Slowing Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is priority No. 1 for the Ravens as the rookie ranks sixth in the NFL with 140 rushing yards. But it may also be part of the defense's plan to force quarterback Blake Bortles to carry the offense.
Here is what cornerback Brandon Carr had to say when asked about Bortles.
"They have two amazing backs that they rely on heavily," Carr said Wednesday, referring to Fournette and Chris Ivory. "They don't put too much on the quarterback. They allow those guys to make one cut, get downhill, put the ball in their hands, keep the passing game short and simple for them. So we look for some deep throws. He has a big arm, and he can run the ball as well in certain situations. But we expect a lot of runs and we expect for us to be ready to tackle this week."
Since a career year in 2015 when he amassed 4,428 yards, 37 total touchdowns and 18 interceptions, Bortles has regressed, dropping to 3,905 yards, 26 total touchdowns and 16 interceptions. In two games thus far, he ranks in the bottom 25th percentile in completion percentage, passing yards, and passer rating.
Former Jacksonville running back and NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew said earlier this week that free agent Colin Kaepernick is better than Bortles or backup Chad Henne. During a conference call with Baltimore media on Wednesday, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone did not directly address Jones-Drew's comment, citing it as an example of free speech.
But when asked what he had seen from Bortles so far, Marrone replied, "1-1. One win, one loss."
Pressed on Bortles' play, Marrone said, "One good. I'm sure he'd want to play better."
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but Ravens coach John Harbaugh was much more expressive in his respect for Bortles, the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
"We're really preparing hard for him," Harbaugh said. "We're looking forward to the challenge. They're running the ball quite a bit, play-action, quick game, all the things he does well, movement stuff. He's really tough out of the pocket. It's a big challenge for us, and we're looking forward to it."