Nick Saban plans to keep playing both Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts all season

“It’s the same as it’s always been, to use them both,” Saban told ESPN on Thursday. “It evolves a little bit as you go. Our team has evolved. I can’t tell you exactly how it all will play out. It’s going to be whoever helps our team play the best, and they’ve both played a role in doing that.”

Tagovailoa has started the first three games for the No. 1 Crimson Tide and ranks first nationally in ESPN’s Total QBR metric at 98.3 (out of 100). He has directed 20 drives as Alabama’s starting quarterback with 14 resulting in touchdowns and another resulting in a field goal. Tagovailoa is 36-of-50 for 646 yards, eight touchdown passes and no interceptions for an Alabama offense that leads the nation in scoring with an average of 56.7 points per game. The Tide have outscored opponents 170-28 through three games.nfl jersey wholesale

Hurts has also played in every game and has entered in the first half of every contest. He’s 19-of-28 for 248 yards, four touchdown passes and one interception. Hurts, a junior, was 26-2 as Alabama’s starter before being beat out this preseason by Tagovailoa, the hero of last season’s national championship game.2

“I understand how unique a situation this is,” Saban said. “I don’t know of any other precedent at any time in college football where a guy started 28 games, won 26 of them and then somebody took his place. That’s never happened. So that’s hard for Jalen, and it’s hard for me. I’m a loyal guy and loyal to the guys who get out there and lay it on the line for you. You want to be fair to all of your players, but you also want to be fair to your team.

“We needed both quarterbacks last year, and we’ll need them both again this year.”

With the NCAA’s new redshirt rules, a player can play up to four games in a season and still keep his redshirt year. Hurts is on track to graduate in December and could transfer and play immediately somewhere else next season as a graduate transfer. There has been some speculation that he could choose to play only in an emergency situation after Saturday’s game against No. 22 Texas A&M, which would be the fourth game of the season for Alabama. That way, he would still have two years of eligibility remaining if he did choose to transfer.

Saban acknowledged having discussions with Hurts at the beginning of the season regarding various scenarios, but said Hurts has been nothing but team-oriented.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Every time I’ve talked to Jalen since the season started, he’s said, ‘Coach, I want to play,’ and has never said otherwise,” Saban said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s never asked not to play in a game. He says he’s ready to play and has practiced well and prepared well. Jalen’s a competitor, and the kids on this team respect him. They respect both quarterbacks.

Ravens now playing catch-up at wide receiver with everyone in AFC North

The Pittsburgh Steelers have Antonio Brown, the first player in NFL history to catch over 100 passes in five consecutive seasons. The Cincinnati Bengals have A.J. Green, the first wide receiver to be named to the Pro Bowl in his first seven seasons in the league.

Now, after agreeing to a trade with the Miami Dolphins, the Cleveland Browns will have Jarvis Landry, the first player to compile 400 receptions through his first four seasons.

What do the Baltimore Ravens have? A lot of catching up to do in the AFC North as far as wide receivers.

The Ravens’ five wide receivers under contract are: Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore, DeVier Posey and Tim White. They combined for 765 receiving yards last season, which is less than what Brown, Green and JuJu Smith-Schuster produced individually.cheap nfl jerseys from china

Wide receiver is easily the weakest position for the Ravens. Maclin could get cut after totaling career lows with 40 catches and 440 yards receiving. Perriman was a healthy scratch for three of the final six games because he struggled to make 10 catches for 77 yards. Moore ranked second in drop rate (10.8 percent) with four drops on 22 catchable throws. Posey played in the CFL last season, and White suffered a season-ending thumb injury in the preseason.

The Ravens understand changes need to be made. General manager Ozzie Newsome made the point last month that Baltimore will look to revamp the position. There’s a sense of urgency within the organization even though the team has yet to make a move to address the offense.3

Baltimore was among a handful of teams in trade talks with the Dolphins for Landry, according to ESPN. But the Ravens ultimately didn’t acquire him despite the fact that Miami looks to have been seeking reasonable compensation (the Dolphins received a fourth-round pick this year and a seventh-rounder next year from Cleveland). The bigger sticking point might have been Landry’s reported desire to be paid $14 million per season.

If Baltimore wants to make over its receiving corps, it could require signing multiple free-agent wide receivers and selecting a couple more in the draft. The Ravens’ free-agent options range from the top tier in Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins to the lower level in Donte Moncrief and Danny Amendola.

Remember, this is a division that now has last season’s NFL leaders in receiving yards (Brown) and receptions (Landry). The standards at wide receiver are clearly high in the AFC North, where the identity used to be running the ball and playing dominant defense.nfl jerseys cheap china

Baltimore’s challenge is to upgrade the targets for quarterback Joe Flacco while ranking near the bottom in salary-cap room. The other teams that are desperate at wide receiver — the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers — can offer more because of sizable cap space. The 49ers have the added advantage of being able to lure receivers with Jimmy Garoppolo, one of the rising quarterbacks in the NFL.

The Ravens’ top three receivers could eventually be Robinson,nfl jerseys Amendola and Calvin Ridley. Or Moncrief, Paul Richardson and D.J. Moore. Or Jordy Nelson (if he’s cut by the Packers), Marqise Lee and Courtland Sutton. Or maybe it’s a combination no one has even considered yet.

When free agency officially begins Wednesday, Baltimore can still take a lot of different routes to improve at wide receiver. There won’t be as much upheaval for the other AFC North teams. The Steelers bring back Brown, Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant and Eli Rogers. The Bengals return Green, Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd and John Ross. Even the Browns now boast Landry, Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman.

The Ravens have a vision of what they want with their new receivers. Coach John Harbaugh emphasized that it starts with catching the ball. Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta pointed out the need for Baltimore’s receivers to break tackles and gain yards after the catch.

There’s no question the Ravens want to change their look at wide receiver. The uncertainty lies in whom Baltimore will bring in to affect the offense.