Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews went down during a joint practice with the Carolina Panthers today, suffering such severe cramping that an ambulance had to be called, per The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec.
Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun reported that Andrews was in so much pain that he couldn’t even stretch and had to be hooked up by an IV to relieve the cramping. Fortunately for the Ravens, the 2019 Pro Bowler did not need to be hospitalized.
Head coach John Harbaugh provided an update on Andrew’s condition after practice, saying “Obviously he’s working super hard and he’s got to get that calmed down a little bit.”
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But Baltimore should be encouraged by Thursday’s attendance, as several key offensive contributors ramped up their participation, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, tackle Ronnie Stanley and guard Kevin Zeitler.
Jackson Excited to Start 2021 Season
The 2019 MVP was mic’d up for Thursday’s practice telling Harbaugh, “Football is exciting period, Coach! That’s why we’re out here!”
Though just 24 years old, Jackson has emerged as a vocal leader of this Ravens team. He is constantly cheering his teammates from the sidelines, especially when his presumed backup, Tyler Huntley, makes a highlight play.
Television cameras caught Jackson celebrating Huntley’s seven-yard touchdown run during Saturday’s preseason game against the New Orleans Saints, as well as another Huntley scramble last season against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Andrews raved about his star quarterback after Thursday’s practice, telling ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, “Lamar is slinging the rock like he didn’t have those 10 days off because of COVID. He’s more focused than he’s ever been.”
Drafted together in 2018, Andrews has been Jackson’s most reliable target for the Louisville product’s whole career, leading the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in that period.
Harbaugh was also full of praise for Jackson, saying the 2018 first-round pick had an “excellent two days” of training camp with the Panthers, according to Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com.
Harbaugh declined to say whether or not Jackson, who rested for the Ravens’ first preseason game, would play on Saturday against Carolina.
Ravens Focus on Passing Offense Heading Into Season
Regardless of Jackson’s status for Saturday’s game, the Ravens will be hoping their passing game starts to show signs of life after managing only 165 yards through the air against the Saints on August 14.
Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus argued that the Ravens’ passing attack would be their fatal flaw for the 2021 season. He wrote:
Lay blame wherever you see fit, but there’s no denying that the Ravens’ passing attack has come up woefully short in the playoffs the past three seasons. Lamar Jackson earned a 58.2 passing grade in those four games and averaged 209.75 passing yards per game. The Ravens, as a team, have averaged only 13 points per contest.
General manager Eric DeCosta added veteran Sammy Watkins and rookie Rashod Bateman to the wide receiver corps and strengthened the offensive line with Zeitler, rookie guard Ben Cleveland and veteran tackle Alejandro Villanueva.
But the most impactful addition to the passing game will be the return of Stanley, the Ravens’ All-Pro left tackle. Though he is currently only participating in drills, he will anchor Jackson’s pass protection once he is fully recovered.
Injuries, especially to the wideouts and offensive linemen, may have stunted the offense’s momentum, but if they can stay healthy, the passing game could grow to nicely complement the Ravens’ league-leading rushing attack.
While that ground game could carry the team to the playoffs, Baltimore will need to win games through the air against top defenses in the postseason.