Ravens understand sense of urgency to end recent playoff frustration

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens players and coaches have heard all about their playoff shortcomings in recent years.

The team earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, but the players still have their detractors.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson is one of the top playmakers in the NFL and has won a league MVP, but he still hears talk about being 1-3 in the postseason.

The Ravens also have been dealing with comparisons to the 2019 team, which was also the No. 1 seed but was upset by the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the playoffs at home.

Jackson and the rest of his teammates are determined to reverse those trends and quiet the naysayers in this year’s postseason, which begins with a second-round game against the Houston Texans on Saturday at 4:30 at M&T Bank Stadium.

This group of Ravens appears to realize the urgency of this postseason,

“Lamar tells us all the time, he was on that 2019 team and it left a bitter taste in his mouth,” tight end Isaiah Likely said. “It’s him reminding us to stay locked in. He’s been here before and he understands that this isn’t enough. The ultimate goal is for us to win the Super Bowl.”

Even though the Ravens had a first-round bye as the top seed  in the AFC, the players and coaches have stayed around the Under Armour Performance Center and had a regular practice schedule to stay focused.  Coach John Harbaugh even scheduled a practice at M&T Bank Stadium last Saturday to stay in game mode.

Players such as wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. understand what it takes to win a Super Bowl. Beckham won a championship with the Rams in the 2021 season, and he thinks the Ravens have more talent than that team.

However, they know they have to prove it on the field.

“Like I’ve been saying the whole year, I feel like everybody knows what’s at stake just being down that road and remembering all the feelings of how things went and how the games go,” Beckham said. “It’s just about dialing into all the things that Coach ‘Harbs’ talks about – [the] small fundamentals of football [and] everybody doing their assignment.

“There are no teams that are here by mistake or accident. Every team here is the best of the best in the business. We approach it like that, and whatever I can do to help, that’s what I’m here to do.”

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