Sat, 24 Oct 2020

News & Notes: L.J. Fort Persevered to Become Mainstay With Ravens

Baltimore Ravens
27 Sep 2020, 23:25 GMT+10

Clifton Brown

The Ravens are L.J. Fort's eighth NFL team, so he knows something about moving.

However, he has found a home since joining the Ravens last season, stepping into the starting lineup immediately in Week 5 at inside linebacker. As a regular part of the linebacker rotation in 2019, Fort was a catalyst in shoring up the defense and Baltimore finished the regular season on a 12-game winning streak.

The Ravens rewarded Fort with a two-year contract extension last November and he has only upped his play in 2020. After Marlon Humphrey forced a fumble Sunday, Fort recovered the loose ball and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.

In Week 1, Fort ruined a fake punt attempt by the Cleveland Browns, tackling punter Jamie Gillan for a two-yard loss and forcing him to fumble.

After entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and bouncing around, there were times Fort wondered if he'd ever reach this point. However, joining the Ravens brought out the best in Fort, a player who finally found the right fit.

"It's been a grind," Fort said. "When you've been on P (practice) squad and you're getting cut multiple times, there's always doubt in your mind that you'll be able to find a home. Just kept sticking to it, working hard. Fortunately, I found a home here in Baltimore. I'm loving it."

Fort will be focused on trying to contain rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Monday night's matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. Edwards-Helaire is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has the speed to score from anywhere on the field.

"From what I've seen he's a tough runner and he's shifty," Fort said. "It's definitely going to be a group effort. He's been most impressive to me, being a rookie and showing up."

Following Script Works Well for Ravens Offense

When the Ravens scored on their first drive of the season against the Cleveland Browns, it continued a trend of starting fast under Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman. The Ravens led the NFL in first quarter scoring last year and took great advantage of playing with the lead.

Each week, Roman develops a series of plays that he wants to begin the game with. Other teams do it, but not with the consistent success the Ravens have enjoyed.

The coaching staff is not eager to reveal how many plays Roman scripts, or how he selects which plays to call. But the system works and Head Coach John Harbaugh isn't planning to change it.

"I have conversations with Greg about that," Harbaugh said. "I don't script the plays. I usually say I'm excited about what he's planning. Every now and then I might go, 'Um'," Harbaugh said laughing, "But not too often. Just really happy with our offensive coaches, with Greg Roman, his process. I really don't want to share his process with anybody right now, it's kind of our process and his process. But we have a process and it's really good. We have great coaches."

Players and Coaches Look Forward to Having Family in Stands on Monday

To prepare for the possibility of hosting fans at M&T Bank Stadium later this season, the Ravens will host 250 immediate family members of players, coaches and front office staff in the stands Monday night. Their attendance is permitted by a recent order from Maryland's Department of Health, with the guidance of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Baltimore City Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young.

Harbaugh said the players and coaches will get an emotional lift from seeing families in the building.

"I know the players and coaches are really happy about it, looking forward to having their families be able to come to the game," Harbaugh said. "It's definitely a big deal. We're very thankful to the organization for setting it up and for Governor Hogan for making it happen."

Fort said the players' families were excited when they received word that they could attend the game.

"We've been wanting for it to happen for a while," Fort said. "I think they're just as excited as us."

Ravens Have Healthy Outlook for Chiefs Game

The Ravens will not have nickel cornerback Tavon Young (torn ACL) for the rest of this season, but the remainder of their roster is returning to health. Wide receiver Chris Moore (finger) and rookie defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (knee) returned to practice this week. Harbaugh didn't say if either would be active Monday night, but he is happy with the team's overall health heading into Week 3.

"All the guys except for Tavon will be available to play," Harbaugh said. "We'll just have to kind of work that out in terms of what serves us best, as far as players who are active."

Harbaugh said Young would officially be placed on injured reserve "at some point soon, I'm sure."

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