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Major tests for Ravens secondary

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Major tests for Ravens secondary

The Ravens patchwork secondary – without Lardarius Webb and former first-round draft pick Jimmy Smith – performed admirably at Heinz Field last week against Byron Leftwich and the Steelers.

But the challenge for this group is about to get a whole lot tougher, beginning with this Sunday’s game at San Diego.

“It’s going to be tested against San Diego for sure,” coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week. “…I expect them to continue to hold up their end of it. They have done probably a better than expected job – better than you could probably expect any secondary to do under those circumstances.”

The Ravens face  Philip Rivers and the Chargers on Sunday, and then could see Ben Roethlisberger next weekend in Baltimore. Even if Roethlisberger (shoulder, ribs) is unable to play, the Ravens face an impressive run of quarterbacks over the next month, including rookie Robert Griffin III with the Redskins followed by Peyton Manning of the Broncos and his brother, Eli, with the Giants.

That could be a tall order for a group decimated by injuries. Webb is out all season, and Smith, who underwent sports hernia surgery, is out indefinitely.

With Smith out, Corey Graham is expected to make his second straight start at cornerback in San Diego opposite Cary Williams. Graham was superb against the Steelers, with an interception, a pass breakup in the end zone and another across the middle when he hammered tight end Heath Miller.

The Ravens signed former Raider Chris Johnson as a free agent, but he was hurt in the first quarter at Heinz Field last Sunday in his first action of the season and is listed as doubtful for this week.

The fact that Johnson was immediately thrown into the nickel job against the Steelers, having just received his Ravens playbook a couple of days before, seems to say much about reserve corner Chykie Brown, whom Johnson essentially leap-frogged on the depth chart.

The Ravens, who espouse the philosophy that “you can never have too many cornerbacks,” suddenly don’t appear to have enough cornerbacks. Brown is likely to move in to the role of third corner/nickel back, and rookie Asa Jackson could see action as a dime back. Jackson, a fifth-round draft pick, has been on the roster all season but has yet to be active for a game.

It’s not exactly the secondary the Ravens drew up in August when they crafted the roster, but this patchwork group might be called upon early and often over the next month against some of the league’s best quarterbacks.

 

 

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Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

We've known the Ravens' 2018 preseason and regular season opponents for some time now, but the NFL finally released their full schedule with exact dates and times.

As they do every year, the Ravens will be seeing the Bengals, Steelers and Browns twice. 

For the ninth consecutive year, Week 16 and 17 will be divisional games with playoff implications.

The Ravens will also be playing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game against the Chicago Bears in Canton, Ohio, bringing an extra preseason game to their schedule.

In the regular season, the birds will be flocking south to take on the Panthers, Falcons and Titans. They haven't seen the Panthers or Falcons since 2014 - both ending in wins - and came up just short against the Titans in their 23-20 loss last season.

The Ravens will only have to travel to the west coast once when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers, who they last saw in 2015 and earned a 29-26 win.

Not including AFC North rivals, the last time the Ravens saw their remaining five home opponents they came away with wins. Hopefully history will repeat itself.

Prime-time games, which the Ravens have two of, will kick off at earlier times than in the past. Monday Night Football will now start at 8:15 p.m. while Thursday and Sunday Night Football will start at 8:20 p.m.

Ravens 2018 Regular-Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 2: Thursday, 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.

Week 5: Sunday, 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 6: Sunday 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7: Sunday, 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.

Week 8: Sunday 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sunday 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Saturday 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD

Week 17: Sunday 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.


PRESEASON 

Hall of Fame Game: Thurs., 8/2, vs. Chicago Bears (Canton, OH), 8:00pm (NBC).

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 2: Mon. 8/20,  at Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night Football, ESPN).

Week 3: at Miami Dolphins*

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30 at Washington Redskins

* - Game date and time not yet determined

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER