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Lamar Jackson Will Face First True Road Test in Kansas City

December 05, 2018 - 8:57 pm
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By Joe Schiller

The Ravens improved to 3-0 under Lamar Jackson last Sunday when the rookie quarterback earned his first career NFL road start in a 26-16 win over the Falcons.

Judging by the crowd in Mercedes Benz Stadium, the atmosphere didn’t seem to provide much of a challenge.

If any at all.

A 1.6 billion stadium was taken over by Ravens fans and remnants of “Seven Nation Army” could be heard through the CBS broadcast as the final seconds ticked down in the fourth quarter.

Jackson played in more hostile environments on the road at Louisville. A road game in the ACC, packed with energetic college students, was a far bigger challenge than anything Jackson has experienced so far in his pro career.

But a Week 14 matchup against the Chiefs will be his true road test.sold-out Arrowhead Stadium of 76,000+ is one of the toughest places to play year in and year out.

The AFC-leading Chiefs (10-2) present obstacles on the field on both sides of the ball, let alone the crowd noise. And despite success in Kansas City in previous years, John Harbaugh understands the challenge his team will be facing this weekend.

“Kansas City is very loud. It’s a great environment,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “It’s one of those environments you love going into in this league. It’s what you do this job for. Yes, it’s an awesome place to play. It’ll be loud, they’ll be into it [if> their team is winning. This’ll be a big game. We’re looking forward to that. That’s something that you really kind of relish.”

Joe Flacco is slowly returning back to practice from a right hip injury but Jackson is expected to make his fourth straight start. Play-calling and communicating with the offense is going to be nothing like Jackson has head to deal with yet. The team will do their best to simulate crowd noise throughout this week but like a defense preparing to face Jackson, there's nothing like going up against the real thing. 

Playing a team that has the potential to score seven points on a single play, the Ravens cannot afford to lose timeouts and commit unnecessary penalties throughout this game. Wins against the Raiders, Bengals and Falcons have Baltimore in the playoff hunt but they don’t possess the weapons to win in a shootout.

Sunday is going to be a learning experience for the young quarterback. When Jackson takes the field among a sea of red, he’ll be faced with consistent noise through the entirety of 60 minutes.

How he’ll respond is going to be fun to watch.