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Five questions for Ravens returning from their bye

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Five questions for Ravens returning from their bye

After a weekend off, the Ravens (2-6) return to work this week as they prepare to host the Jaguars  (2-6) on Sunday. Here are five questions for the Ravens heading into the second half of the season:

1, Can Ravens coach John Harbaugh avoid his first losing season?

The Ravens never expected to be 2-6 at this point. Harbaugh’s worst season since joining the Ravens in 2008 was an 8-8 finish in 2013. Going 6-2 over the final eight games will be difficult, but at least the schedule looks less daunting in November and December, with five home games and just three on the road.

2. Who will the Ravens’ leading pass catcher be without Steve Smith?

Will it be a wide receiver ike Kamar Aiken or Chris Givens, a tight end like Crockett Gillmore, or even a running back like Justin Forsett?  Somehow, the Ravens must find a way to move the ball effectively through the air without Smith (torn Achilles), their top receiver by far through the first eight games.

3.Will this be Joe Flacco’s first 4,000-yard passing season?

Flacco already has 2,176 passing yards, so he’s on pace to reach 4,000. However, that’s an indication of how often the Ravens have trailed in games. The Ravens would like to have a more balanced attack, especially without Smith. But Flacco will carry a heavy load in the final eight games, meaning his first 4.000-yard season seems likely.

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4. Can the Ravens’ secondary reduce its glaring mistakes?

Giving up big plays will happen from time to time. But too often, the Ravens have left receivers open due to miscommunication or mental mistakes.  That needs to change for the Ravens to improve defensively.

5. Can the Ravens force more turnovers?

The Ravens haven’t forced a turnover since Week 3, and they have just three interceptions all season. Forcing more turnovers and generating some easy points would help the Ravens change their fortunes.

 

 

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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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