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Ravens Feel They Always Have Chance With Lamar Jackson

Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson plays during the AFC Championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024, in Baltimore.
Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson plays during the AFC Championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024, in Baltimore.

As a pending free agent, Kyle Van Noy isn't sure he'll be with the Ravens next season.

However, the veteran outside linebacker is certain the Ravens will be contenders again with Jackson as their quarterback.

"I think anytime you have No. 8 at quarterback, you've got a shot," said Van Noy, who won two Super Bowls with the Patriots when Tom Brady was their quarterback.

"I mean, it's going to be different. Every year is different. But I think any time you have the core that they have here – with the young studs that they have – and a quarterback, they've always got a chance."

It will be difficult for the Ravens to watch Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs try for their third Super Bowl title in five seasons when they face the 49ers in Las Vegas next weekend. At age 28, Mahomes has played in six straight AFC championships and shows no sign of slowing down. He's set a high bar for a conference loaded with young, talented quarterbacks, including Jackson, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Herbert, C.J. Stroud and Tua Tagovailoa.

However, Jackson has four playoff appearances in six years and a 58-19 regular season as a starting quarterback. He's only 27 years old. He plans to keep challenging for Super Bowls until he finally breaks through, and his teammates believe strongly that the breakthrough for Jackson will eventually come.

"We wouldn't be here without him, so he knows. He knows the love for him in here," wide receiver Zay Flowers said. "We all have his back, and we're going to be right back at it next year, because he isn't going anywhere, and I'm not going anywhere, so let's get it."

Right tackle Morgan Moses is a 10-year veteran who had only played in two playoffs games before joining the Ravens in 2020. He had never won a playoff game until this season when Baltimore defeated the Texans in the divisional round.

Moses had a front row seat watching Jackson dominate the second half of that game. Moses got so excited after Jackson ran for a second-half touchdown against the Texans, he grabbed a camera from a sideline photographer and started pretending to take Jackson's picture as part of the end zone celebration.

Moments like that, and the experience of getting closer to a Super Bowl, will help fuel Moses this offseason. He's looking forward to taking another ride with Jackson, who he expects to learn from.

"Lamar Jackson is a top-notch competitor, first of all," Moses said. "Everybody wants to have plays back, and you would love to change the outcome, but that's not life.

"You just look yourself in the mirror and say, 'How can I get better from this? How can I grow from this as a football player, as a person, as a man and as a brother?' You come back collectively in the offseason, and you work on those things. It's not about starting over from Day 1. It's about how can we grow from what we did this year."

Jackson is the only NFL quarterback Kyle Hamilton has ever played with, and the All-Pro safety is expecting their run together in Baltimore to last a long time. Hamilton tunes out the noise whenever he hears people doubting if Jackson will eventually lead the Ravens to the Super Bowl.

"I don't really have any reaction to it, honestly," Hamilton said. "It's just talking heads, at this point. They've got a job to do, I guess, and they've got to get views and stuff like that.

"But I don't think Lamar cares – nor do I care – what other people have to say, outside of this building. They can say he's the best quarterback ever one week, and then the next week, say whatever they want to say. That just comes with the territory. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. There are a lot of people out there hoping for people like Lamar to fail, but we all know that he's the best player in this league, and I'm glad to have him on our team."

Justin Tucker is the only member of the Ravens who was with the team when they won a Super Bowl 12 years ago. He has watched Jackson evolve for six seasons and believes t it's only a matter of time until he reaches his goal of winning an NFL championship.

"I can't speak highly enough about him as a football player, as a person, his character, his leadership," Tucker said. "He is a Raven through and through and I couldn't be more proud to be his teammate and to help him along the way in his journey to bringing a Lombardi Trophy back to Baltimore again."

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