Ravens feel a sense of urgency with the opener against Browns looming

Baltimore kicks off season Sept. 13
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BALTIMORE — The Ravens players had animated conversations when they came off the field during the team's first intrasquad scrimmage. 

There was a sense of urgency to execute the game plan with the season opener against the Cleveland Browns looming Sept. 13.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh couldn't wait to look at the film to get a better gauge of his players' performance because his team has a tough slate of games to begin the year. 

"Our guys understand that we’re playing a very good Cleveland Browns team in our first week," Harbaugh said. "We’re going down to Houston in Week Two. Then we have the Chiefs coming in on Monday Night in Week Three. Then we have the [Washington Football Team] in Week Four. The focus comes right back to the Browns in our opener. So, it’s here." 

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had a slow start to the scrimmage, overthrew a couple of receivers. He was simply off the mark other times. The offense had a couple of sloppy false start penalties. 

Jackson, the NFL's reigning MVP, got into a rhythm over the second half of the game and threw a pair of nifty touchdown passes wide receiver Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews.

Overall, the players see progress. 

“I feel good about where we’re at," running back Mark Ingram said. "And we have guys who have the right intent, guys who are willing to play hard, guys who want to be great. And, honestly, I think today was very needed for us – just to be able to see that we’re not all the way ready. 

"We still have strides to go to be the team that we want to be. Pre-snap penalties, being able just to execute our assignments, execute our plays."

The NFL canceled all of this year's preseason games amid the ongoing challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the coaches won't fully know where their teams stand until the regular-season kicks off less than two weeks away. 

They have to do their best to quash any fear of the unknown. 

"We don’t have preseason games to work out the operational, execution details – understanding those kinds of things – and we need to be really good at it in order to make sure we play good football," Harbaugh said. "So, the guys are urgent, and they want to get those things right."