In addition, Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale explained how Baltimore is going up against one of the best to ever take the field.
“Really, I mean, in respect to the game, he’s going to go down as one of the greatest,” he said. “Everybody sees it, everybody knows it. You can’t say that he’s like somebody else; he’s Philip Rivers. I think the young quarterbacks aspire to be like him, the way he has command of the offense. I heard John (Harbaugh) say in his press conference – and I told him I thought it was perfect – the analogy of, ‘He tries to get the most out of every play that he calls,’ whether it’s a run play, whether it’s a pass play. He has such a competitive spirit. As a defensive coordinator, it’s a lot of fun to go against it, because it’s a chess match on every play.”
On the flip side, in addition to boasting the league’s top ranked defense, the Ravens have a red-hot QB of their own, with rookie Lamar Jackson winning four of his five starts. His specialty? His fast legs, recording 566 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Add that to his 818 passing yards and five touchdowns, and you can count him as a dual-threat quarterback.
Jackson has yet to face a top 10 defense in the games he has started, so going up against the eighth-ranked Chargers is sure to be a big test for the newcomer, especially when facing one of the best edge rushing duos in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
“It’s a big challenge,” Harbaugh said of the pair. “Obviously they move them around and they’ll find ways to use them to counteract plays that they think they have to defend from us. … (We) try to anticipate a little bit of what they might do. They line them up in different spots, especially Ingram. He lines up in a lot of different positions. You’ve just got to try to do the best you can and try to find a way to block them.”
Then of course, you can’t forget about Derwin James, another dynamic rookie making his mark on the league just like Jackson..
“Best pass rushing safety in football,” Harbaugh said. “This guy, when he blitzes, he gets to the quarterback. He disrupts the run game. (I’m) very impressed with him all the way around. He’s a dominant player.”