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Will offensive line protect Flacco even better next season?

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Will offensive line protect Flacco even better next season?

Will the Ravens’ offensive line protect Joe Flacco even better next season?

 Only one quarterback in the NFL who threw at least 400 passes was sacked fewer times than Flacco last season. That quarterback was Peyton Manning of the Broncos, who was sacked just 17 times, compared to a career-low 19 for Flacco.
 
As the Ravens prepare for a three-game minicamp that starts Tuesday, the offensive is not a major concern. It's one reason why some are bullish about the Ravens' prospects for next season, like veteran NFL writer Peter King of Sports Illustrated, who has the Ravens No. 1 in his offseason power rankings.

The starting unit returns intact, with starting center Jeremy Zuttah flanked by left tackle Eugene Monroe, left guard Kelechi Osemele, Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda, and right tackle Rick Wagner.

Both Zuttah (off-season hip cleanup surgery) and Wagner (foot injury) have been recovering from injuries. But even if they are not 100 percent now, there is plenty of time until Week 1 in September against the Broncos.
 
While sacks allowed are not the only measure of how well an offensive line protects a quarterback, Flacco was protected well in 2014. In 18 games including the playoffs, there were only four games in which Flacco was sacked twice or more. Not coincidently, the Ravens lost all four of those games.

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Give Flacco credit for extending some plays with his legs and anticipating blitzes. But from week-to-week, Flacco could depend on having a clean pocket in most situations, giving him time to go through his progressions, and to find open receivers.
 
Don’t expect new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and offensive line coach Juan Castillo to stray from the zone blocking schemes and pass blocking principles the Ravens used last season. They worked. Running Justin Forsett had a career season (1,366 yards), so neither Forsett nor Flacco were complaining about the offensive line. 
 
Next season could be the last one that Yanda and Osemele play together. Both are entering the final year of their contract, and it will be difficult for the Ravens to re-sign both.

However, worrying about the offensive line is not keeping coach John Harbaugh awake at night heading into minicamp. The Ravens have a solid front five. And next season it could be even better.
 

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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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