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Buck Allen 'hungry' for role in crowded backfield

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USA TODAY Sports

Buck Allen 'hungry' for role in crowded backfield

It has been a frustrating summer and fall for Ravens running back Buck Allen, the Ravens starter over the final six games last season who saw himself tumble down the depth chart in training camp and into the season.

Allen was a gameday inactive for the first three games this season, and he said his benching this fall has left him "more hungry."

RELATED: WHY HAS RAVENS OFFENSE LACKED EXPLOSIVENESS?

Allen was in uniform for the first time this season on Sunday after the Ravens shook up their struggling run game by benching Justin Forsett. Allen was the backup to Terrance West against the Raiders and played 24 offensive snaps.

He had three carries for 13 yards and two receptions for 15 yards.

Coming into camp, the running back picture was plenty crowded. In addition to Allen, Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro were coming back from injuries, West was returning after being signed by the Ravens midseason last year, and Kenneth Dixon was a promising rookie fourth-round draft pick. Plus, the Ravens had Trent Richardson in camp.

As the summer wore on, West and Dixon shined, and Allen found his role diminished. Even after Dixon suffered a knee injury in the third preseason game, Allen remained on the sideline, as the Ravens chose to dress just two running backs in each of the first three games.

It was a rapid fall from grace for a fourth-round draft pick out of USC who ranked second on the team in rushing last season with 137 carries for 514 yards and one touchdown. Allen also caught 45 passes -- third-most on the team -- for 353 yards and two scores.

"Being inactive the first three games really makes you think about the little things you appreciate in life," Allen said after Sunday's game. "It really made me more hungry. ... I'm here to do whatever I gotta do to make us win."

The  depth chart at running back remains in flux. On Monday, coach John Harbaugh would not commit to West being the full-time starter, despite notching the team's first 100-yard rushing game of the season against the Raiders. Dixon is expected back soon from his knee injury. 

With Forsett being released on Tuesday, Allen's role is likely to improve

Even as he plunged from 2015 starter to 2016 third- or fourth-stringer, Allen said he never doubted himself.

"I knew what I could do," he said. "I just prayed up and believed in myself... I'm always believing in myself. I don't care if I'm at the bottom, I'm still gonna believe in myself."

RELATED: FIVE RAMIFICATIONS FROM FORSETT'S RELEASE

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Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

We've known the Ravens' 2018 preseason and regular season opponents for some time now, but the NFL finally released their full schedule with exact dates and times.

As they do every year, the Ravens will be seeing the Bengals, Steelers and Browns twice. 

For the ninth consecutive year, Week 16 and 17 will be divisional games with playoff implications.

The Ravens will also be playing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game against the Chicago Bears in Canton, Ohio, bringing an extra preseason game to their schedule.

In the regular season, the birds will be flocking south to take on the Panthers, Falcons and Titans. They haven't seen the Panthers or Falcons since 2014 - both ending in wins - and came up just short against the Titans in their 23-20 loss last season.

The Ravens will only have to travel to the west coast once when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers, who they last saw in 2015 and earned a 29-26 win.

Not including AFC North rivals, the last time the Ravens saw their remaining five home opponents they came away with wins. Hopefully history will repeat itself.

Prime-time games, which the Ravens have two of, will kick off at earlier times than in the past. Monday Night Football will now start at 8:15 p.m. while Thursday and Sunday Night Football will start at 8:20 p.m.

Ravens 2018 Regular-Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 2: Thursday, 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.

Week 5: Sunday, 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 6: Sunday 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7: Sunday, 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.

Week 8: Sunday 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sunday 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Saturday 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD

Week 17: Sunday 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.


PRESEASON 

Hall of Fame Game: Thurs., 8/2, vs. Chicago Bears (Canton, OH), 8:00pm (NBC).

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 2: Mon. 8/20,  at Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night Football, ESPN).

Week 3: at Miami Dolphins*

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30 at Washington Redskins

* - Game date and time not yet determined

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER