BALTIMORE -- Joe Flacco and Steve Smith showed once again on Saturday night that they are definitely on the same page as they get ready for their second season together in Baltimore. But the rest of the receiver corps? It still resembles a blank page with just one preseason game left, and that has to be one of the more troubling concerns for the Ravens offense.
Smith appeared to be in midseason form in the Ravens’ 31-13 loss to the Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium, with four catches for 95 yards, including a nifty 63-yard catch-and-run touchdown, all in the first quarter. Smith’s night came to an abrupt end when he was ejected during a fight late in the first quarter, showing that the 36-year-old still has plenty of fire in the belly. But Smith’s early absence only illustrated that the Ravens still have major question marks at wide receiver.
First-round draft pick Breshad Perriman remains sidelined with a knee injury. The oft-injured Michael Campanaro was out again, this time with what coach John Harbaugh described as a “soft-tissue issue.”
Kamar Aiken started alongside Smith, and he finished with two catches for 29 yards. Marlon Brown was invisible for most of the game before making one late catch for 15 yards. Rookie Darren Waller (one catch, 5 yards) and Brown both had balls bounce off their hands. Jeremy Butler, who is fighting for a roster spot, finished with four catches for 32 yards.
“There is some stuff I can get better at,” Aiken said after the game. “I’m not fully polished, but there’s some stuff I did well and there’s some I could learn from.”
The Ravens could not find the end zone on two pass plays from the 2-yard line, with incompletions from Matt Schaub to Brown and Butler. In fairness to Brown, the fade pattern to him was badly overthrown.
Also, without Perriman, the Ravens don’t appear to have the speed for a legitimate deep threat, no one that can stretch the defense.
Who’s the No. 2 receiver behind Smith? At this point, it’s still anyone’s guess. But the season opener is just two weeks away, and that can’t be a very comfortable thought for the Ravens.
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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.”
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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