the end zone.

However, the Ravens were impressed with Jackson's arm strength, work ethic and ability to see the entire field when they scouted him before the draft. Harbaugh said they always believed Jackson would develop into a dynamic passer.

"I don't think he was an inaccurate passer in college," Harbaugh said. "It's one thing to look at the numbers. It's another thing to look at the player. When you watch Lamar, we feel like he had arm talent and he had accuracy.

"A lot of the missed throws that he had were more about technique than anything else. He's just done a great job. He's really worked on his base. He's cleaned up his footwork. The angle of his release? People that was a negative when they watched. It turned out to be one of his greatest strengths. You can never make assumptions about what you're looking at all the time and generalize too much. When you watch him day in and day out, you can't help but say he's a very accurate passer. He puts the ball where it needs to be in some really tight spaces on a regular basis. The accurate arm ability was always there."

Chris Moore and Justin Madubuike Getting Closer to Practice Return

Two players who haven't practiced since the regular season started are getting closer to returning – wide receiver Chris Moore (finger) and defensive lineman Justin Madubuike (knee). Harbaugh didn't rule out the possibility of Moore returning to special teams action Monday night (Sept. 28) against the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I'd say they have a chance to practice this week at some point in time," Harbaugh said. "We'll have to see how much they're able to do. Chris Moore, if he's able to do enough, he could play special teams, he could jump right in there."

Harbaugh said it might take Madubuike more time to be ready for game action, even if he returns to practice this week.

"Justin, he's a rookie," Harbaugh said. "We'd have to see enough to feel comfortable with him out there Monday night."

Sack*s Allowed* Are Not Major Concern

After only being sacked 23 times in 15 starts last season, Jackson has already been sacked six times this year – twice in Week 1 and four times against the Texans.

The Ravens never want to see Jackson sacked. However, considering the emphasis that opponents put on trying to contain Jackson, the sack numbers are not alarming this early in the season. Jackson has not thrown an interception yet, willing to take the sack rather than throwing the ball up for grabs.

"Nobody wants to let the quarterback just sit back there and do his thing," Harbaugh said. "[The Texans have] really good pass rushers. They did get four sacks. They did a really good job with their cage rush. They left Lamar with nowhere to go a couple of times just with good coverage and rush.

"I thought he made good decisions, held onto the ball in the pocket. Sometimes you've got to take the sack. I felt better about it after watching the tape than I did watching the game. We did a better job probably than I thought. Not great about four sacks, but that is a good pass rush team. In the end, we just got to try to keep getting better at everything every single day."

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