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Five storylines to watch entering Ravens camp

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Five storylines to watch entering Ravens camp

Veterans report Wednesday, and the first training camp practice is Thursday. Here are five storylines to watch as the Ravens begin their eighth training camp under John Harbaugh.

1. The new additions

After losing starters Haloti Ngata, Torrey Smith, Pernell McPhee, and Owen Daniels during the offseason, the Ravens are going to need new players to step up. It could be Breshad Perriman as a deep-threat receiver, or Maxx Williams as a pass-catching tight end, or Kyle Arrington as a nickel corner, or Kendrick Lewis as a starting safety, or Za’Darius Smith as a pass rusher. But for the Ravens to be a Super Bowl contender, some new additions will have to compensate for the talent they lost.

2. The offensive coordinator

Marc Trestman has the experience and the weapons to succeed as the Ravens’ fourth offensive coordinator in four years. But Gary Kubiak is a tough act to follow, and the Ravens have a very difficult early schedule. For the Ravens to start the season fast, Trestman will need to figure out what works and what doesn’t during training camp and the preseason.

3. The injuries

Health is a concern for every team starting camp, and something that can’t be controlled. But after losing Dennis Pitta during camp two years ago, and losing Kapron Lewis-Moore and Brent Urban last season, the Ravens hope they can avoid serious injuries at this camp.

4. The heat

The 10-day forecast calls for afternoon temperatures in the 90’s every day. Any player who’s not in shape won’t do well. Staying hydrated will be important, and cramping could be an issue.

5. The secondary

It has to be better than it was in 2014 for the Ravens to reach their ultimate goal. There are positive signs, like the return of cornerback Jimmy Smith from injury, Lardarius Webb starting the season healthy, and improved depth with the addition of Lewis and Arrington. However, can Matt Elam or Will Hill play effectively as the starting strong safety? And if something happens to Smith, will the secondary suddenly become as vulnerable as last season?

The last time the Ravens faced Peyton Manning in 2013, he threw seven touchdown passes against them. They’ll see Manning again in Week 1. We’ll find out quickly if the Ravens’ secondary is ready.

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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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