The Baltimore Ravens will be playing their most important game to date against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, January 28 and will hope to have all hands-on deck. However, former Ravens WR Desean Jackson does not believe they need All-Pro TE Mark Andrews back on the field.
Jackson appeared on the “Up & Adams” show hosted by Kay Adams on Friday, January 26 and spoke about Andrews possible return. Jackson said, “No disrespect to Mark Andrews, but do we really need him to win? We’ve been winning fine without him.”
It drew a “hmm” from host Adams for what could be considered a hot take questioning needing a top-3 tight end in the league.
On Friday, January 26, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported, “Now official: The #Ravens have activated All-Pro TE Mark Andrews from Injured Reserve and he’ll play on Sunday in the AFC Title game against the #Chiefs.”
Jackson’s concern seems to be focused on forcing Andrews back to quickly and messing up the rhythm of the team. Adams asked him if the return of Andrews could be a “bad thing” and his response was, “It can.”
Andrews has been practicing for the last few weeks and has been able to be a full participant in multiple practices over the weeks. There was a possibility he played against the Houston Texans, but the Ravens gambled to give him an extra week and it paid off.
The Ravens do not appear to share Jackson’s concerns and Andrews is likely to be a key part of the gameplan against the Chiefs.
Would Bringing Back Andrews Mess up the Rhythm
Since Andrews was hurt in the Week 11 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens have been on a roll. Jackson’s main concern appears to be the fear of messing the chemistry up.
Jackson told Adams, “You already have your sauce, your rhythm.”
There have been seven regular season games and one playoff game since the injury and the Ravens have only lost one game. That one loss was against the Pittsburgh Steelers where they sat some stars like QB Lamar Jackson and WRs Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr.
A major reason for the rhythm besides the aforementioned players stepping up, is the breakout of 2nd-year TE Isiah Likely.
Likely in those 8 games has 23 catches, 356 yards and most importantly 6 touchdowns. He has stepped up into Andrew role phenomenally, but adding Andrews back would not harm this team.
Andrews in six seasons have 401 catches, 5,069 receiving yards and 40 touchdowns. Additionally, he has been a leader for this team since he entered the league.
Jackson talked about having Andrews back and said, “I got another security blanket.”
Ravens’ Fans React Negatively to Desean Jackson’s Comments
Desean Jackson was a member of the Ravens during the 2022 season, so he has seen Andrews up close. The response to his comments on X (formerly twitter) has been mainly disagreement.
Bobby Trosset (Bobby Baltimore), cohost of “The Vault: A Daily Ravens Podcast,” posted, “I refuse to live in a world where we’re questioning whether an All-Pro tight end should be brought back into the fold for a do-or-die playoff game.”
Andrews is a three-time Pro-Bowler and one-time All-Pro during his time here. Off-the-field and on-the-field, he has been seen as the heart of this team.
“I’ve never seen a player who’s elite at his position be disrespected more than Mark Andrews is. This is ridiculous. Hes our best player. Our most dominant over the middle of the field. Hes a great blocker too frankly. So tired of this,” another user wrote.
The blocking element Andrews brings to the team seemed to be a focus of fans in the replies. One user posted, “I think where he will really benefit the team is the blocking. It’ll be nice to have those two tight end sets or to give likely a breather etc.”
It will be up to offensive coordinator Todd Monken to figure ways to get both tight ends on the field. However, if done correctly, defenses will have difficulty shutting down an explosive receiving corps.
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