Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks about the acquisition of cornerback Marcus Peters from the Rams.
As Bennett Jackson left a meeting with the New York Jets earlier this week, he glanced at his phone and saw multiple missed calls and messages from his agent.
When he finally got in touch with him, the news that was delivered was five years in the making: The Ravens wanted to sign Jackson to their active roster.
With several injuries at safety, Jackson, whom the team signed off the New York Jets practice squad Tuesday, is expected to contribute on defense and special teams Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks in what will be his first NFL regular-season game since being drafted in 2014.
“It feels like I’m reuniting,” said Jackson, who spent the summer in Ravens training camp. “These are all the guys I spent time with for the past two years really. I’ve got a great relationship with everybody. It’s definitely good to be back in a system I’m familiar with, so I was excited when I got the call, for sure.”
Jackson was drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 draft but multiple severe knee injuries kept him from playing during the regular season.
The Ravens signed him to a reserve/future deal in 2018, but with the team’s depth at safety during training camp, Jackson was released.
After safeties Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliott suffered season-ending knee injuries in consecutive weeks, snaps have opened for Jackson to contribute.
“Bennett knows our special teams format,” Harbaugh said. “He knows our techniques and things like that, so that’s a big help for him. I mean, both special teams and defense, probably [I] would make that case.”
While Sunday marks a landmark achievement in Jackson’s career, he said he’s approaching it as if it were another day in training camp.
“It’ll definitely be one of my happiest moments,” Jackson said. “I just kind of don’t let myself get too caught up in that. I work every day as if I’m in the situation to be starting at that point, or playing at that point so that when I do get into the game, it’s not a shock to me.”
Ravens preparing for raucous Seattle crowd
CenturyLink Field offers one of the greatest home-field advantages in the NFL. The Seahawks’ fans, known leaguewide as “The 12s,” are among the loudest, posing a massive challenge for visiting teams.
Since drafting quarterback Russell Wilson in 2012, the Seahawks are 51-14 at home, and their volatile crowd has played a role in that success, forcing opposing offenses into pre-snap infractions and disrupting communication.
“It’ll be a factor for any offense,” Harbaugh said of the crowd noise. “That’s a very loud place for any quarterback. That’s something that any team that plays in Seattle has to contend with to a very large degree. We use silent [count], cadence, signaling, communication, talking loud. Just getting the play called in the huddle is a big deal so that’s a main focus that we’re going to have.”
Quarterback Lamar Jackson has played in hostile environments in his young career, including two starts at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and his first start at Heinz Field two weeks ago, but CenturyLink Field provides a unique challenge.
“The coaches have been telling us it’s really loud,” Jackson said. “Some of the coaches, who have played on prior teams or whatever and went so Seattle, stuff like that. I just have to do a good job of executing, calling out the plays and letting everyone hear me.”