(WJZ)- The Baltimore Ravens are the toast of the town in the NFL these days. They are winners of eight straight games and sporting an offense that nobody, not even the vaunted 49ers or Patriots defenses, can seem to figure out how to stop.
The biggest reason that the offense has been unstoppable is, of course, quarterback Lamar Jackson. The second-year starter has seemingly ascended to a different plane this season, ranking second in passing touchdowns (25) and throwing for over 2,500 yards while sitting 10th in rushing yards with 977 on the season. That kind of production has earned him copious amounts of praise from the national media, who have called Jackson the leading candidate for MVP. NFL On CBS lead play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz agrees.
“He has been sensational. He is not only in the discussion, right now, I would say that he leads the discussion (for MVP),” says Nantz.
Jackson’s performance has been undeniably great, and for Nantz what has been most interesting is the turnaround in conversation surrounding Baltimore’s head coach John Harbaugh. At the tail end of last season, and particularly following the first-round playoff exit against the Chargers, there was some speculation about whether or not Harbaugh should be back with the team in 2019. For Nantz, who has the opportunity to sit down with all the coaches in the league in preparing for broadcasts, says that it would have been hard for the Ravens to find a better coach.
“I sat back and thought, I feel like I have a front-row seat to what goes on, the inner workings of the league, and I have gotten to know all of the head coaches. You’re not going to find a John Harbaugh out there. He is in the discussion for the best. John Harbaugh is truly, truly in my mind one of the best there is. And he is proving it now,” said Nantz. “It’s an amazing thing he has put together here. I don’t think there are many experts who saw what he saw in terms of Lamar Jackson running this offense.”
The offense is humming, the defense is improving, and with a 10-2 record heading into Sunday’s showdown with the Buffalo Bills, a potential top seed for the playoffs is within range. If the Ravens can beat the Bills Sunday, they would put themselves in good position to remain in the top spot, as the rest of their schedule features games against the struggling Jets, a grudge match against the Browns and the always healthy Steelers rivalry.
Regardless of how they finish, this is already Harbaugh’s seventh season with 10+ wins in his 12 years with the team. His .606 winning percentage is sixth among active coaches behind Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton, Mike McCarthy and Andy Reid. In adding offensive coordinator Greg Roman this offseason, he has proven more than capable of identifying the best fits for his staff and players, something that each of those guys above him have done in their career.
With the Ravens rolling and dreaming of another Super Bowl, the lion’s share of the attention will go to Lamar Jackson, but Nantz wants to make sure that his coach isn’t forgotten in the midst of the excitement.