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08-14-2019, 12:19 PM,
The Baltimore Ravens are still fighting to end a three-year playoff drought even though they are riding their longest winning streak of the season.The Ravens hold a one-game lead for the sixth and final postseason spot in the AFC. Baltimore (7-5) also is within a half-game of the first-place Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North after the Ravens' 26-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.It was their third in a row behind rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. He has emerged as a playmaker since taking over for Joe Flacco Eric Fisher Jersey , who is battling a hip injury.Baltimore faces its toughest test of the season this week when the Ravens take on the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs.Flacco still has to be cleared by doctors to potentially play in that game. In the meantime, Jackson has shown that he can effectively lead the Ravens offense."He's getting better," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said or Jackson during the coach's Monday news conference. "Football is like that, especially with that position. You do it practice and that's one thing, but there's nothing like the game. The game is where you learn the lessons kind of the hard way."He made a few mistakes that are well-documented. He'll learn from it just like the week before."The Ravens have run for more than 200 yards in each of the last three games. The emergence of Gus Edwards, an undrafted rookie from Rutgers, has coincided with that success. He had two consecutive 100-yard performances before finishing with 82 yards on 21 carries against the Falcons.Edwards has taken over the starting job for Alex Collins, who was placed on IR with an injured foot.The Ravens have been able to dominate time of possession with the revamped running attack, keeping opposing offenses off the field. That strategy will be especially vital this week against Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown for 3 Cameron Erving Jersey ,923 yards with a staggering 41 touchdowns."I feel like we're controlling the clock, keeping our defense off the field, keeping them fresh, and taking the air out of their pass rush," offensive lineman Marshal Yanda said "That's a big deal."The running game has also helped the Ravens defenders stay fresh late in the game. Baltimore has converted a pair turnovers into touchdowns the last two weeks and is ranked No. 1 for overall defense."We really don't care what people say outside," linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "We have a standard as a Ravens defense, whether we're home, away or at a neutral site, on how we want to play football, and that's always been being physical at the point of attack Reggie Ragland Jersey , stopping the run and getting after the quarterback on third down."The Ravens have bounced back from a three-game losing streak heading into their bye. That skid prompted questions about the future of Harbaugh with the franchise.Now, Baltimore can control its destiny to end the playoff drought and quiet the critics.Harbaugh is proud of the way his players responded to the adversity."I think we have a lot of leaders and guys that have been through a lot," Harbaugh said. "Our guys have been through a lot of challenges and that's usually the best way of learning how to deal with adversity. I think they have done a good job." Thursday’s presser shed a little light on where the Chiefs GM thinks the draft has some depth."In last year’s pre-draft press conference, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach was asked about his propensity for trading up and the aggression that he would show in the draft. Veach responded by specifying that if there is a drop-off in talent, they wouldn’t hesitate to go get their guy.As we know, the Chiefs — lacking a first round pick due to the Patrick Mahomes trade up of 2017 — were aggressive in attacking these pockets. They traded up three times in the 2018 draft for Breeland Speaks, Derrick Nnadi and Khalil McKenzie. Veach saw the players at the bottom of the pockets of value that he wanted and made his move.With this year’s draft less than a week away, Veach once again held his pre-draft press conference. This time, he was asked about those very same “pockets of value” and where he felt the depth was in this class.For those have been following the draft, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. This is a strong defensive line class that contains great defensive ends — Nick Bosa Jarvis Jenkins Jersey , Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, Brian Burns and Clelin Ferrell — and some stud defensive linemen — Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver, Jeffery Simmons, Christian Wilkins and Jerry Tillery. Three or four quarterbacks going early won’t surprise anybody. If there’s a quality player at quarterback, an NFL team is going to aggressively pursue that player.What might be surprising to some is the inclusion of four or five offensive tackles early. It’s a strong tackle class overall, but five players near the top of the draft bode well for the Chiefs at pick No. 29. The Chiefs likely won’t be adding a tackle in round one, so pushing players down at positions of need would be ideal.Veach’s comments about the depth of the wide receiver, tight end and cornerback class should be music to Chiefs’ fans ears. The Chiefs could look to add all three positions in the first two days of the draft Daniel Sorensen Jersey , so finding good depth in day two could open the top of the draft up for Veach.These comments in a vacuum look like Veach might be looking at that “early pocket” in this year’s draft of being full of defensive linemen. If quarterbacks and offensive tackles have an early run, we could see a move up to get into that pocket — very similar to how Veach handled the draft last year.At the very least, the comments on the depth at cornerback should indicate that the Chiefs have a good idea of where the pockets are with that position group. On top of that, adding an offensive weapon early in the draft seems like a good bet.It will be interesting to see the strategy this year and where Veach views these “pockets” of players — and whether or not he feels like he needs to aggressively attack them early.KC Draft GuideWant an idea of some of the players in these depth “pockets”? The first-ever edition of the KC Draft Guide can help with that! You can purchase it for only $9.99! We have over 225 prospect write-ups with specifics about how prospects fit the Chiefs. There are more than 300 grades on players, mock drafts, positional rankings and features — all specific to the Chiefs. Grab your copy by clicking here!Loading...

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