Awkwardness Already in Baltimore

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For three days this weekend, the Ravens got a taste of Lamar Jackson. His speed had bystanders “hollering on the sideline.” His play-making ability got first-round tight end Hayden Hurst excited about the prospect of catching passes from him. Jackson even drew John Harbaugh‘s praise for “throwing the ball naturally and very accurately.” And even though he’s still learning the verbiage and figuring out how to play from under center, Jackson himself said “I can go at the NFL pace right away” (words the official NFL Twitter account was happy to share with the world). But that’s not the plan.

As the season nears, Harbaugh will return to coaching Joe Flacco, who had the league’s lowest passing yards per attempt last season among regular starters. Hurst will learn to make plays with the QB who finished 36th in Pro Football Focus’ big-time throw percentage (the most difficult and valuable attempts in their rubric). And Jackson—he’ll have to wait. At least that’s the plan.

However it could change. Baltimore is already talking about getting Jackson on the field in a variety of offensive looks. “We’re gonna always try to get our players making plays for us,” Harbaugh explained this weekend. “Lamar’s a guy that can help us win games.” That’s something the Ravens did as recently as 2013 with Tyrod Taylor, putting him on the field at the same time as Flacco. But as Mike Jones wrote in USA Today, Flacco was not too happy with that development, showing his frustration on the field and in the press at the time. If the team is worried about hurting its franchise QB’s feelings, though, it might already be too late. Jackson said Flacco had not spoken with him at all since the draft, and the 33-year-old has declined to speak to the media as well. Last week, Andy Benoit argued that Jackson’s time will come “sooner than you think.” His impact on the conversation around Baltimore is already here.


NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King opens his Monday column on a personal note … Andy Benoit recaps a week’s worth of news … Conor Orr learns why the Giants are sticking with (stuck with?) Eli Manning … and more.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Jenny Vrentas considered the possible end of the kickoff … Albert Breer found out about the Cardinals’ comfort with Josh Rosen … and more.


1. A smart idea from Ed Bouchette: With Ben Roethlisberger whinging about the Steelers’ selection of Mason Rudolph, why not look at the way previous Pittsburgh QBs handled their potential replacements getting drafted, from Bradshaw to Maddox?

2. The NFL might allow individual teams to implement their own national anthem policies.

3. As the Panthers’ secondary coach, Curtis Fuller reportedly sent “emails and text messages to an unknown number of female employees on the business side of the organization​.” He resigned last week, with Ron Rivera referring to Fuller’s departure as “a complicated situation.”

4. Kahlil McKenzie will have two chances a year to stick it to his father, Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, for not drafting him—if he can make the Chiefs’ final roster.

5. Speaking of the Raiders, their how-should-I-say-it … unorthodox offseason has continued with the signing of 35-year-old linebacker Derrick Johnson, previously a member of the aforementioned Chiefs. “He brings us status at a critical position,” Jon Gruden said of the addition. Meanwhile, Oakland also scheduled—then canceled—a meeting with 31-year-old former Texans linebacker Brian Cushing.

6. In D.C., Jerry Brewer took the organization to task after its latest scandal, calling the franchise leadership “deplorable.”

7. 49ers secondary coach Jeff Hafley evidently threw his phone across the room when he heard about defensive back prospect Tarvarius Moore​’s 4.32 40-yard dash time. A potential sleeper pick would fly under the radar no more. San Francisco ended up selecting him in the third round after he entered his final year at Southern Mississippi unsure if he’d be drafted. A sweet story.

8. One more fun rookie story: Ade Aruna came to the U.S. from Nigeria to play basketball, but now the Vikings are hoping to mold the 6’6″ Tulane product into an impactful defensive end.

9. Nora Princiotti ran the numbers to find one part of the Patriots’ draft formula. Twenty-one of New England’s last 42 selections have been college captains.

10. Twenty-five years after attending his first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, Colts owner Jim Irsay purchased the organization’s founding document for $2.4 million at auction with plans to share it with the public.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.


Has Nick Foles‘s magic finally run out?

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