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Ravens know to win more in 2016, they must run more

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Ravens know to win more in 2016, they must run more

Improving their running game remains a major offseason focus for the Ravens.

The Ravens had just 383 rushing attempts in 2015, the fewest in team history. When they tried to run, they weren’t very effective, averaging just 3.9 yards per carry. Meanwhile, with former starting offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele signing with the Raiders during free agency, it leaves the Ravens with a gap to fill on their offensive line.

Here are three offseason moves the Ravens could make before training camp to address the running game:

1. Draft a guard

Expect the Ravens to draft at least one offensive lineman. In his latest mock draft, my colleague Ben Standig has the Ravens taking Kansas St. guard Cody Whitehair in the second round.

John Urschel or Ryan Jensen could become the starting left guard, but the Ravens want competition and depth once training camp begins. There would be nothing wrong with adding a young offensive lineman to soften the blow of losing Osemele.

2. Draft a left tackle

I think it’s very likely the Ravens go defense in the first round. But what if defensive studs like Ohio St. defensive end Joey Bosa, UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, and Florida St. defensive back Jalen Ramsey are all gone by the No. 6 pick? In that case, the Ravens’ first-round choice could be Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley, especially if the Ravens don’t trade down. Having Stanley to push often-injured left tackle Eugene Monroe might bring out the best in Monroe, and would give the Ravens a Plan B should they decide to cut Monroe after June 1.

3. Sign running back Trent Richardson

The Ravens are still expected to sign Richardson before off-season workouts begin in mid-April, assuming Richardson keeps himself in shape.

Nobody is expecting Richardson to set the world on fire after his brief and so-far very disappointing NFL career.

However, if Richardson sticks with the Ravens, his physicality could improve their short-yardage running game. The Ravens weren’t good enough on third-and-short, fourth-and-short, and in the red zone. Those are areas where Richardson might help, if he’s truly dedicated to resurrecting his NFL career.

The Ravens already have depth at running back with Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Terrance West. But their interest in Richardson shows how determined they are to leave no stone unturned. If they are going to win more in 2016, the Ravens believe they have to run more, and run more effectively.

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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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