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Trestman, Ravens still looking for run-pass balance

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Trestman, Ravens still looking for run-pass balance

With the return of all five starting offensive linemen and 1,000-yard back, the Ravens figured to be a run-first team in 2015, especially given the major question marks at wide receiver beyond Steve Smith.

Yet halfway through the season, the Ravens remain a more pass-heavy offense, and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman conceded on Tuesday that "we're certainly not where we (want to be)" in terms of running the ball.

"There was a point about four weeks ago when we thought we were moving in the right direction," Trestman said. "We had a couple of very, very productive games running the football, and then it diminished."

Through the first eight games, the Ravens have run the ball on 37 percent of their offensive plays -- with 199 rushes and 339 pass plays (325 passes and 14 sacks). Last year, the Ravens ran on 43.9 percent of their offensive snaps.

Trestman noted that game situations have dictated much of that, although criticism over abandoning the run too quickly when falling behind predate Trestman, who is in his first year with the Ravens. The Ravens ran the ball just four times in the second half against Arizona, but at one point they trailed by 16 points in that game.

But even against San Diego, which entered the game with the 31st-ranked run defense, the Ravens looked to pass first. In the second quarter of that game, not counting a kneel-down by Joe Flacco to end the half, the Ravens had 11 offensive plays -- one run and 10 passes.

Then in the third quarter, with the Ravens backed up near their own end zone, they picked up 13 yards on three straight running plays. With a new set of downs and out of the shadow of the goalpost, the Ravens ran three straight pass plays -- two incompletions sandwiched around a sack, and had to punt. The Ravens finished the game with 72 rushing yards on 25 carries -- just a 2.9-yard average against one of the worst run defenses in the league. So it's not as if the Ravens were shredding the Chargers on the ground.

For the year, the Ravens rank 19th in the league in rushing yards per play (3.99), though Justin Forsett ranks sixth in the league with 562 yards and is on pace for another 1,000-yard season. 

Trestman noted that during the bye week, the run game will be a point of emphasis as coaches prepare for the second half of the season.

"That will be one of our projects this week is to take a look at what we’re doing running the football. ... We're going to take a good, hard look at everything," he said.

"Certainly, we want to be more productive … It’s not how many times we run, but it’s the production we have when we’re running the football, and we want to do better.”

[RELATED: Smith passes two Hall of Famers on all-time record list]

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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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