BALTIMORE (WJZ) — We’re just four days to the kickoff of a Ravens season like none before; no fans in the stands, and looming concerns about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Preparations for the opener continue in Owings Mills with a central factor that hasn’t changed; quarterback Lamar Jackson is the key to the Ravens’ success.

For the first time in Ravens history, they’ll take the field to start a season with the NFL’s reigning most valuable player.

Jackson begins his third season in the NFL as a record-breaking quarterback. He’s young, yet unconcerned about the quick build-up of expectations.

Jackson’s teammates said they admire his ability to tune out the noise.

“He’s the man,” running back Mark Ingram said. “He handles all the outside noise and adversity great. The outside noise, or the outside critics, or the outside people that try to, you know, doing anything… he doesn’t pay attention to it. He stays focused on the task at hand. He focuses on being the best quarterback that can be and the best player that he can be and the best leader he can be. He does a great job of it.”

Ingram added that he feels Jackson is “lightyears ahead” of where he was last year.

The focus is on football as the Ravens embark on a season imperiled by a pandemic through a lead up of great uncertainty.

“This year is definitely so unique,” Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell said. “All the preparation to get to this point and we weren’t sure it was going to happen. And so here we are, just trying to lock in and find a way to get off to a fast start and win the first ballgame.”

“I feel like we’ve prepared well, been coached well and I’m pumped,” Jackson said. “I can’t wait for Sunday.”

The Ravens open up their season at home on Sunday, September 13, against the Cleveland Browns. Game time is slated for 1 p.m.


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