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Ravens report card: Grading defense, special teams vs. Jaguars

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Ravens report card: Grading defense, special teams vs. Jaguars

We've already graded the offense after the Ravens latest last-second loss, you know, the one that tops all the other last-second losses in this lost season. Now it's time to grade the defense and special teams:

DEFENSIVE LINE: B-

The Ravens were solid against the run, with T.J. Yeldon (18-61) averaging 3.4 yards a carry. Brandon Williams had a sack and two tackles for losses, and the Ravens frequently won the battle in the trenches, with Williams, Timmy Jernigan, Lawrence Guy and Chris Canty at times overmatching the Jaguars offensive line. Guy has been one of the Ravens more underrated players this year.

LINEBACKERS: B

Elvis Dumervil had one of his best games of the season before the costly face mask penalty that set up the Jaguars game-winning field goal. But to Dumervil's credit, and in a cruel twist, he appeared to be the only Ravens defender playing hard on that final snap. Courtney Upshaw showed up, with good edge-setting ability and got some pressure on Bortles with a couple of batted balls. C.J. Mosley had a team-high eight tackles, and coverage by Ravens linebackers was improved. The Ravens also showed some new looks, with Arthur Brown playing his first defensive snaps since 2013.

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SECONDARY: C+

The Ravens accomplished one objective: They did not give up the big play that has hurt them in previous weeks. The Jaguars longest pass play went for 21 yards. Blake Bortles and the Jags finished with just 188 passing yards. But there were still issues. Most notably, Kendrick Lewis flat-out dropped what should have been a game-clinching interception. Earlier, Jimmy Smith dropped what could have been a pick-six and looked terrible on a long pass interference penalty. Lewis and Hill both were hit with 15-yard penalties. Fans didn't like the call against Hill, but in 2015, that kind of shot near a receiver's head will be called every time. At least Lardarius Webb got an interception, the Ravens' first in six games. Webb saw some action at safety, another wrinkle as the Ravens continue to search for answers.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-

This was certainly not the finest hour for Jerry Rosburg's unit, which has been outstanding all season. Among the problems: Jeremy Ross muffed a punt that set up a Jaguars touchdown (and only the muff rule about no advancement kept it from being an immediate touchdown); Asa Jackson was flagged for two 15-yard special teams penalties, though one was questionable; Justin Tucker missed his only field-goal try, albeit from 58 yards; and Sam Koch, who is having a Pro Bowl year, picked a horrible time for his first touchback of the season. That set up the Jaguars at the 20 for their final possession. The one bright spot was a 50-yard kickoff return by Raheem Mostert. 

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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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