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News & Notes: Lamar Jackson Wants Better Protection, Not More Pads

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson doesn't want more pads, he just wants better protection from the guys in stripes.

Jackson isn't one to complain about hits, but the shot he took in the lower back Sunday in Detroit following his long touchdown pass to Marquise "Hollywood" Brown was especially egregious and didn't result in a flag.

Jackson immediately protested to a nearby referee to no avail, then shifted his focus to celebrating the touchdown. But if Jackson is going to be passing more often these days as he and Baltimore's offense evolve to be more balanced, Jackson's protection is going to be more paramount.

And, as Head Coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week, part of that protection is in the hands of the referees. If defenders are given more latitude to hit Jackson, they'll just keep doing it.

"I just feel we should be protecting all quarterbacks in the league, not just myself," Jackson said Wednesday. "Especially while we're in the pocket, our leg area and stuff like that. But football is football. Guys get aggressive sometimes and stuff happens. They probably don't mean it, but I'd like the ref to throw the flag though if they catch it."

Jackson was asked whether he plans to start wearing more protective pads if he's going to be in the pocket more.

"I feel like if I put on extra pads and stuff like that, I'll be looking like a Transformer," he said. "I don't want to be slowed down."

Other mobile quarterbacks have expressed issues getting protection from late hits, as the line can be blurred between tackling a runner and the extra protections quarterbacks are given. Jackson said by speaking out on his issue, he's hoping referees take notice.

According to film analyst Ken McKusick, there have been 162 roughing the passer calls in the NFL since the start of the 2020 season and so far in 2021. None of them have been for hits on Jackson.

"They'll do their job," Jackson said of referees. "But if I keep getting hit late, then I'll say something to them like, 'You've got to make those calls now.'"

Justin Houston Is Nearing a Landmark vs. Former Team

Justin Houston needs just 1.5 more sacks to reach the 100-sack career milestone. Only three current players, Denver's Von Miller, Arizona's Chandler Jones, and Houston's J.J. Watt, have topped 100.

As if reaching the milestone on "Monday Night Football" wouldn't be cool enough, up next is Houston's former team, the Indianapolis Colts. Houston played the past two years with Indianapolis, who he picked over the Ravens back then.

Houston said he doesn't have a sack dance planned for No. 100, but he does have a keepsake in mind.

"I do think whatever quarterback I get it on, I'm going to ask the quarterback, 'Can I keep that jersey?'" Houston said. "They can have the ball. I want the jersey."

Ravens Know Carson Wentz Won't Stop

Quarterback Carson Wentz hasn't gotten off to the smoothest start as a Colt since being acquired this offseason from the Philadelphia Eagles. Wentz dealt with two sprained ankles in training camp and earlier this season, but has started every game so far and is coming off his best performance yet.

Against a good Miami Dolphins defense, Wentz threw for 228 yards, completed 75% of his passes and tossed two touchdowns to no interceptions in a 27-17 win – the Colts' first of the season.

The Ravens faced Wentz last year in Philly and he was 21-of-40 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Baltimore had a 30-14 lead in the fourth quarter before Wentz brought them back with a touchdown push in the final two minutes. The Eagles were a two-point conversion away from tying the game.

"Carson Wentz – he does not give up on any play, no matter what the score is," cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. "I know we apply a lot of pressure, but he doesn't care if he's about to get hit; he's going to stay in there."

Ravens Back in Pads as Colts Pose a Tackling Challenge

Coming off back-to-back tough tackling games against the Chiefs and Lions, the Ravens broke out the pads for practice. After one ugly play against Broncos rookie Javonte Williams early in the game, Baltimore's defense brought the physicality and sound tackling the rest of the way.

This week, Baltimore is strapping on the pads again for Thursday's practice.

"They've got some great running backs that can really tilt the rock, and they really want to be a running team," Humphrey said. "So, it will be another emphasis this week – to really wrap up, tackle [with] the first guy. You can't have guys running through the defense, so it will be a big emphasis today in practice."

When the Ravens faced the Colts last year, rookie running back Jonathan Taylor coughed up a fumble that was returned by Chuck Clark for a momentum-changing score in a 24-10 Ravens win.

After that fumble, Taylor went on a tear down the stretch and now sits at No. 10 in the league in rushing this season (274 yards). He's one of the tougher running backs in the league to bring down.

The Colts also love to get the ball to running back Nyheim Hines, who is third on the team with 14 catches for 124 yards. Hines is likely a player inside linebacker Patrick Queen will be studying intently this week.

"They use their [running] backs every kind of way you can use them," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "They're even primary receivers in the passing game, a lot of the times. They're a big screen team. They use them in high-to-low checkdown situations in the flats, or over the middle of the field. They try to match them up in man coverage."

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