Why Ravens QB Lamar Jackson’s missed practice (illness) isn’t good news for Detroit Lions

Detroit Free Press

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is on the injury report for the fourth time in his career, and that might not be good news for the Detroit Lions.

Jackson, who did not practice Thursday because of a non-COVID-19 related illness, is 3-0 in games after he appeared on the injury report, according to the Baltimore Sun. The Ravens won all three of those games in blowout fashion, and Jackson had two of the best passing performances of his career in the games.

In his MVP season of 2019, Jackson posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in a 49-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals after missing time during the week with an illness.

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Later that season, after showing up on the injury report with a quad injury, Jackson threw five touchdown passes in a 42-21 win over the New York Jets.

Last year, he had a more mortal performance in an early 27-3 win over the Bengals, when he was questionable to play because of illness and a knee injury — and threw for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

Jackson, who had a career-low (for a game he started) 3 yards rushing on two carries in that game against the Bengals, also missed a game last season while on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He ran for 94 yards and a touchdown in his return from COVID in a 34-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

“He’s a dynamic player,” Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said. “It’s hard not to give him his props now. But gosh, it’s hard to find them like that.”

According to multiple reports, Jackson is dealing with a stomach bug and expected to play Sunday.

Family ties

Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will coach against his son, Ravens secondary coach, D’Anton Lynn, on Sunday for the second time in three seasons.

The Lynns, who worked together in three previous stops, last met as opponents in 2019, when the elder Lynn was head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers and the younger Lynn was an assistant secondary coach with the Houston Texans.

The Texans beat the Chargers that season, 27-20.

“I haven’t thought much about him, to be honest with you,” Anthony Lynn said Thursday. “But he’s public enemy No. 1 right now.”

The Lynns first worked together in 2014, when D’Anton was a seasonal intern with the Jets and Anthony was the team’s assistant head coach. In 2015-16, D’Anton was a defensive assistant with the Buffalo Bills, while Anthony was the team’s assistant head coach. And when Anthony got the Chargers job in 2017, he hired D’Anton as assistant linebackers coach.

Scaling back special teams

Lions coach Dan Campbell said he will consider scaling back Jalen Reeves-Maybin’s role on special teams to account for the expanded reps he will play defensively Sunday.

Reeves-Maybin leads the Lions with three special teams tackles in two games and has been one of the team’s best coverage players for several years running.

“I thought he played outstanding the other night on special teams,” Campbell said. “Well, the more reps you get on defense, inevitably, sometimes it starts to slip on special teams, and that is a fear. It’s naturally what happens, but I know it won’t be from lack of effort with him or (Derrick Barnes). I know they’ll put their best foot forward, but that’s why we want to try to bring another body in here to help. And if we can take them off of a team, that will help.”

Campbell said Reeves-Maybin and Barnes likely will “split the load” at inside linebacker in order to allow both to retain some role on special teams.

“It’ll definitely be a challenge,” Reeves-Maybin said. “But I’m just looking forward to getting out there and bringing my energy to the game and seeing where it goes from there.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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