Ravens cornerback Cyrus Jones ends many of his Instagram posts with #finao. It stands for, “failure is not an option.”
That is Jones’ approach to filling in for Tavon Young, the Ravens’ top nickel cornerback who has a serious neck injury that could keep him sidelined for the entire season. Jones, the team’s primary punt returner in 2018, has wanted more playing time at cornerback. He didn’t want it to happen this way, but if the coaching staff asks Jones to fill the nickel cornerback role, he will be prepared.
“Tavon’s a great player,” Jones said. “I hate what’s going on with him right now. Praying for him as all of us are. But it’s up to the next man to step up, whoever that is. If I got to go in there and do the job of taking Tavon’s spot, then so be it. If not, I’m going to keep going, doing whatever it is to help this team win.”
Jones saw extended playing time at cornerback Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers. Head Coach John Harbaugh has mentioned that Brandon Carr and others can match up with slot wide receivers, so Jones may not handle the nickel cornerback role exclusively. However, Harbaugh liked what he saw from Jones on Thursday.
“He played hard, played smart, did a good job,” Harbaugh said. “It will be a little different plan if Tavon’s not there, in terms of playing more guys at the spot than we would’ve. We’ll see how that plays out.”
Harbaugh said the recovery time for Young’s injury remained undecided as he continued to seek options on the best treatment. Young has a significant injury that could require season-ending surgery.
“It’s still a decision that has to be made, and that’s between really the doctors, Tavon, his family, agent, stuff like that,” Harbaugh said. “Ultimately it’s the player’s decision about how he wants to handle the injury. I’m sure he’s getting some opinions, that’s what guys do. Certainly, Tavon wants to play, that’s for sure. We’ll just see what happens.”
A Baltimore native and Gilman School product, Jones was a second-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2016 after being a standout cornerback at Alabama. Jones has played primarily special teams in the NFL, but as he gets more reps at corner he feels his comfort level improving.
“The more you get those game-time reps, the better you’ll be when it’s lights, camera, action,” Jones said. “The more I’m out there the more comfortable I get. I feel like I’m comfortable as it is, so I can only keep on improving.”
Jones views his journey to the NFL as a story that Baltimore kids can draw inspiration from. That’s another reason he uses #finao on his Instagram messages. For Jones, failure was not an option.
“It’s my motto that I go by, but I think it’s something that everyone can benefit from, especially younger kids, which I definitely try to have an effect on, being in my hometown and playing here, through my foundation and whatnot,” Jones said. “I just think it’s a positive message that anybody can relate to.”
Marquise Brown Full Participant in Practice
Continuing to make progress from his Lisfranc foot surgery, wide receiver Marquise Brown was a full participant in Saturday’s practice. He has yet to play in the preseason, but Harbaugh did not rule out the possibility that Brown would make his debut Thursday night in Philadelphia.
“He practiced fully today so that’s a good sign,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll just have to see how it responds.”
Marshal Yanda Won’t Play Until Week 1
Harbaugh said Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda won’t play Thursday night in Philadelphia, or in the final game of the preseason (Aug. 29) against the Washington Redskins.
“He probably could go there and practice and play (in Philadelphia), but I kind of ruled it out to be honest with you,” Harbaugh said. “He agreed, finally. Marshal just wants to go. We’ll get him ready for the opener.”
Yanda, who did not practice Saturday, has been dealing with a foot issue that Harbaugh said wasn’t serious. The Ravens want to make sure Yanda is right for the regular-season opener Sept. 8 against the Miami Dolphins. There would be little point to playing Yanda in the preseason finale, a game that starters usually sit out.
Lamar Jackson’s Workload May Not Increase in Third Preseason Game
Many teams play their starting quarterback the entire first half, or more, during the third preseason game. But it sounded like Harbaugh would not do that with Lamar Jackson. He has not played beyond the first quarter during the preseason – 16 snaps against the Jacksonville Jaguars and 22 snaps Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers.
Asked if Jackson would play more against the Eagles, Harbaugh said, “No, we don’t do it that way. That’s a good question. A lot of teams do a lot more in the third game. We kind of balance it out.”
Thirteen Players Miss Practice
In addition to Young and Yanda, Ravens who didn’t practice Saturday were running backs Kenneth Dixon and Gus Edwards; offensive linemen Randin Crecilius and Greg Senat; linebackers Chris Board, Patrick Onwuasor, Kenny Young, Nicholas Grigsby and Mike Onuoha; cornerback Iman Marshall and wide receiver Seth Roberts. Board suffered a concussion Thursday night. Other than Tavon Young’s situation, Harbaugh said there were no other serious injuries he was aware of.