Posted in Ravens Thoughts

The Aaron Rodgers situation: And why the NFL has to do something

By Chris Schisler

Aaron Rodgers won’t be playing this week for the Green Bay Packers because he tested positive for Covid-19. That’s not the story though. The story is that an unvaccinated player that we collectively assumed was vaccinated, who hasn’t followed rules regarding masks in press conferences and talking to the media, has been facetious about his vaccine status up to this point.

The NFL gave players a choice, the vaccine was never mandated and the players union made sure of it. The good news is that Rodgers, has been considered unvaccinated all year long, so he’s been tested as an unvaccinated player and his quarantine will follow the guidelines. The bad news is that either the NFL and/or the Green Bay Packers decided to look the other way while Rodgers was disregarding rules towards masks.

Aaron Rodgers lacks the respect for others he seeks for himself

The dishonesty is the worst part of this. Rodgers has been interacting with members of his team, his organization and, the media. He misled people intentionally. The Packers quarterback got away with playing by his own rules and he kept going like nothing ever happened. The fact that it took a positive test for all of this to come to light halfway through the season, is the big problem. The coverup is always worse than the crime and this creates a trust problem for the NFL.

Rodgers has demanded respect from the media yet he hasn’t been straightforward with them. He’s been at a higher risk of carrying and spreading Covid-19 and he hasn’t been wearing masks. Forget about being selfish in regards to his team (Which is a whole different issue) he’s asking for respect from the media that he’s not willing to give back on his end. Respect is a two-way street.

Here is a link to the interview Rodgers gave today on the Pat McAfee show:

The one thing that is clear as day is that Aaron Rodgers cares only about Aaron Rodgers. He had a storm of an offseason and now he’s bringing a cloud over an otherwise amazing season for the Packers. Rodgers has done nothing to get the benefit of the doubt.

The NFL can’t ignore this:

The NFL can go about this one of two ways. They can make Rodgers follow the rules going forward and try to move on in the quietest possible way or they can take action. The Green Bay Packers should be fined. Rodgers being suspended for a game or two after his quarantine is unlikely but not necessarily uncalled for.

The NFL has to own up to the fact that a double standard has been created. What the NFL needs to be concerned about is setting a precedent and establishing trust with the media, the teams, and their fans.

The real harm is that Rodgers is spreading misinformation. Rodgers is peddling anti-vaxxer rhetoric and was given a hall pass from these conversations all season. Now he thinks he has the NFL in a corner. The NFL has to show Rodgers that this is not the case. Mina Kimes of ESPN put it better than I’ve heard it from anyone, Here’s the link to that video clip.

Kimes called a spade a spade. Rodgers is pushing information that has been debunked by the medical community. She was right to say that. Rodgers has the potential to do more harm by being a champion of bad ideas. This isn’t a contained problem even if he has to follow the rules going forward.

The Bottom Line:

This isn’t about football at this point. Like Mina Kimes says there is a human element of this and Rodgers doesn’t seem to care. Rodgers asked for an alternative to vaccination. The NFL didn’t bite. The NFL knew about this the whole time. They can’t save face but they can course correct. Hold Rodgers accountable. Hold the Green Bay Packers accountable.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens vs. Minnesota Vikings: 4 predictions and a score

The NFL has to do something. Forget the Packers’ next game against the Chiefs. This has become a much bigger problem than the Packers not having their quarterback for a game or two. This is a bad look for Rodgers and it calls a lot into question at the NFL.

Posted in Ashley's 3 big questions

Ravens vs. Lions got interesting: 3 big questions for the game

By: Ashley Anderson

It has been a crazy week in Charm City. The Ravens came away with a major win over the Chiefs on Sunday night and quickly got back to business. Lamar Jackson missed some time with a stomach bug, then Covid-19 struck again. Most experts have penciled in a win for Baltimore, but there are plenty of lingering questions.

3.) Will the Ravens suffer an emotional letdown coming off a big win?

