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Todd Heap Talks Ravens, Gadget Plays And Tight Ends

September 11, 2018
Following the Baltimore Ravens' 47-3  season-opening win against the Buffalo Bills Sept. 9, former All-Pro tight end Todd Heap shared his thoughts on how young players like quarterback Lamar Jackson and tight end Hayden Hurst can contribute to the Ravens in the future.  

Jackson, the Ravens' backup quarterback behind starter Joe Flacco, handled the ball twice during the first half Sept. 9, and both plays gained no yards. He lined up at quarterback and in the slot for the respective plays.

"Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the gadget plays, but -- saying that -- the ones that they did run in the game, I didn't think they were that bad," Heap said on Glenn Clark Radio Sept. 10. "[Jackson's] a half step faster than most people out there. He puts pressure on the defense when he's doing that."

Jackson entered the game as the quarterback during the third quarter with his team up 40-0, and he finished the day with one completion on four attempts and rushed for a total of 39 yards. 

Along with Jackson, Heap also had high praise for the Ravens' group of young tight ends this season. Fourth-year tight ends Nick Boyle (three catches for 40 yards) and Maxx Williams (three, 32) produced Sept. 9, as did rookie Mark Andrews (three, 31).
"All the tight ends, everybody's making plays," Heap said. "We'll have a pretty good group of guys that teams are going to be having a hard time accounting for all of them."

In particular, Heap had only good things to say about Hurst, the rookie tight end who was drafted by the Ravens in the first round and is expected to return to practice in a few weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. 

"He is really impressive," Heap said. "So far from what I've seen on the practice field, in training camp, I really like what I see. There's so many positives that the young guy has to work with. I'm just looking forward to seeing what he can do with all of it."

Until Hurst is healthy, however, Flacco will have to rely on a receiving corps which impressed Heap with a big Week 1 performance. Six Ravens recorded three or more receptions while gaining at least 30 yards during the win Sept. 9, showing the depth at the wide receiver and tight end positions. Receiver Willie Snead IV led the way with four catches and 49 yards.

"I kind of like all the different options they have," Heap said. "Across the board, you've got guys that can make plays everywhere." 

It also reminded the NFL that Flacco can be dangerous from the pocket, as he threw for 236 yards, three touchdowns and completed 73.5 percent of his passes. 

"Having those weapons, having guys that he knows are going to make plays for [Flacco], that's a huge plus," Heap said. "To come in the first game of the season and have a lot of different guys making plays for you, I think that just bodes well for the rest of the year."

For more from Heap, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox