Yannick Ngakoue on playing Jags: ‘I’m just treating it as another game’

James Johnson
·2 min read

One of the biggest storylines of the week for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens will be Yannick Ngakoue’s first game against his old team. As many can recall, his saga with the Jags before the season was one of the more interesting storylines in the NFL, and it all began when the young pass-rusher declared that he wanted out of Jacksonville.

Eventually, Ngakoue’s wish to leave Jacksonville came to reality as the Jags traded him to the Minnesota Vikings in August. After spending just under a month there, he was traded to the Ravens — the team that many felt he wanted to be with the most.

Now, we’re just a few days away from his first game against the Jags, and many have expected Ngakoue to have a chip on his shoulder. However, on Thursday, he insisted that he’s viewing Week 15’s meeting as another game and stressed the importance of finishing strong instead of discussing a personal agenda.

Ngakoue’s answer is about what many who’ve covered him were expecting. At the same time, it feels like the competitor in him will show up on the field and perhaps fuel him to have his best game as a Raven. That would be perfect because some Ravens fans feel like he hasn’t had the impact they were hoping for, but it feels like he needs time to get situated.

Since joining the Ravens, Ngakoue has produced seven tackles and a sack in three starts. The upcoming games will be crucial for him because he’s hoping for a contract extension, and it would certainly help if the Ravens made it to the postseason.

As for the Jags, there is a little concern about the issues they could have up front against Baltimore. They will be without their best offensive lineman, Brandon Linder, who went on injured reserve Wednesday. Additionally, one of their ascending pass protectors, Ben Bartch, will miss the game after going on the Reserve/ COVID-19 list. He was placed on the list Tuesday, so he’ll miss five games regardless of if he was a “close contact” case or a player that tested positive.

With Bartch and Linder out, the Ravens may not struggle to push the interior. Of course, that would make life on the edge easier for Ngakoue and all of Baltimore’s other exterior rushers.