Sometimes, when teams win a huge game and emotions are super high, they have a tendency to overlook their next opponent. The Detroit Lions are in a different conference, rarely face the Ravens, and are currently 0-2. This has the makings of a perfect trap game.

Baltimore faced Lions quarterback Jared Goff in 2019 when he was with the Rams. Under the lights of Monday Night Football, the Ravens shellacked the Rams 45-6. Goff is in a much different situation now, although it hardly seems much better.

This is the type of game where the Ravens are heavily favored, and pundits are giving them a big edge. However, Detroit has plenty of solid weapons. In the NFL, and team can truly beat any other if conditions are favorable.

All season long, the Ravens have been battling injuries, and now Covid-19 reared its ugly head again. With their emotions on a rollercoaster, it would be understandable if Baltimore suffered a letdown Sunday. If that happens though, they could be in for a surprise defeat.

Since taking over as the starting quarterback, these are the types of games Lamar Jackson has rarely lost. Head Coach John Harbaugh preaches celebrating for 24 hours then turning focus back to the upcoming game. Few teams are as well-coached and built to withstand adversity as well as Baltimore, but they will be put to the test Sunday.

2.) Will Jimmy Smith Finally Return?

When Jimmy Smith initially went down with an injury in training camp, his season seemed to be in jeopardy. Fortunately, team doctors diagnosed him with an ankle sprain rather than any breaks or tears. It looked as though he would be able to return prior to the start of the season, or very early on.

Smith has continued to be limited at practice as his injury proved to be more serious than it seemed. As a result, he has yet to play in a game. In his absence, opposing tight ends have been eating the secondary alive. First, Darren Waller had his way, picking on Chuck Clark in particular, then Travis Kelce was a one-man, tackle-breaking wrecking crew.

This week, the Ravens are tasked with stopping T.J. Hockenson, who is arguably one of the top tight ends in the league. Smith finally got in a full practice on Friday and appears primed to make his season debut. His return would be a huge boost for the secondary who are already missing Marcus Peters and Chris Westry. It would also benefit DeShon Elliott, who suffered a concussion last week.

Fans have been anxiously awaiting Smith’s return. The Ravens officially listed him as questionable, and the full practice is a positive sign.

1.) Can the Ravens survive the latest battle with Covid-19?

The Ravens are a team that has faced issues with Covid-19 multiple times. Last season, the NFL postponed the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers twice due to an outbreak. Pittsburgh dealt Baltimore a close loss that ultimately affected playoff seeding. At full strength, the Ravens would likely have won that matchup.

Before the start of this season, Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards both missed time after testing positive. Ultimately, it did not matter for Edwards, as he suffered a season-ending knee injury. For Jackson, however, it cost him valuable reps with a new receiver group. In particular, Jackson had precious little time to develop chemistry with rookie Rashod Bateman before Bateman was injured.

Now, just three weeks into the season, outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson has tested positive. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale employed Ferguson sparingly the first two weeks. However, losing Ferguson is just the tip of the iceberg.

Justin Houston, Justin Madubuike, and Brandon Williams will all miss Sunday’s game as the Ravens deemed them to be close contacts. We can infer that they are all unvaccinated based on the team’s response. If any of them end up testing positive, it could cause them to miss even more time.

Next Post: NFL Picks: Predictions for the whole week 3 slate of games

This is simply not a good scenario for the Ravens. It leaves them thin along the defensive line for this game and potentially even longer. Although the Lions are 0-2, Baltimore can hardly take a win for granted. Already ravaged by injuries, the hits just keep on coming.

Posted in Hot Take of the Week

Logistically, Lamar Jackson needs to get Covid-19 vaccine

By Chris Schisler

Lamar Jackson tested positive for Covid-19. This is his second positive test, he missed a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers the first time. This is a frustrating problem to deal with for the Baltimore Ravens, a team who also has running back Gus Edwards on a 10-day quarantine for his positive test.

