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News & Notes: Lamar Jackson Has No Explanation for Slow Starts But Seeks Solution

QB Lamar Jackson

Finishing strong has been the Ravens' forte lately, but they want to start faster.

Baltimore is averaging just 3.0 points in the first quarter, tied for 22nd in the NFL. The Ravens have scored just three touchdowns in the first quarter through eight games, with just one first-quarter touchdown and 10 points since Week 2.

That's a sharp contrast to the previous two seasons, when the Ravens led the NFL in first-quarter scoring in both 2019 (7.5 points per game) and 2020 (6.6).

The bye week didn't solve the problem, as the Ravens settled for a field goal on their opening drive against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, then didn't score again until just before halftime. A potential Lamar Jackson touchdown pass on the opening drive was dropped by Mark Andrews.

Jackson is well aware of the situation but hasn't figured out why the Ravens aren't starting faster offensively.

"To be honest with you, I have no clue," Jackson said. "I just say we have to stay dialed in, and like I always say taking one play at a time, starting the game off the same way we finish. Not start slow and finish strong."

Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman has talked about the variety of looks the Ravens have seen from opposing defenses, making it difficult to anticipate what they might see at the start. The Ravens have done an excellent job adjusting, as evidenced by their three come-from-behind victories. The Ravens rank seventh in fourth-quarter scoring, averaging 8.5 points, and they rallied from a 14-point third quarter deficit on Sunday to win, 34-31, in overtime.

Come-from-behind victories are nice, but Jackson would rather avoid digging an early hole Thursday night in Miami.

"We've got to play the whole game the same way, start strong, finish strong," Jackson said.

Uncertainty Remains With Dolphins Quarterback Situation

The Ravens may not be certain who the Dolphins will play at quarterback until 90 minutes before the opening kickoff Thursday night.

There were mixed signals coming out of Florida on Tuesday. Head Coach Brian Flores told reporters that if the game were being played that night, Jacoby Brissett would be the starter.

However, Tua Tagovailoa is reportedly making progress recovering from his fractured finger.

Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey wasn't stressing about the situation, knowing it's the defense's job to be ready regardless of which quarterback plays.

"It definitely makes it a little confusing just knowing their tendencies, what guy likes to throw the quicker passes, what guy likes to take more shots," Humphrey said. "So, it will be, I guess, a game-time thing when you figure it out, and then you'll kind of adjust it from there."

Highlight Plays By Ravens Wideouts Don't Surprise Humphrey

There were plenty of highlights from Baltimore's wideouts Sunday, including Marquise "Hollywood" Brown making clutch catches, Rashod Bateman getting open for first downs and Devin Duvernay's circus one-handed grab for a touchdown.

None of this surprised Humphrey, who became hip to Baltimore's talent at wide receiver during training camp when he saw Bateman for the first time, along with the growth made by the other young receivers. With Sammy Watkins (thigh) back at practice and perhaps ready to return Thursday night, Humphrey can't wait to see Baltimore with its full complement of wide receivers.

"That's what I saw a lot during training camp when they were all together," Humphrey said. "I remember being just really in love with our receivers. Out of my five years being here, I had never really had a training camp where it was like, 'Man, we've got some guys.' So, I think now that Bateman is getting healthy, Lamar is clicking, 'Hollywood' is clicking, we'll get Sammy back, I think the show is just ready to begin."

Humphrey Wishes Best For Jaylen Waddle, Except Against Ravens

Dolphins rookie Jaylen Waddle has lived up to his billing as the sixth-overall pick, leading the team in receptions (56 catches, 496 yards, three touchdowns). Humphrey and Waddle share an allegiance as former Alabama players, but on Thursday, Humphrey will be trying to shut Waddle down.

No matter who plays quarterback for Miami, the Ravens will need to be particularly wary of Waddle, who leads all rookies with 31 catches for first downs.

"[He's] really quick," Humphrey said. "It was really cool watching him score touchdowns for the Tide, but hopefully, not so many [on] Thursday. I think he'll be a top guy pretty quickly in this league."

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