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What the Patriots Are Saying About Lamar Jackson and the Ravens


Head Coach Bill Belichick

On the threat Lamar Jackson poses:

"[H]e's very fast and he's definitely a hard guy to handle. That's definitely a problem. He's fast and that's really a big problem. A lot of times he just outruns people. I mean, he's got good moves, too. … [A] lot of times he just outruns people with his speed.

"Catching him is an issue, especially when he keeps the ball. A lot of times he's running against a defensive end and the ends just aren't fast enough. They have him but they don't have him. He's a problem. He's definitely a problem."

On how to simulate Lamar Jackson in practice:

"We don't have a guy. I don't know if anybody else in the league has a guy, either. He's a very talented player with a great skillset that's unique. So, that will be a big challenge for us to try to do that, no question."

On Justin Tucker:

"He's the best kicker in the history of the league, right? Yeah. We were fortunate to block one against him the last time we played them, but it's not easy."

On whether Tucker affects defensive strategy:

"You take it into consideration. Definitely. You're playing on a little shorter field than you are normally."

On WR Marquise Brown:

"He's fast and he can really track the ball too. Speed's good. We've seen fast guys before and he's one of them. But I'd say his ability to track the ball is very good. I'd say that's the difference between the good and great deep receivers is not just speed but the ability to track and catch and play the ball. It's some unusual angles.

"Lamar is a good deep ball thrower. He really has a nice touch on those throws. He's made a lot of good throws 40 or 50 yards down the field – just drop the ball right on a dime. And Brown tracks the ball very well."

On the Ravens' running scheme:

"They're very balanced in the running game between the running back, whoever that is – those guys are all good, they're good downhill runners and strong, break a lot of tackles – and the quarterback. The running backs have a little more production than the quarterback, though the quarterback has a lot of production and probably a little bit higher yards per attempt, but he has a lot of explosive plays. So, you have to defend those. That makes it a little bit different. I'd say the runs themselves are [Offensive Coordinator Greg] Roman's runs. We've seen those before. A lot of teams run them – power plays, some zone plays, a lot of gap-scheme plays with a variety of motions to utilize the personnel that they have which is, obviously, unique in Baltimore with [Mark] Andrews, [Hayden] Hurst and [Nick] Boyle and also the way they use [Patrick] Ricard in there as well. But that's kind of what he's done where he's been. They had a lot of success with that last year. We saw that last year prior to – in the playoffs where we thought we might play the Ravens, but we ended up playing the Chargers. But we didn't know who we were going to play. We had a Bye Week there, so we looked at both teams. There were a lot of things that we saw last year that are carrying over into this year. There's some new things but similar to what they had a lot of success with last season."

QB Tom Brady

On his general thoughts about the Ravens:

"They're a great team. Great team. Very successful organization. We've had some really tough games against those guys. They've always presented a big challenge for us. It's a unique environment, pretty tough, very loud. They're very good this year, pretty much good every year. Good defense, they were really great last year. I actually watched a lot of them last year because we almost played them in the playoffs. I went back to a lot of those notes. And they're playing good this year – good offense, good defense, very good special teams, good coaches. Very tough, physically and mentally. So we know we're in for a very tough football game."

On not playing against Terrell Suggs:

"Those guys were great players, and I think probably a lot like us, they really set the standard for great defensive play. We've had that on both sides of the ball. They have, too. They've won a couple of Super Bowl titles in the last 20 years. I heard Ed's getting his Hall of Fame ring or something like that. So they'll be excited. It will be a loud night. I think communication will be a big factor for us."

On Jackson:

"I've seen him play a few times this year too. Exceptionally talented – speed, quickness. He's throwing the ball well. He just has great awareness in the pocket, when to run. His productivity has really been unmatched. He's got a very unique skillset. It's very difficult to simulate a player with that level of talent. Our defense, it's going to be a big challenge for all of us."

"They keep the other offense from possessing the ball, too. We'll probably only have 60, 65 plays or something like that, so you got to make them count."

S Devin McCourty

On what makes Jackson so good:

"I've never seen a player like this at the quarterback position. Obviously his speed, the way he's able to throw the ball down the field. You watch some games where he's moving around the pocket, close to running, and he sees a guy down the field and he flicks his wrist and it's 50 yards down the field easily. It's his ability to throw the ball down the field. But also they come out there in empty and if it's not there and he doesn't like what he sees, he's able to make three guys miss in the backfield and now it's 45-50 yards later before anybody gets next to him. It's a combination of everything. If he was just a runner, then you would change your game plan and not worry about the passer. If he was just a passer, it wouldn't be as big of a deal to keep him in the pocket. His ability to do both things at such a high level makes it tough. And then it's the scheme that they run. Everything is not something you see every week. Now you're trying to prepare for something that you can't replicate in a practice. We don't have anybody that can throw the ball or run the ball like he can. It's very tough to prepare for him."

On how to defend Jackson:

"We need all 11 guys to play a role and do their job. You can't play him in the run game and be the deep guy. You just can't this week. It won't happen. Each guy is going to have his job to do and each guy has to do it. If they don't do it, it will be a big play. They're that good. It's not just Lamar Jackson, but their players, their skill players are that good that if you don't, someone will make a play on you. Whether it's playing a dive, playing the quarterback, whether they have a missile motion coming, you have to be alert to whatever your assignment is."