From a football perspective, this is a perfect chance for Tyler Huntley to win the understudy role in Ravens training camp. It does however halt the progress of an offense that is supposed to undergo some changes this year. Then you have the other issue. Vaccination talk and vitriol coming from both sides.

Vaccination is a choice, but the NFL has made stiff consequences for taking your chances. The Covid vaccine doesn’t mean that there can’t be positive tests in the future. This is a valid point, though it’d be foolish for that to be a reason Jackson decides not to get the shot.

The vaccine minimizes the risk of catching the virus. It’s not just about positive and negative tests though. The vaccine is your best chance of avoiding hospitalization. Jackson has caught the virus twice or at least had two tests that have gotten him away from his team.

Like everything goes right now, two sides have formed. There are the people who are angry or frustrated with Jackson for not being vaccinated. Then there are the people who don’t think he should be forced to take the vaccine and that it’s a matter of personal choice.

What Lamar Jackson needs to do when he can:

Jackson is an amazing quarterback and an awesome person. Whatever side of the vaccine debate you are on, changing your opinion about Jackson is unfair. Jackson gives a lot back to the community, and he’s lifted the team and the fanbase with his passion and his energy. One way or the other, Jackson is a person who deserves your respect.

Logistically, Jackson needs to be vaccinated. He’s the quarterback, the leader, and the most valuable player of the Baltimore Ravens. He’s the player the Ravens have built the team around. Every week of the season that Jackson isn’t vaccinated is a week that can get blown up by that liability.

Related Post: The NFL Covid-19 vaccine policy is a fair rule that makes sense

The start of training camp is the best time for this to happen if this is the last time that it does occur. He’s still missing practice reps. He’s losing his initial chance to build chemistry with Rashod Bateman and get going with a new look passing attack. This isn’t good, there are clear consequences, and yet it’s the best time this can happen in the whole season.

If there is an outbreak due to unvaccinated players during the season the Ravens will forfeit their game. If Jackson tests positive and the game can go on, the Ravens have to play without their MVP quarterback for at least one week. Jackson is the most important player on the entire team and he’s been absent twice for positive Covid tests.

Jackson is the leader of the team a point I’m happy to continually reinforce to make my argument. He’s not just the leader because he’s the quarterback. Jackson is a leader because he’s selfless and the team would run through a wall for him. He is perhaps the most team-oriented quarterback in the NFL and he repeatedly gives everything he has for the Ravens.

Lamar Jackson, here is the bottom line:

Jackson getting vaccinated would be in line with those truisms about him as a person and a player. According to reports, 90 percent of the team is vaccinated. The leader of the team choosing to get vaccinated would make a strong case for that number to get real close to 100 percent.

While it’s important not to force vaccination and personal choice should be respected, it’s also important to live in the reality of the situation. The situation is that the most important player of the franchise can’t justify getting vaccinated, especially because he interacts with so much of the team every practice.

Jackson is the centerpiece of the offense. Jackson getting a positive test at any point is the most consequential a positive test can be for the Ravens.

With all due respect to personal choice, Jackson must get vaccinated. He’s the leader of the team and the action of getting vaccinated would be very meaningful to Baltimore Ravens football. Jackson is the most entertaining and enjoyable player on the Ravens, maybe even in the NFL.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: 3 most important facets of training camp

It’s from a good and respectful place that I say that Lamar Jackson should get take care of himself, be a leader and minimize risk in one decision. He needs to get the vaccination.

Posted in NFL News

The NFL Covid-19 vaccine policy is a fair rule that makes sense

By Chris Schisler

For the NFL, it’s fairly simple. Get vaccinated or you’re responsible for the ramifications. It’s still a choice. The NFL isn’t making players get the vaccine. The NFL also isn’t making it easy to be unvaccinated. They shouldn’t make it easy either.

