Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey is looking for any help he can get with stopping Lamar Jackson.
Ramsey reached out on Instagram to former NFL quarterback Michael Vick – the player most often compared to Jackson – for advice.
“Soo uhh @mikevick how would you stop someone like … well kinda like yourself but the 2019 version??” Ramsey said. “I need tips for the game.”
Jackson is on pace to shatter Vick’s single-season rushing record for a quarterback. Vick ran for 1,039 yards in 2006 and Jackson is on pace for 1,261 this season.
Even Vick said this week that he never expected to see his record fall and that what Jackson is doing is “shocking.”
“It’s just a pleasure for me to watch and see another guy just emulating that style – and doing it better,” Vick said.
In the midst of an MVP-worthy season, Jackson has a lot of bandwagon supporters. Vick has been on board since the very beginning. He thought Jackson was a better player in college too.
Ramsey has also been a Jackson believer from the jump. In a GQ story in August of 2018 in which he ripped numerous NFL quarterbacks, Ramsey was complimentary of Jackson. Looks pretty prophetic now.
“I would've picked him earlier than 32,” Ramsey said. “I think he's gonna do a good job. Especially with the [Ravens'] offensive coordinator—he likes running quarterbacks, likes that read option.”
Ramsey followed that up in an interview with our Garrett Downing at the Pro Bowl last year.
“He’s the truth,” Ramsey said. “I think last year around draft time I tweeted that he should have been the No. 1 pick. That’s no [offense] to anyone else, but I just thought he was that good. He came in this year, did a great job to lead the Ravens to the playoffs. Yeah, that’s my guy.”
Don’t expect Ramsey to have only nice things to say Monday night in Los Angeles, however. One of the NFL’s premier cornerbacks is also one of the league’s biggest trash talkers.
Chuck Clark Was an Eric Weddle Understudy
Ravens players have lauded Chuck Clark for his football intelligence. He’s almost always in the right place and has done an excellent job communicating the defense’s play calls and helping get the unit lined up.
Sounds a lot like former Raven Eric Weddle. Weddle wore the headset for most of last season, when Clark was his understudy.
Now Weddle is in Los Angeles and Clark is a big part of an improved Ravens defense heading West for Monday Night Football. After being an understudy of Weddle’s, Clark now wears the defensive mic and is also clamping down mentally and physically in the back end.
“He meant a lot [to my career],” Clark said. “My first two years, just being able to watch him and learn from him and talk to him as a player and just kind of studying day in and day out … it carries over to you as a player.”
Clark said he watched how Weddle approached the preparation for practices and games, and said it’s going to be a “great feeling” going against him now.
Clark has been a versatile and steady player since replacing injured safety Tony Jefferson (knee) in Week 6. Clark has 41 tackles, four passes defensed and a forced fumble. The Ravens have been the NFL’s top defense since Week 7 (when cornerback Marcus Peters also arrived).
Marshal Yanda Isn’t Looking Ahead to 2020
Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda signed a one-year extension this offseason, putting him under contract through 2020. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the 35-year-old blocker will definitely suit up next year.
In his 13th season, Yanda is still having a blast and playing at an elite level. He’s the leader of the Ravens’ offensive line that has paved the way for the NFL’s leading rushing attack. Running the ball is music to Yanda’s ears, and he has enjoyed the offensive revolution and the young quarterback that makes it all go.
Yanda decided to play this season because he finished last year healthy and still felt the fire to play. He’s glad he made that decision, but he’s not ready to fully commit to 2020 yet.
“I’m not even looking ahead to next year right now. You just live in the moment. It’s one day at a time,” Yanda said.
“The reality is that you could get hurt next week. I could get hurt in the next game. That’s just the business that we’re in. So, you live in the moment. You take care of today, and that stuff will work itself out after the season. So, I’m not worried about it at all.”
Yanda: Aaron Donald Is the NFL’s Top Defensive Player
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has eight sacks this year, and that’s actually a drop-off in production.
Donald is the back-to-back NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He had a mind-boggling 20.5 sacks last season and 11 in 2017. He’s a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro.
“He has it all. He has speed, strength, quickness. He definitely has the whole package,” Yanda said. “He’s the No. 1 defensive player in the NFL for a reason. He definitely commands that respect.”
The Rams line Donald up in a variety of positions to try to create mismatches and get him in one-on-one situations, so all of the Ravens’ offensive linemen are going to have him on their radar.
“He just has an uncanny ability to subtly get guys off their grass and go where he wants to go, which is basically straight ahead through where they were,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He makes moves in tight areas better than anybody, probably, in the league.”
Yanda compared Donald to Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins or Texans defensive J.J. Watt when they’re at the top of their games. Yanda has vivid memories of battling both, and he’s looking forward to going against Donald.
“Most guys in this league are competitors, and I’m definitely a very competitive guy,” said Yanda, who has given up just one sack and six hurries this season. “I’m excited for the challenge.”