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News & Notes: Lamar Jackson Feels Refreshed, Excited About Offensive Potential

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

No quarterback has been hit more often than Lamar Jackson so far this season.

His league-high 110 hits taken tops Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts by 10, and there are no other quarterbacks over 90, per ESPN. So if anybody needed a bye week, it was Jackson.

Jackson said his bye week was boring and mostly filled with much-prized sleep.

"I definitely feel refreshed. I feel great. 110%" Jackson said.

Jackson has been sacked 21 times this season, tied for the most among quarterbacks who have played seven games so far. He was dropped five times against the Bengals before the bye, tying a career high.

Sacks are going to happen by virtue of how Jackson tries to extend plays. Sometimes it ends with a big play and sometimes it ends with a sack.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens and Jackson have to be particularly mindful about not taking sacks in certain situations. Jackson took a couple that knocked the Ravens out of field-goal range against the Bengals.

"He's very conscious about that," Harbaugh said. "He's a very smart player, and that's something you just try to do your best at every single week."

Still, Jackson enters the second "half" of the season optimistic about where the offense is going. The Ravens rank third in the league in total offense (417.6 yards per game) and eighth in points per game (26.7).

The Ravens have weathered the storm on injuries, and while some of those key players (Ronnie Stanley, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards) aren't coming back, Baltimore is about to get stronger on offense by virtue of improved health alone.

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) has a chance to return Sunday against the Vikings and tight end Nick Boyle (knee) has practiced the past couple weeks and could make his season debut this weekend.

"I don't really know the limit with our offense. We've got a key guy back," Jackson said, referring to Boyle. "The sky's the limit. We've just got to take it a day at a time, a game at a time, one play at a time.

"I'm very excited. [Boyle] brings a lot to the table for us – catching the ball, blocking, doing it all for us. He's got a little funny personality too. We missed that, too."

Kevin Zeitler Confident Ravens Will Run the Ball

Much of the talk about how the Ravens can improve offensively moving forward centers around the rushing attack.

While Baltimore ranks third in the NFL in rushing average (149.4 yards per game), the attack with the running backs hasn't been consistently productive, especially against teams who defend it well.

The Vikings have the 21st-ranked rushing defense (120.9 yards) in the league but are strong up the middle with former defensive tackle Michael Pierce and Dalvin Tomlinson.

Wednesday was a sign that colder days are coming, as the frost appeared on morning windshields around the Baltimore area. Running the ball will become even more important.

"You always want to run the ball. They always talk about it – November, December – it's how you take over games. The ball gets hard when it gets cold and all that," guard Kevin Zeitler said. "So, I know this team has a lot of talent. We have the ability to run the ball, and we know we want to improve from the first seven weeks. And I think we have the guys to do it."

Harbaugh Sends His Team a Message After Henry Ruggs III's Fatal Crash

As more horrific details surfaced Wednesday of the car crash that Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was involved in that killed a 23-year-old woman, Head Coach John Harbaugh used the tragedy as a lesson to his players.

"It's just a sad, sad thing for everybody, and mostly the victim and the victim's family. Those are the kind of things we talk to the guys about," Harbaugh said.

"We talked about it today. We had a video. It's all of us; it's coaches, players, it's you guys in the media, it's everybody. It's everybody. To try to guard your heart, guard your family and guard your career."

Malik Harrison Won't Be Out Too Long With Bullet Wound

Speaking of guarding a career, inside linebacker Malik Harrison will not be derailed too long by the stray bullet that struck him in the calf during a visit to Cleveland over the bye. Harbaugh said it looks like Harrison will be on short-term IR, meaning he is expected to return this season.

"His guardian angels were looking after him," Harbaugh said. "We had him in the team meeting on Tuesday, and we all acknowledged that. We're very thankful for it. It's as much as it takes time for him to heal up, then he'll be back."

"Things happen. We're just happy he's safe, healthy – well sort of healthy," safety DeShon Elliott said. "[We're] happy he's safe and back here with us. He'll be all right. A couple weeks, [and] he'll be back. He'll be fine. It was a little 'pea shooter.'"

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