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Ravens need more from tight ends

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Ravens need more from tight ends

On the Ravens final offensive play of their 19-13 loss to Denver, Joe Flacco tried to throw a pass down the middle to a well-covered Crockett Gillmore. Former Raven Darian Stewart cut across the middle and picked off the pass in the end zone, sealing the season-opening loss for the Ravens.

The play was a microcosm of the Ravens day: They were hampered all day by the inability of receivers to get open, and by the lack of production of the tight ends, which are thought to be a key component of Marc Trestman's offense.

Gillmore finished with two catches for 23 yards, including a big fourth-down catch on the Ravens final possession. Rookie Maxx Williams had one catch for 15 yards. But for large stretches of the game, the tight ends were invisible. Neither tight end had a pass thrown his way in the first half.

As with virtually every other facet of the offense, the Ravens came away from Denver knowing they need more from the tight end position.

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Trestman's Bears team last season leaned heavily on tight end Martellus Bennett. He was targeted 128 times -- eight times a game -- and finished with 90 catches for 916 yards. Bennett was targeted 94 times the year before. Granted, no one is saying Gillmore is Bennett, but the numbers suggest the kind of workload that a No. 1 tight end in Trestman's offense might ideally expect.

It's clear, though, that Flacco and Gillmore need to create the kind of on-field chemistry that Flacco had with Pitta. In the season opener last year, Flacco targeted Pitta 14 times, and he finished with 10 catches. Gillmore was targeted four times by Flacco in Denver.

The end zone pass to Gillmore would have been a tough catch, but more than once in training camp red zone drills, the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Gillmore went up and grabbed such a pass over a smaller defender. This time, though, it didn't happen.

“I have to come down with that. I was given the opportunity and I just have to come up with the play,” Gillmore said, per the Ravens Web site. “I have to win the one-on-one part of it, and then when the ball’s in the air, it’s got to be mine; there is no other option.”

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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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