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Five early thoughts on Ravens at Dolphins

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Five early thoughts on Ravens at Dolphins

Five early thoughts on Ravens (4-7) vs. Dolphins (4-7), who meet Sunday (1 p.m.) in Florida:

1. The Dolphins will feature some new wrinkles with a new offensive coordinator.

Bill Lazor was fired Monday and replaced by Zac Taylor, who was promoted from quarterbacks coach. The Dolphins need a spark, ranked 27th in the NFL in both total offense and points per game. They’re hoping Taylor finds the key to unlock quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s potential. Tannehill can watch tape of the Ravens this season and see them getting torched for big plays. That’s a trend the Ravens’ secondary needs to stop Sunday.

2. South Florida has been very, very good to the Ravens.

This is the third straight season the Ravens are facing the Dolphins on the road, with the Ravens winning the previous two meetings. Ravens coach John Harbaugh had the heat turned up in the Ravens’ indoor practice facility Wednesday, getting ready for the Florida weather. The players noticed.

“Muggy, stuffy, hard to breathe – those are all the words that were used,” Harbaugh said, smiling. “I don’t know if there’s any science behind it, but it makes sense to me.”

3. Sunday will be a homecoming for Ravens receiver Kamar Aiken, having his best NFL season.

Aiken is the one Ravens receiver (43 receptions, 536 yards, four touchdowns) who has taken advantage of his opportunity this season. He went to high school in Hollywood, Fla, and to college at Central Florida. He’ll have friends and family in the house, and quarterback Matt Schaub will be looking Aiken’s way.

“Kamar does run crisp routes, and he doesn’t confuse the quarterback with his breaks, and he has shown the ability to have strong hands and go attack the football and not wait on the football,” said Schaub. “You’ve got to love that as a quarterback.”

4. These teams are trending in different directions.

 The Dolphins have lost four of their last five. The Ravens have won three of their last four – the lone defeat being the controversial last-play loss to the Jaguars, after a missed call by the officials.

“I don’t think we’re satisfied yet,” said Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil. “But I think we are headed in the right direction.”

5. Both Harbaugh and Schaub have 5-0 career records vs. the Dolphins.

That may not have much bearing on Sunday’s game. But it’s a fact that neither Harbaugh nor Schaub have a problem with.

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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