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'Make or break' year for Kindle

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'Make or break' year for Kindle

The reporter was dancing around the issue, trying to find a nice way to ask Ravens linebacker Sergio Kindle if he really needed to establish himself as an NFL player in 2012.

You mean, is this a make or break year for me? Yeah, I havent proven anything yet, Kindle said in the locker room after Wednesdays OTA practice in Owings Mills.

It was a brutally honest self-assessment.

Kindle has only played in two games in two years since the Ravens made him the 43rd overall selection in the 2010 draft. A skull fracture incurred in a fall down some stairs almost ended his career, and a subsequent DUI arrest almost exhausted the Ravens patience with him.

But rather than give up, the Ravens have signed him for a third season, hoping his combination of size and speed eventually pays dividends.

The opportunity is there for him, as Terrell Suggs Achilles injury and the departure of Jarret Johnson via free agency have opened up the depth chart at outside linebacker. While Paul Kruger and rookie Courtney Upsahw are expected to start, there are plenty of snaps for the taking, and Kindle is in the mix.

Ive got to make sure I stay focused, stay on top of my plays and perform well in practice. Thats whats going to get me on the field, said Kindle, a pass rush specialist who earned All-Big 12 honors at Texas.

The good news, he said, is he can now go full speed at any and all football activities, as opposed to a year ago, when his training was carefully calibrated in the wake of his head injury.

There was a lot (done) for precautionary reasons, but its no holds barred now, he said. Whatever they put on the bar, Im lifting it.

The bad news is he apparently will always have partial hearing loss in his left ear, which, he admitted is a big deal for a football player.

But the Ravens are working with him, trying to come up with a hearing device that the league would allow him to wear on the field, enabling him to better hear last-second signal changes before the ball is snapped.

Its up in the air right now, he said of the device.

Meanwhile, he has seriously curtained his late-night lifestyle in the wake of his DUI, he said. He doesnt own a car and isnt renting an apartment.

Im stronger, smarter, wiser, a better decision-maker, he said. I dont have a car. I dont have a place, I choose not to, just so I dont put myself in bad situations, especially with the chance to play being a lot greater this year.

So what is his post-practice regimen now?

Go to the hotel, nap, get up, study, eat, watch some (NBA) basketball, watch some Family Guy, go to bed, Kindle said.

He was an ebullient sackmaster coming out of college, but two humbling years of setbacks have taught him humility.

Im going to let my play on the field do the talking, he said.

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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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USA TODAY Sports

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