The NFL just got through the strangest season in its history. The league had to reschedule games, deal with outbreaks of the pandemic in team facilities and handle unprecedented circumstances. The Baltimore Ravens were right in the middle of that. The outbreak at the facilities in Owings Mills prevented the Ravens and Steelers from clashing on Thanksgiving night. The situation around that game was crazy and neither team ended up all that happy with the way it played out.

The Denver Broncos were essentially forced to play a game without a quarterback because all of their quarterbacks were on the Covid list. John Elway was not a happy camper with how the NFL handled that situation. To be fair to Elway (which isn’t easy to be as a Baltimore guy), it wasn’t fun stuff. It was a bag of worms without a manual.

The policy:

Last season there wasn’t a vaccine for the pandemic. This season there is a vaccine. Last season it was all about constant testing and following new protocols to keep out of trouble. This season there is a vaccine. This means they went from having a problem they couldn’t do anything about to having a problem they can minimize a great deal. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network has broken it down on Twitter and quite frankly made this as simple as I’ve seen it laid out.


It’s a little bit like the whole free speech thing. Just like you can say what you want to, you can choose to not get the vaccine. Just like with the whole saying whatever you want a thing, you aren’t protected from the repercussions of your choice. Tom Pelissero reported on what those repercussions could be for unvaccinated players if there is an outbreak in the locker room.

This is actually kind of a brilliant rule. If a game can’t be played due to Covid-19, the unvaccinated parties are held responsible but the entire team (and their opposing team) is deprived of a game check. Does it pressure players to get vaccinated? You bet it does. Does it force it on them to participate? No.

Getting vaccinated is a personal choice that has been politicized. Is it ironic that so many of the people who wanted to keep politics out of football have brought politics into this as a reason not to get vaccinated? Yes. It’s richer than Berger Cookies. I need a glass of milk just after writing that sentence.

Why this is a fair rule:

What the NFL did was create a fair rule. It reflects on the situation we are in as members of the world. The pandemic isn’t over. There are pockets in this country where covid-19 rates are going up and restrictions are being put back into place. Not shockingly, they coincide with places with lower rates of people who are vaccinated. In the NFL’s rule, one player’s actions can cause a problem for two entire teams.

In the grand scheme if we all did our part and got vaccinated when it was our turn we’d be lightyears ahead of where we are fighting this global pandemic. Covid-19 is everyone’s problem and I really don’t care what political aisle you’re in, that’s not a debatable point.

Now it’s important to note that politics isn’t the only reason players are using for not wanting the vaccine. Not everyone is going off the rails and threatening retirement because they “Don’t want to be controlled man.” It’s not just players like Cole Beasley making it painfully obvious what it’s about. There are all sorts of reasons. There are medical reasons, religious reasons and hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

The good news for the NFL is that most of the league is already vaccinated. Pro Football Talk reports that 80 percent of NFL players have had at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine. According to the report by Michael David Smith: 

Nine teams now have more than 90 percent of their players vaccinated. Five teams are bringing up the rear with less than 70 percent of their players vaccinated.”

The good news is that this really hasn’t been all that divisive, or at least divisive in the way that you’d think it was from us continually talking about it. Most of the league’s players are vaccinated which reduces the risk of Covid-19 related problems over the course of the 17 game season and the playoffs.

With these policies, the number of unvaccinated players is going to go down fairly quickly. Whether you view it as an unfair incentive or not, that’s exactly what the policies give the NFL players. The headlines are going to stink for a while. Coaches are already parting with teams because of the vaccine issue. Each disgruntled member of the NFL, whether it’s a player, coach, or staff member, will cause more and more headlines and debates.

NEXT POST: Ravens rookies: Top concern for each member of 2021 draft class

We’re going to have a mostly straightforward season. In the end, the number of unvaccinated players will dwindle. Until this pandemic is over, the risk will always be there. When you consider all the logistics, this rule is fair. When you consider the situation, this is an understandable rule.