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Five questions to ask as Ravens acquire Weddle

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Five questions to ask as Ravens acquire Weddle

New Ravens safety Eric Weddle is scheduled to arrive Wednesday in Baltimore for his physical, contract signing, and press conference. Here are five questions to ask regarding the Ravens’ important acquisition:

1. Can Weddle stop the Ravens’ revolving door at safety?

Michael Huff. James Ihedigbo. Darian Stewart. Matt Elam. Kendrick Lewis. Will Hill. All of them have been given opportunities to start at safety since the 2012 season, when the Ravens won a Super Bowl with Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard as the starters. Weddle will be expected to re-establish stability in the secondary - a three-time Pro Bowler who is still only 31 years old. Both as a playmaker and a leader, Weddle has the experience to lineup teammates properly, diagnose plays, and reduce the mental mistakes that have hurt the Ravens’ secondary in recent years. And having missed just three games over the past five years, Weddle’s track record suggests durability won’t be an issue.

2. Will Weddle’s presence dramatically increase the Ravens’ takeaways?

The Ravens had an NFL-low six interceptions last season, a major reason they finished 5-11. Weddle has 19 career interceptions and the instincts of a centerfielder. The Ravens will count on his presence to produce more takeaways and more scoring opportunities.

3. Who will be paired with Weddle at safety?

After inking a four-year, $26 million deal, pencil in Weddle as one starter. But who will start beside him? It could be Lardarius Webb, who is making the switch from cornerback to safety. It could be Hill, a ferocious hitter who does not excel in pass coverage. Or someone else could emerge. It’s a crowded field at safety for the Ravens, and the competition will be intense.

4. Who’s on the way out?

Clearly, the Ravens have too many safeties. Lewis, Elam, Terrence Brooks, Webb, and Hill won’t all be on the Ravens’ roster by Week 1.

5. What’s next in free agency for the Ravens?

The Ravens have been uncharacteristically aggressive early in free agency, grabbing Weddle and tight end Benjamin Watson. Another move, like adding a veteran wide receiver, is still a possibility.

[RELATED: Michael Vick to retire after 2016 season]

 

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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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