On how hard it is to practice playing against Jackson:

"You don't. It is what it is. It's going to be a game where we can do whatever we want, but we have to be ready to adjust to how fast he is, how strong his arm is. I think it's across the board. You look at [Hayden] Hurst and you look at [Mark] Andrews. Those guys, they play tight end, but they can run. You can't go cover receivers in practice and think [it's the same] because they don't have the size they have. They have some guys that are different, that are kind of special for the position they play. I don't think every team has a guy like that to do it."

On Jackson getting long runs vs. man coverage:

"Honestly, it's dangerous if you're in man or zone. There are times where they have two guys committed to him and he just outruns them. There's times they're in zone and you still have a guy in your zone. So that leaves one guy playing the guy in the zone, so that leaves one guy with eyes on Lamar Jackson to get him down, and he makes them miss and now he's gone. No matter what, it comes down to doing your job. There are going to be times in the games where guys are going to have to make tough tackles on him and we just have to do a good job with that. That's what happens when you play against a really good player. It's not going to be easy. He's obviously going to make some of his plays, but we have to still make some of our plays in the game if we want to have a chance to win defensively."

On the diversity of the Ravens' offense:

"That's what's hard. This offense can get into a lot of different things. They can get into a triple-option type of feel with some plays and the very next play, they're in five-out empty and they have two tight ends who run a 4.6. You have [Marquise] Brown out there that is one of the fastest guys in the league and now you're in a drop-back passing game where they have four or five verticals going and he can get it to them or he can run. What's tough is schematically, this offense can get into so many different looks. They can get in three tight-end personnel sets and come out there and it looks like a three-receiver set. For us, we have to watch a lot of film and study. We have to be as prepared as possible for this game because it's not similar to any game we've played so far."

On how to spy Jackson:

"When you say spy, it's very simplistic like we're going to take one guy and watch him. Within 'spy,' other guys have to do their job. If you put Lamar Jackson in the middle of the field and you choose whatever linebacker or defensive end and you say, 'Go, tackle him.' I'm saying maybe one time you touch him. Every other time, you won't tackle him at all. It's other guys doing their job. We have to have a plan of where we want him to come out to, how we want to get him. Obviously, you watch the games and it's not easy. I think all teams have that kind of plan, but it's not easy to execute it."

On how to tackle Jackson:

"You have to go through the same fundamentals as you would go through if anybody breaks out into the open field. If you go there and you think you're tackling a quarterback, you're going to have a lot of missed tackles in the game. He's as elusive, he's a strong runner, he has a stiff arm. Once he gets into the open field, it's different. Obviously with the rules, if he's in the pocket, you have to tackle him like you would tackle any other quarterback. But once he gets out of the pocket, he's like a running back and you have to treat him like that."

On how to sack Jackson:

"If you get to him, you just have to worry about tackling him. You can't worry about trying to deflect the ball or jump. If you get to him in the backfield, I think everybody in coverage understands if you try to do two things at once, you're probably going to lose that battle. If he's able to get an arm free and still throw the ball while you're swinging him to the ground, those are just plays we have to live with. But you can't try to do anything tackling in the backfield. You see over and over he makes guys miss because they're trying to play the run and pass. He's just too good of a runner."

On this risk of committing extra resources to stopping the run:

"I think you saw in Week 1 when they played Miami. Everyone was saying he was a running back, he's a runner. He went out there and threw the ball all over the field. What makes him good is his ability to be really good at both things – throwing the football and running the football. If you devote too much to him running, he's going to throw the ball. If you sit back too much and don't think he's going to run the ball, he'll run the ball. His knowledge and understanding … he's not trying to be just a runner or just a passer. He's trying to use his skillset to the best of his ability on each and every play. He understands defense and what you're in and I think he knows ahead of time what he's probably going to get to but he's still able to react to whatever you do post-snap. I think because of his skill and understanding of the game, he's putting a lot of pressure on defenses."

On having a bye after the Ravens game:

"This is the best team we've played so far. It'll be on the road, Sunday Night Football, in an environment that's not too friendly to us anytime we go there. It'll be intense. I think this is a game where you're going to need all the energy you have possibly stored in you to go out there and try to play well."

On Nick Boyle's comments:

"A bunch of people tweeted the quote at me like, 'Oh man, he's talking trash.' What's he supposed to say? We're not going to run or throw, we're just going to come and take 50 knees and concede victory? I saw what he said. He was right. We haven't seen an offense like this. We haven't seen a quarterback like this. Any time you take two good teams and play them in a Sunday night game, you're going to get their best shot. We're going to get their best shot; they're going to get our best shot and it's going to be a battle. Whoever comes out on top is going to be ecstatic. … For this week, you're going to have two teams that I would probably go out there and say don't like each other very much and are going to try to beat each other. It's going to be as competitive of a game as we've had this year."

On Head Coach John Harbaugh:

"He's very consistent in this day and age. A lot of coaches don't get to stay at one place for a long time. I don't know much about him, but obviously he always get his guys ready to go, they always have a good football team no matter what changes they go through. It's similar to here, there's always a lot going on – you have players leave, coaches leave. They've had the same thing, but it always seems like they're talked about. They're in the big games at the end of the year, they're in the playoffs, they're making a push for the championship. So obviously he knows how to prepare his team and get his team ready for a long season and get them ready for big games."

"They're similar. Very tough football team. You're not just going to go in there and beat them – I don't care on the road or at home. They're going to play tough, smash mouth, try to punch you in the face. They're always going to be really good on special teams. Bill always tells us the thing to any tough team is you play well against the run, you run the football and you cover kicks. When you watch them, they do all of those things."

Step inside the Ravens' Wednesday practice before taking on the undefeated Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

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