News & Notes: Brandon Williams Wants to Put His Stamp on Browns


Brandon Williams didn't play in one game this season – Week 4 against the Cleveland Browns.

It was an odd situation, as Williams practiced all week, then was added to the injury report on Saturday with a knee injury.

Without the Ravens' big run stuffer in the middle, the Browns rushed for 193 yards that day, including 165 and three touchdowns from Nick Chubb.

So how does Williams feel this time around?

"I missed the last time, so I definitely want to go in there and give everything I got and definitely help my team to a victory," Williams said Thursday.

Williams has been playing at an extremely high level since then and has been a big reason why the Ravens are ranked fifth in the league in run defense (96.1 yards per game).

He was tied for the team lead in tackles in Buffalo (seven). He stuffed plays at the line of scrimmage and even impressively tracked ball carriers down once they reached the edges of Baltimore's defense.

The San Francisco 49ers and Bills had some success hitting the perimeter of Baltimore's defense, but nobody has run up the middle on the Ravens, thanks in large part to Williams and fellow defensive tackle Michael Pierce.

"What Brandon and Michael bring to us – they're two centerpieces to the defense," Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale said. "What they bring to the defense is unbelievable.

"Every week on Saturdays, when we do the goals [for that game], they're the 'FSU Brothers.' I can just tell you that 'up' is the last word of that. Neither one of them went to Florida State, so you can understand where we're going with that and that's what they do."

The Ravens have 12 Pro Bowlers this year, and thus little to gripe about. But Williams made the AFC's squad last year and had another very strong case to repeat this season. Same with Pierce.

"I feel I'm playing at the best level I can to help my team win," Williams said. "I'm looking for something bigger, so I'm not worried about that."

Lamar Jackson's Red-Zone Prowess Is Off the Charts

Lamar Jackson has a lot of mind-boggling stats this year. After all, he just broke Michael Vick's single-season rushing record for a quarterback.

But Jackson's efficiency in the red zone this season has to be one of his most impressive feats.

Jackson leads the NFL with 33 touchdown passes. Twenty-two of those have come in the red zone with zero interceptions.

Jackson's 62.5 completion percentage inside the 20-yard line is one of the league's best. Seattle's Russell Wilson, who is Jackson's top MVP challenger and has 28 touchdowns, has completed 47.3 percent of his red-zone passes.

The Ravens have scored touchdowns on 68 percent of their trips inside the red zone, the third-best mark in the league.

With less room to work with in that area of the field, it's one of the most challenging places for a quarterback to operate. For Jackson, at 22 years old, to navigate it so well and with so much precision is rare.

"Early last year when Lamar was here and we started working in the red zone, right away I was like, 'Wow, this kid sees things in the red zone better than most,'" Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said.

"I guess I'll let the cat out of the bag. That's one of my barometers when I see guy for the first time in an NFL practice is when you throw them down in the red zone the first couple times – how they operate and how they see things. I felt like he had a real knack for it."

Roman was asked whether one red-zone play from Jackson this season was particularly impressive. He pointed to his first touchdown pass in the Ravens' Week 11 win over the Texans, in which he seemed to hit his third read, wide receiver Seth Roberts, with a perfect high pass after tight end Nick Boyle was covered up by a safety.

'Hollywood' Brown Was Ahead of the Game on Getting His Lamar Jersey

The shortage of Jackson jerseys has left many Ravens scrambling this holiday season, but you won't see rookie receiver Marquise Brown having any trouble.

Brown said Thursday that he got a black Jackson Ravens jersey when he was still in college at Oklahoma.

"He's from Broward [County, Fla.] so any person that made it, I always represented," Brown said.

Brown said he got more Jackson jerseys once he was drafted by the Ravens. He beat the rush.

Fans lined up at 4:30 a.m. at the team's pop-up shop in Canton Thursday looking for his jersey, and the line eventually stretched around the block.

"They want to shop once he starts booming," Brown said. "You got to go in early and get that."

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