Zay Flowers is not an ordinary rookie wide receiver, and he seems to be improving rapidly each week, including the connection with his quarterback.
Lamar Jackson and Flowers connected on a 52-yard completion against the Bengals in Week 2 on a play that had been called earlier in the game. The first time it was called, Jackson didn't make the throw, but Flowers went back to the huddle and told Jackson he was open.
The Ravens went back to that play later, and Jackson made a terrific throw and Flowers made an acrobatic catch.
Flowers credits teammates and coaches for helping accelerate his learning curve.
"I'd say I feel more comfortable each week," Flowers said. "Just with the gameplan and the speed of the game and getting smarter each week. Being out there with vet guys, they're teaching me.
"'Nelly' [Nelson Agholor] will teach me something about … Because he's a master at running option routes and over routes, so he'll teach me something about that. Odell [Beckham Jr.] will teach me something about the deep ball. So, I'm just taking it all in and just trying to use it."
Flowers also gave credit to Wide Receivers Coach Greg Lewis and Assistant Wide Receivers Coach Keith Williams.
"Coach Lewis and Coach Dub, they do a great job in the meeting room with detail," Flowers said. "And when we're on the field, if me and Lamar see a look, or any of the receivers sees a look, you go back and tell him and he'll come back and hit you on it if he sees the same look."
Jackson smiled when he remembered early in training camp, when Flowers said the chemistry between them was still growing.
"I believe it's building very well, since he said our chemistry was like 60%, or something like that," Jackson said. "I wonder what it is right now? He's been catching the ball phenomenal, making guys miss, running great routes, doing what Zay does. He wants to be the best."
Stingy First-Quarter Defense Helping Ravens Start Fast
The Ravens' defense hasn't yielded a first down in the first quarter this season, one of the reasons why they are 2-0. Starting fast is a point of emphasis that Head Coach John Harbaugh is pleased to see come to fruition.
"I'm very encouraged by the fast starts," Harbaugh said. "That's something that we work on every day. We have a fast start period in practice every day. We want it to be good. I feel like the guys are just locked in. Every game's different. Sometimes you start, sometimes you finish. I think we're trying just to take it one series at a time and do the best we can."
Following Wednesday's practice, inside linebacker Patrick Queen spoke briefly and reminded the team not to get complacent.
"Anytime you want to accomplish a goal as a team, you can't get complacent," Queen said. "The things that you're good at, be great at. The things you need to work, improve on and strive for excellence.
"We're communicating fast, trusting each other. All the guys are on the same page. We've got great chemistry right now, everybody playing for each other."
Jackson Isn't Looking Back on Colts' Pass During Contract Negotiations
It seems like forever ago now, but there was a time this offseason during Jackson's contract negotiations that the Colts were being rumored as a possible destination for the superstar quarterback.
Jackson was on the non-exclusive franchise tag and any team could have tried to sign him to a deal or tried to trade for him. The Colts instead opted to draft rookie prospect Anthony Richardson.
After signing his contract extension, Jackson said on “The Lounge” podcast that his public trade request was "nothing serious" and that he was "just getting the ball rolling." It was a business move.
Now, as he's getting ready to play the Colts, Jackson said he isn't looking back on that time.
"I'm grateful for being here," he said. "We have our contract situation situated, and I'm focused on doing what's best for us. I'm trying to win. I don't really care about other teams."
Harbaugh Calls Patriots' Field-Goal Block 'Brilliant'
The Patriots used an innovative trick play during last week's "Sunday Night Football" game that caught the attention of the NFL world.
Pats special teams ace Brenden Schooler got a running start along the line of scrimmage before darting into the backfield at the snap to easily block Jason Sanders' 49-yard field-goal attempt.
Being that his roots are in special teams, Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked Wednesday for his take on the play. Harbaugh said he'd never seen that type of play before.
"I thought it was a really great play – really well executed," Harbaugh said. "They were able to time up the snap operation perfectly well. It doesn't need to be ruled out [in the NFL rulebook], because all you have to do is change the tempo of your snap count. So it's more of a surprise play. I think now if that's something they think a team might do against them, then they'll just change up the timing of the snap count. What a good idea that was, and they got it. It was a great play. I thought it was brilliant."